Friday 23rd November 2012
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Ok, so you're thinking about buying a new or a second-hand car, but you are not sure which car will be the best for you. Researching is the key, but it does not end there, test driving a new car is the ultimate answer to finding your perfect and potential dream motor.

These essential tips are for buying a brand-new car, or even a second-hand car from a dealership. Some of these points for test driving a new car could even be implemented if you are planning to buy privately.

What are the secrets to test driving a new car?

Before test driving a new car the first important step is to do some research. Make a list of the most important factors that you cannot live without. Some features could be the colour, automatic instead of manual, diesel instead of petrol, sunroof, MPV not a saloon, 19-inch alloy wheels or nothing smaller than a 2 litre engine. If you require a tow bar you could place a search using this as a keyword instead of having to fit one after. Networks of dealers are normally able to deliver the car to the nearest showroom to you for free.

If you're thinking about buying an electric car, then find out how many miles the battery can run before it needs to be recharged.

Although it is tempting to drive around and go on a car hunt, it is wiser to call some dealerships and check to see if they have the specific car you want on their forecourt, or place a keyword search online. Always make an appointment with the most knowledgeable salesman if they have your potential car in stock.

All salesmen should offer you a service, if they become detached or become forceful, it is better to walk away and move on to another dealership.

TIP: Remain in control throughout the whole experience of buying and selling. Do not feel pressured into any car your not sure about.

Before heading to the dealership photocopy your drivers license for the salesman. Try to avoid handing over your driving license - they are good at keeping it until you are ready to leave.

Dealerships often ask potential buyers before test driving a new car if they would like to part exchange. Unless you are absolutely certain you want that new car, then politely say no. Otherwise the salesman will arrange your car to be evaluated before discussing business, and you could be waiting a very long time to get your car keys back.

Dealerships are offering you a service; so, before test driving a car ask the salesman to demonstrate the cars features and gadgets. Also, check the tyre tread and see if they can include an MOT for 12 months if it's a second hand car.

What to look for before test driving a car

Before sitting in a new car check all the seats and ask yourself what are their conditions and sizes? Some modern cars have very small seats, especially at the rear. Have your children sit in the back to make an assessment and check to see if the baby seats fit.

Seating and space are one of the most important aspects of any car. Do the seats lift out easily, do they fold down flat or do they turn around? How large is the boot space, is it big enough for a weekly shop, the pushchair, luggage, and can the dogs fit in comfortably or is it only sufficient for a handbag?

Check the steering wheel and driving seat position. They should be level not going off to the left or to the right, and they should feel comfortable. Check to see if the driving position can be altered and if there is any lumbar support.

Once your driving position is comfortable, check if you can reach the dashboard etc. easily.

Is it easy to get in and out of the car?

There ought to be no major noises or clunking when the engine is on and the engine should be cold turning the ignition.

When driving the steering should feel free, not heavy and the gear changes need to be smooth with no grinding.

Always check the service history to find out how well the car has been looked after before. If you have any additional thoughts please send us your comments below so we can publish them online today here!