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How to Test Drive a Car in Canada: Walk Away With a Decision

How to Test Drive a Car in Canada: Walk Away With a Decision

Whether your buy your car online or by visiting the dealership, the test drive is an essential part of the process. It’s where all your research is either borne out and confirmed or you’re sent back to the drawing board.


Either way, getting the most out of the test drive is essential. Here’s how to test drive a car and make the most of your time.

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1. Plan a Route in Advance

It will help if you have an idea of where you want to go before you start the car. We recommend driving a variety of roads concentrating on the road types you use every day.


If you commute on the highway, spend most time testing the car on the highway. If you regularly drive on country roads, test the car on country roads.


Also test it in traffic, in the city, on twisty roads and on every surface type you can within reason.


2. Look and Listen to the Car

If the sales person drives the car to you and leaves it running. Turn the engine off and leave it a minute while you get into position. Adjust the seats and mirrors and get yourself ready.


Then turn the car on while looking at the dashboard. Look for warning lights that won’t go out while listening to the engine. If there is a delay in starting is trouble starting, that’s a warning sign. As is rough idling or needing to keep a little gas to keep the engine running.


Leave the car idling while you check out the controls, mess with the radio or navigation, and check out all the features.


3. Hit the Road

If the sales person accompanies you, tell them you have a route planned and approximately how long your test drive will take. Most won’t mind as they will expect it. As long as your route is reasonable, there should be no objections.


Be aware of how the car behaves on the road, how it handles traffic, how responsive the engine is at the lights, how it overtakes, the visibility all round and how it feels while driving.


If you know somewhere with speed humps, drive those too. Drive them at usual speed while listening for clanks or creaks. This could be a sign of worn suspension.


4. Hit the Parking Lot

Find a quiet parking lot or road you can safely use for manoeuvring the car. Simulate parking it, put it in full lock and listen for noises, use reverse to check visibility and generally put the car through its paces.


Find a safe place and gain some speed and hit the brakes hard. Warn any passengers what you’re doing first though!


You want to feel the antilock brakes work and need to look for pulling to one side or another, burning smells or anything else untoward. Heavy braking is perfectly safe and will not fire the airbags so go for it.


Then, when you’re ready for your auto loan, we can help with that as well as the car.


If you're ready for a car loan in Southern Ontario, we'd love to help! simply fill in the form below to get started.

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