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Should You Ever Buy A Car Without Test Driving It?


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Cars cost a lot of money and so it can be important to make sure that what you are buying is worth the cost. A test drive is one way to do this. But is it always necessary? With more people ordering cars online, test drives are becoming less common. This post delves more into whether buying a car without a test drive is ever a good idea. 

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What are the benefits of a test drive?

A test drive is an opportunity to see how well a car handles, how comfortable it is and how easy it is to drive. If you’re a new driver, it could be important to choose a car that isn’t too sensitive or complicated to drive. If you’re an experienced driver, you may get more easily annoyed by a car that feels clunky or that isn’t responsive. Given that we all have our own preferences, a test drive can sometimes be the only way to tell if a car feels right.

A test drive is also useful for ensuring that there are no hidden faults that a seller has failed to disclose such as warning lights, odd sounds, stiff gears or buttons that don’t work. Buying a car and then finding out that it’s got hidden problems could be frustrating – especially if you’re not covered by a warranty. While you may still be able to sue the seller, a test drive could prevent having to put yourself through this stress. 

When may a test drive not be possible/necessary?

When buying a used car online and getting it delivered to your home, it may not be possible to test drive it beforehand. Yes, you may be able to find a nearby dealership that sells a similar model that is available to test drive – however you won’t be able to test drive that specific car to determine if it has any unique faults.

Test driving a car may also not be necessary if you’re buying the same model or buying a car that you’ve already driven in the past. There may still be unique faults to consider if it is a used car, but if there is a warranty to protect you such faults may not matter too much.

What are the alternatives to a test drive?

Some sites like Edmunds now offer video test drives that can give a certain idea as to what a vehicle is like to drive. Online reviews can also offer information about a car so that you can get a better idea of what it’s like to drive. You can also look up reviews of dealerships to get an idea of how honest a dealer is. 

When is a test drive always recommended? 

Test drives are always recommended when buying a used car privately from someone who you don’t wholly trust. They are particularly important if there is no warranty in place or if a seller seems to be offering limited information on the vehicle. It is always worth asking if you can test drive the vehicle. If a seller refuses and there is not practical reason as to why you cannot test drive it, you may want to avoid buying this vehicle – as there could be a good reason why they don’t want you to try before you buy. 

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