The most important element to consider while buying a car is obviously how it drives. Let us go through some possible tips to remember. However, if you feel that there is a problem, than have a mechanic inspect the vehicle for more testing. Here are some basics that can be done by almost any car buyer.
When you get the keys and start driving, first from stopping position, if allowed and safe, increase speed to see if it vibrates and to test the acceleration speed. If it is too slow to accelerate or produces loud sounds, you need a mechanic to check it out. Next feel how the brakes function. Accelerate and then perform a sudden stop when safe; pedal should feel firm and car should stop smoothly. If you find a hill, see if the car’s hand breaks can stop the car from sliding when you put it on neutral.
Notice if the car drifts to its sides, it could be wheel-alignment or body frame damage. However, it is sometimes due to bad, worn-out, tires or even bad steering linkage. Try to notice if the steering wheel is the one vibrating or is it the actual car. If it is just the wheel, remember to try another additional test later to see how well you can turn the steering wheel to the extreme right or left while it is parked.
To check for possible engine overheating, start the car’s test drive with highest level of air-conditioning and turn on all the lights and electrical equipment to see if the charging system can keep up the drain while looking at the temperature gauge.
Check to see if you hear any sounds or feel that the transition is not smooth when switching between forward and backwards driving (or if you switch between other gears in standard transmission). You should not feel like you are slamming into gear. This can be a sign of transmission problems.
If the car has cruise control and you like using it, then it would be a good idea to test it. Make sure to test the acceleration and deceleration buttons and that the cruise control disengages when you brake.
After the test drive and before leaving the car, which would have allowed the engine to be running for some time, look at the temperature gauge again. Then turn off the engine and wait like two minutes, and then restart the vehicle. This test is a good tool to check for cars that have a hard time re-starting after being hot. After this, open the hood and check the engine. Look for any sign of fluid leaks on the ground or in the engine compartment of the car.