Guide: used car test drive

Test drive
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After you click on the B viewing the used car exactly from Having viewed the outside and checked the oil level, cooling water and brake fluid in the engine compartment, the next step is driving characteristics. A good way to make a first impression is to let the seller drive first. This has the advantage that you as the passenger can observe more, as you are not distracted by driving an unfamiliar vehicle. The test drive should take place in daylight, as driving at night requires more concentration.

Look at the indicator lights when starting the cold engine: If the engine starts quickly (don't forget to preheat with older diesels), you should do so within less Seconds all control lamps must have gone out. As a rule, this is a sign that all important systems that are used for driving and safety are OK. If the engine is running smoothly, you can get out again and convince yourself of the function of the headlights including indicators, flashing lights, fog lights and rear lights as well as brake lights. Now let the seller drive a few kilometers and watch his driving style. During the test drive, it can be concluded on the one hand whether he (as a private seller) is familiar with the vehicle and, on the other hand, whether his driving style is supposed to cover up any defects. -headline__article - beta '> Radio stays off during the test drive

Pay attention to how the car accelerates and whether the gear change runs smoothly or the automatic shifts smoothly. As a relaxed seated passenger, you usually notice the suspension and rolling noise better. Even a layman can feel and hear worn out shock absorbers and damaged axle bearings. While the owner controls, you can conveniently use functions such as blower, air conditioning, window lifters, sunroof, navigation, radio, etc. try it out without having to concentrate on the traffic. But turn the radio off again as it is a distraction.

Finally, ask to be allowed to take the wheel in a parking lot or on a clear street with little traffic. Before doing this, you must find out how the vehicle is currently insured, as all damage during a test drive is the responsibility of the driver. Liability is, however, limited by liability and comprehensive insurance to the excess and the downgrade damage for the vehicle owner. AlsoTraffic violations are of course the responsibility of the driver who caused them. Under no circumstances should you drive an unknown or insufficiently insured car, as you take the full risk and are liable for any damage! The ADAC offers a test drive agreement on its website .

Test all the functions yourself during a test drive

After you have taken a seat behind the wheel and adjusted the seat and mirror, try out all the functions that you have not been able to test before. Then operate the indicators, horn and windshield wipers as a test and familiarize yourself with the gear shift: How do you put in reverse gear? Can all gears be shifted smoothly and evenly when the vehicle is stationary? The clutch is then checked for proper function. To do this, apply the parking brake, engage 3rd gear and slowly release the clutch. The engine must now die, otherwise the clutch will slip and must be replaced soon. You can also feel the behavior of the engine during this procedure, what the situation is with the bearings: If the engine shakes and shakes noticeably before stalling, the engine bearings are probably worn out.

Now it's time to hit the slopes : During the test drive, drive on a road that is as straight as possible and with little traffic and take your hands off the steering wheel. If the car then continuously pulls to the left or right, the track is probably wrong. Accidental damage can also be the cause of a warped lane.

You can also test the function of the brakes on a straight, dry road with little traffic. When the brake pedal is depressed, there must be an even and largely noise-free deceleration. The braking effect is different on both sides when the vehicle pulls to the right or left. In this case, readjustment must be carried out in the workshop. You should also test the effectiveness of the ABS during the brake test. The best thing to do is to brake hard at 40 km /h on a side road with gravel or slippery ground, provided nobody can be endangered. If you get out of the car and see clear scratches, at least one tire has locked and the ABS has failed. Repairs are expensive, a defective ABS prevents the HU sticker from being issued.

Check gear, starter and acceleration

Now test the gear shift in detail by trying out all combinations during the test drive and depending on the traffic situation. Rapid upshifts and downshifts as well as skipping gears show whether the transmission is running smoothly or whether it is making suspicious noises. In vehicles with a turbocharger, pay attention to the draft and the acoustics of the same: there is a soft singing or a subtle whistle when acceleratingharmless, louder noises indicate problems and possibly expensive repairs. Move the vehicle with lots of stop & go in city mode and with high gears at low, medium and high speeds in country and motorway modes. Also test whether the steering wheel starts to vibrate at higher speeds.

When driving at full throttle, the coolant thermometer (if present) must not rise too much, but must recover quickly when driving slowly. Otherwise there could be a problem with the thermostat. If there is an oil pressure gauge, then after a quick trip you can check the engine. During the test drive, stop in a safe place, shift to idle, and observe the oil pressure. If it drops significantly, the engine has problems with the lubricant circuit and probably no longer has a very long life expectancy.

Last but not least, check the steering when driving slowly and when parking. Does it make noises when it is fully impacted? Does she have clear play? When reversing into a parking space, you can check whether the steering is working properly. If you have to crank too hard or there is a clearly audible creak, this indicates problems in the steering gear.

Take the time for the test drive

A detailed test drive, as described here, usually takes only takes 30 to 40 minutes, but it is definitely worth it. A seller who has nothing to hide will allow the prospective buyer to do so without hesitation. Keep in mind, however, that a used car cannot be expected to be the equivalent of a new car. Wear parts, like other components, often break unexpectedly and are due after a certain mileage. The new owner always has to reckon with defects.

On the other hand, defects that become apparent during a test drive can also give the buyer some room for negotiation. However, if the private seller does not allow himself to be talked about, he is probably dubious and is hoping for a less competent buyer. In this case, it is worth doing without the vehicle, because liability for material defects is already excluded in the vast majority of cases in the contract for a private sale.


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