Today, we’ll continue outlining the three major parts of a test drive.
Once you’re satisfied with your examination of the exterior, it’s time to move to the interior. Before sitting down, open each door and look at the interior. Are there any stains, rips, or tears in the seats or carpet? Are the door panels intact? You then have to decide if any flaws here are deal breakers; sometimes a stain/tear should be overlooked if you’re getting a great deal otherwise. Now, it’s time to enter the vehicle.
While getting into the vehicle, ask yourself, “How accessible is the car?” In other words, is it easy for you to get in and out of? Does it sit too low/high? As you sit in the driver’s seat, it’s logical to move your inspection from left to right. To the left of the steering column, most cars have the mirror adjustment, headlight control, dimmer switch, and possibly wiper controls. In either case, check all of the controls and switches on the left of the wheel, connected to the left of the steering column, and then those connected to the right of the steering column. After all of those have been checked for functionality, move to those controls in the center, i.e., the radio and climate control, navigation (if equipped), gear selector, etc. Do all of the functions on the radio work properly (bring a cd and mp3 player to check the cd player and auxiliary connection. Do all of the speakers emit clear sound? Next, move to the climate control. Do the controls work and does the heat blow hot air while the a/c blows cold air? Does the heat or air smell as though the in-cabin air filter should be replaced? Now that you’ve checked all of those controls, you need to check seat controls. Do both move forward and backward? Do both recline and return properly. Also, check other seat controls if equipped, i.e., height, lumbar support, etc. Depending on the particular car, there may be additional items to inspect. Just remember to ask yourself, “In the end, can I live with this problem or issue?” Once, you’ve finished examining the interior, it’s time to move to the mechanical aspect of the car.