Take a Test Drive Before You Buy a Used Car from an Owner

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What Should I look for When Test Driving a Used Car?

Take a Test Drive Before You Buy a Used Car from an Owner

Even if the private seller is the only owner and s/he only ever drove the car to church once a week, you still need to take it for a test drive. Here are some tips on what to look for.

Safety First

Sure we want our car to look great, but it's more important to arrive alive.

  • When you get in the car, be sure that everything can be adjusted so that it is comfortably in your reach or view (for mirrors).
  • How does the seat feel? Will you be comfortable even on long drives?
  • If you have a family will there be enough room for everyone to be seated comfortably? Are all the safety belts in working order? How easy or difficult will it be to load the children or pets in and out?
  • Look for child safety locks, if appropriate
  • Are all of the signals and lights in working order?
  • Does the gas gauge work?

Safety on the Road

  • Does the car provide good visibility?
  • How well do the brakes work?
  • Be sure to check the windshield wipers and defroster.

Comfort Counts

  • Check to be sure the air conditioning and heater are working.
  • Be sure windows roll smoothly up and down.
  • Make sure all of the locks work as well.
  • Ask about spare keys, too. It can be pretty uncomfortable to be locked out.



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