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Belleville, IL Test Driving Tips

What to look for when test driving a vehicle in the Belleville, IL area

new car test drive

Half the fun of car buying is hitting the road for a vehicle test drive. The trip is of limited value, however, if you're not sure what to look out for. Here are a few things the experts at Hotz Automotive Inc. feel you should notice when you test drive a new car.

Inspect the Outside of the Car

test drive inspection

Before you hit the road on your test drive, be sure to walk around the car you're thinking about buying and inspect the most common trouble spots. These are:

Tires: Check each tire individually. Look for worn or patched treads, and make sure each is fully inflated.

Brakes: If you can see the brakes through the spokes, look for signs of wear and/or large buildups of brake dust, especially on the front brakes, which work the hardest.

Leaks: Look at the ground under the car. Are there any pooled fluids? Black pools may be a sign of an oil leak, while orange and green are usually coolant from the radiator. Red may be a leaking transmission.

Doors: Open and close all of the doors and the trunk. If the car has power locks, test them.

Lights: Ask the salesman to sit behind the wheel and switch on the lights, blinkers and flashers. Make sure every light, including the high beams, comes on and that the blinkers work on a regular rhythm.

What to Look for When You're In the Car

test drive smooth ride

Once you're on the road, it's fine to test the radio and OnStar systems, but try to keep at least some of the drive as quiet as possible. Listen for knocks, pings, rattles and clunks from under the hood or in the frame of the vehicle. Test the power windows, and listen for how much noise they block out on the test drive. Check for frayed or damaged upholstery or seat belts.

Performance Issues on the Vehicle Test Drive

test drive performance

While you're driving, feel for how rough the road is. If possible, drive over streets you're familiar with so you can compare the new car to how your old car performed over potholes and uneven pavement. Try cornering and stopping short (safely!) to make sure the vehicle is up to snuff. Finally, listen to your sales rep, who should be able to answer any questions you have about the make and model you're looking into, as well as the history of the specific car you're taking on the vehicle test drive.