Whether you are buying a car from a dealer or from a private owner, there are a few important points you need to pay attention to when conducting a test drive. Here is our check-list:
Drive it yourself
Sounds obvious but not always the case! Always insist on driving the car yourself. You may take the first ride on the passenger seat, as a courtesy to the seller, but you must definitely at one point drive and feel the car for yourself. This is the only way to ensure everything is ok with it before deciding to purchase it. [Compare car deals in the UAE and book a test drive]
All sounds off
Always test drive the car with the radio off. There should not be any sound interference that could prevent you from hearing the engine or, if ever, any abnormal noises (engine, breaks, exhaust,…) when buying a second-hand car. You will have all the opportunities to test the audio system performances when the car is stationary.
Particularly when purchasing a second-hand vehicle, ask the owner to have a look at the service book. Important facts to check: is there a service book, is it updated, where was the car serviced, was there any major mechanical or body fixing done, is the car still under warranty ? For new cars, ask the salesman about the service and warranty contract terms. [Related: 3 affordable sports cars in the UAE]
It may not always be visible to the naked eye but when a car has been in an accident, there will be a difference in the paint density between original and re-painted fixed parts. Small pen-shaped electronic devices that are pressed at different places of the car body will let you know if it is the case. Most of the showrooms use this device and it can be purchased on the market too. [Related: Understanding car body types | Car performance specs: What do they mean?]
Condition of the tyres and breaks
You may believe you are getting a good deal on a second-hand car only to realize shortly after that tyres and breaks need to be replaced, topping up the bill with another 4 digit figure. After or before your test drive, perform a visual check of the tyres and break pads/discs wear. By touching them with your fingers you will also be able to know if they require replacement very soon. If it is the case, this well also help you negotiating further the selling price of the vehicle. [Compare car loans in the UAE and apply now | Compare car insurance in the UAE] Buying a car is not an easy decision. We have all heard the story of this friend or that colleague who closed the deal in a hurry and later found out the “dream car” was quickly turning into a nightmare. By following the 5 points above, you should be able to save yourself quite a bit of trouble.