But some sellers are counting on your not mastering some of the crucial techniques buyers need to maximize the test-drive experience and get everything they need from the "thinking of buying it" ride.
Rolling to the rescue is Edmunds.com which is out with some reminders for car and truck buyers on getting the most from a test-drive.
It's all about checking much-needed decision-based items off your vehicle shopping list.
"Every car shopper should feel empowered to own their test drive and make sure that they focus on all of the factors that are most important to them," says Philip Reed, consumer advice editor at the online auto expert. "If the car doesn't look, feel or sound right in any way, then it's OK to trust your gut and walk away. The small red flags you find early on could become big waving banners down the road."
That process starts before you get in the car, he says. Go into the experience with your eyes open, especially before you put the keys into the ignition. Here are some of the item on Reed's text-drive checklist:
- Is it easy to get in and out of the new car without stooping or banging your head?
- Does your body type match the pedal positions? If not, are the pedals adjustable?
- Is the seat comfortable? Is it easily adjustable? Is there a lumbar support adjustment?
- Is there enough room for your head, hips and legs? Remember to sit in the backseat to test it too.
- Are the gauges and controls easy to read and use?
- How is the visibility? Check the rearview mirror and side mirrors and look for potential blind spots.
- Check the trunk space and cargo area. Is the vehicle easy to load? Is there a pass-through in the trunk opening for long items?
- When you do hit the open road, avoid taking phone calls and keep the radio off the test-drive demands your undivided attention. Pay particular attention to the car engine. Is it running smoothly? Do you hear pings or knocks? If so, those are deal-breakers.