If you’re going to purchase a used car, it’s important that you know how to test drive the vehicle before making the final payment. Many people miss out on this opportunity and end up with a car that has many underlying problems with its engine; all because they don’t know how to test drive a used car.

To make sure your car purchase goes well, we’re going to identify 5 tips that’ll help you make an informed decision.


Many sellers prepare the car a little ahead of time so the car will start smoothly when you arrive. Start the car and listen closely to the engine starting—if it makes no unusual noises, then there shouldn’t be any problem with the engine. But if the car shows any hesitation as it starts, then that’s reason for concern and you should probably reconsider.


You want to see how the car pulls away when you change gears—it’s a major indication of the car’s condition. Pre-plan a route that’ll render many speed changes so you can see how well the car works between different gears. Should it show any signs of struggle while shifting gears, there’s probably some issue with the car.


It’s imperative that you check how well the steering wheel responds to your own movements, and also remember to check the steering wheel’s calibration with tracking. You can do this by taking the car on a clear road and lifting your hand off the wheel to see how the car moves. If the car maintains a straight path, then you have nothing to worry about. But if the steering wheel shows any movement, there might be some problem with the steering or the tire balance.


Pay special attention to the brakes’ efficacy whenever you slow down or stop. Check how the steering responds to heavy braking and watch out for the handbrake performance. The handbrake should be able to hold the car’s weight in any gradient but if you feel like the brake seems to warrant some concern, trust your gut feeling. After all, safety is paramount.

Listen Carefully

You want to listen for the sound of the ignition, the sound of the engine while the car’s moving, the sound it makes while slowing down, and so on. Any sound that seems unusual to you should give you reason to investigate more.

Looking for a driving school in Arizona? Check out Jacob’s Driving and Traffic School that offers a range of driving lessons, including defensive driving. Our trained and experienced trainers are fully equipped to transfer their driving knowledge to the new drivers. Visit our website to learn more, or call us at (602) 297-1000.  

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