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Top 5 tips to test drive a used car

Snapshot: A used car is an easy alternative to upgrade a segment above. Here are a few tips that you should keep in mind while going for a test drive.

Used car are a boon, they shine like a beacon of hope for the ones who wants to step into a segment or two above, but find themselves cash strapped to do so, because groceries have becomes too expensive and it’s not easy to burden oneself with additional loan or trim the family budget.

So you have decided to check the various options available in the used car market. That’s alright, here are a few tips that you should keep in mind while taking a test drive.    

1. Drive over every kind of surface

Most dealers stick to a particular road section and offer test drives that only provides a hint about car’s condition. You may not know if the suspension mounts or joints etc. are in working condition if you do not drive on a rough patch of road.

Insist on driving the car on each kind of road surface and put the car through moderately rough road to confirm that suspension and steering components are working properly.   

Read - things you should never do in a manual car

2. Drive through all the gears

Make sure that you drive the car through every gear to get an idea of the car’s performance. A cars performance figures on paper do not matter much in case of used cars, and many cars lose their performance while they age if they have not been maintained well.

Driving the car through different gears would give you a fair bit of idea about engine’s health. A car pulling to one side at moderate to high speeds is an indication of wheel alignment problems. If a car underwent a road side repair after a major accident, it could turn out to be much bigger problem and much hard to repair.

3. Make U turns

It’s important to take a U turn several times on road as you drive through different sections of roads and surfaces. This would let you know if there are any problems with drive shafts or steering when turned end to end.

A kat kat noise or any other peculiar sound generally indicates problem with drive shaft and joints. To simulate, make right as well as left U turns.

Read - 10 things to check before buying a used car

4. Put 4X4 to use

If you are buying an SUV that has a four wheel drive system, make sure to test that too, however briefly. Most owners neglect the transmission system if it’s not in use and let it deteriorate over time. It may / may not be entirely out of order and repairs may also not be very expensive, however it’s good to know what you are buying into and if it would be requiring any immediate repairs. It makes all the more sense if you are buying an SUV for its off-roading capabilities.

5. Listen to noises & Test the brakes

Test the music system if it’s working or not, but not at the time of test drive. Drive with windows open at low speeds and pay attention to sounds that may be coming from engine or suspension. Any squeaking or loud noise might be indication of suspension and steering components wear.  Test the brakes at moderate as well as high speeds to ensure that they work effectively at all speeds. It’s easier to mistake noise from loose objects in the car or in the trunk for bigger problems. Make sure you are not making the same mistake.

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