Regardless of whether you're purchasing a new or used vehicle, you should always test drive it to ensure it fits your needs and driving habits. However, when test driving vehicles, you need to bring more than just yourself and your driving gloves. Here are three additional items you should take with you when you car shopping.
Important Items and Accessories
You will be driving this car for a long period of time. Therefore, it's critical to ensure it will accommodate any special needs you may have. If you have items or devices that must fit in or on the vehicle, it's a good idea to bring those along with you. For instance, bring your child's car seat to make sure it will fit in the designated space or take along your mobile devices to ensure they are compatible with the other electronic devices equipped on the vehicle.
Be aware, though, that the salesperson may not let you try out some items. Since the vehicle will remain on sale if you choose not to buy it, the salesperson will typically prohibit you from testing anything that may damage the car or truck and reduce its value. For instance, the salesperson may not let you try to mount your bicycle on the roof or put it in the truck because it could scratch the paint or cause other damage.
To save yourself some time and frustration, call ahead to make sure it's okay to bring your items and accessories along on the test drive.
Copies of Your Driver's License
When you go for a test drive, the salesperson will typically want to make a copy of your driver's license to make sure you can legally drive and for his or her own protection. Unfortunately, these days you have to be careful about who gains access to your personal information. According to Javelin Strategy and Research, approximately 15.4 million people experienced identity theft in 2016, and the number of data breaches and account takeovers means that number will only continue to increase.
While the people at the dealership may be fine and upstanding individuals, you should still take steps to protect yourself. One thing you can do is make copies of your driver's license to give to the salesperson when he or she asks. This minimizes the risk the person will make multiple copies of your license without your permission. If the salesperson insists on seeing your license to ensure it matches the copy you gave him or her, produce it but don't let the person walk away with it.
Once the test drive is over, be sure to retrieve the copy from the salesperson and destroy it once you return home. Additionally, keep an eye on your credit reports, credit cards, and bank accounts to catch any issues that may arise from your test driving.
Friends can be an invaluable source of help when test driving a vehicle. Someone who is knowledgeable about cars and trucks can provide insight in the vehicle's quality and point out things that may pose an issue during your ownership, which can help you avoid buying a lemon. More importantly, though, bringing a friend along can keep you focused on the important issues and stop you from making an impulse purchase you may regret later.
If you don't have anyone who can go test driving with you, an alternative is to bring a checklist of features you want in a vehicle as well as a list of things to look out for. Not only can this help you stay on track, but it may make it easier to compare the different vehicles you test drive.
For more information about preparing for a test drive or help locating the right car for you, contact a dealership.