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HPI’s Guide to Test Driving a Car

When it comes to buying a new car, test driving is one of the most important aspects. Here are our top tips for when you are test driving a car. 

1. Before you get in the car make sure you’re covered. You can get day insurance for a reasonable price these days and if you are planning on test driving a few cars on the same day, it’s well worth it. If you’re buying from a dealership they will have their own insurance policy for buyers to test drive.

2. Before you begin your test drive the engine should be cold. If it is warm, the seller may be trying to cover up a starting problem. If it is warm, wait until the engine has cooled down.

3. Once you get in the car make sure you adjust the steering wheel and the mirrors. Do they operate swiftly?

4. Check the clutch – if the car doesn’t reach the biting point until the pedal has almost reached its highest point it may be worn.

5. If it’s a family wagon, make sure you take the kids along with you. How easy is it to fasten a child seat? Can you get the kids in along with their pushchairs and school bags? Is there enough room for the weekly food shop too? If the children aren’t comfortable this may not be the car for you.

6. A 30 minute test drive is a good amount to time to get acquainted with the car. Drive on a variety of roads including country and dual carriages / motorway. How does the car handle?

7. Make sure all the controls and electrics work properly, switch every electrical item on to make sure it’s not a dud.

8. As you’re driving, listen out for any strange noises. Look in your rear view mirror to see if there is any smoke escaping from the exhaust.

9. Reverse park to check all round vision and your blind spots before you finish your test drive. Can you see through your mirrors clearly? Does it feel comfortable?

There’s a lot to take into consideration when buying a car, the test drive is an opportunity to make sure you’re comfortable in the car and everything is in good working order. If you would like any more information on our guide to test driving a car, get in touch with us @my_hpi or visit us at

Happy driving,