10 Test-Drive Tips From Champion Chevrolet of Howell, MI
Check Your Car Compatibility with 10 Test-Drive Tips
Written by: Laurie Humphrey
If warmer days and shorter nights have you yearning for a new vehicle and an open road, you’re not alone. New car and truck sales are expected to top 16.7 million this year, up 14 percent since 2006 according to J.D. Power & Associates, but before you join the ranks of new vehicle ownership, check out your potential investment, inside and out. Cars and trucks are typically your second largest investment, behind your home.
Use these 10 tips to determine if a vehicle could be right for you:
1) Comfort & Confidence –You’re going to spend a lot of time in the seat, so make sure it feels right. Does it hit the back of your legs comfortably and do you feel in control when you sit in it? Practice looking over your shoulder like you would when driving in reverse.
2) Safety –Let’s start with visibility. Can you see out the windows, or are you hampered by blind spots? Pillars can create a challenge. Pillars are the space between the front windshield and the front-row windows, or the front-row windows and second-row windows. If a make or model is not working for you, try a different one. You should also be able to see the instrument panel easily, without taking your eyes off the road.
3) Reach – It goes without saying that you should be able to reach the gas and brake pedals easily, but you should also be comfortable reaching the dashboard controls and the steering wheel.
4) Road Noise – Multi-tasking has become a personal and professional necessity, which means a lot of us are taking calls on the road. If that describes you, you’ll want to make sure your conversations aren’t drowned out by noise from the tires, the engine or air flow over the vehicle.
5) Fit & Finish – This is a different kind of noise. These are the rattles, pops and squeaks that occur naturally, especially in pre-owned vehicles. Each of us has a noise threshold. Doesn’t it make sense to find that defining line before buying a vehicle you’re committing to financially?
6) Braking – Your end goal is a smooth stop, which should be achieved by stepping on the brake pedal with increasing pressure. If you feel pulsing, the vehicle may need work.
7) Front-end Issues – Take the vehicle to an empty lot and see if it can follow a semi-straight line driving slowly, hands-free. A gradual pull to the left or right may not be a problem, but a hard pull could be a red flag.
8) Transitions – The shift in gears when a car accelerates and decelerates should be relatively quiet.
9) Trying All Options – While most people are not schooled in the sounds of potential car problems, anyone can check to make sure the options are working. This means the radio, temperature controls, windows, 4-Wheel Drive, the parking brake…all of it.
10) Tech Compatibility – Believe it or not, phones don’t always sync with a vehicle’s Bluetooth function. If that compatibility is important to you, verify a sync before buying the vehicle.
These tips can apply to all cars and trucks, whether they are new, pre-owned or demo vehicles.
Expertise provided by Rick Resinger of Champion Automotive Group, serving Livingston County and beyond for 30 years and counting, with locations in Brighton, Howell and Fowlerville.
Community Relations Manager
Champion Automotive Group
Brighton • Howell • Fowlerville