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AAA Offers Test Drive Tips

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer October 2011

Between choosing the right car, finding a good dealer, negotiating payment and setting up financing, buying a car can be a stressful process. So stressful, in fact, that the American Automobile Association says many shoppers often neglect a crucial aspect of the experience: the test drive. To remedy this, AAA recently announced several tips designed to help car shoppers get the most out of their test drive.

The first tip, according to the AAA, is to start off at the computer rather than the dealership. That way, buyers can compare standard and optional accessories, safety features, performance data, and - most importantly - purchase price on their own schedule, without any confusing information or pressure from salespeople. Once a shopper has narrowed down the choices, it's time to head to the dealership.

After arriving at the dealer, AAA recommends walking around the car before driving it. According to the organization, prospective buyers should inspect the paint for blemishes, the tightness of body panels and - most importantly - the car's size to make sure it's large enough for their needs. Next, AAA says shoppers should try being a passenger with the salesperson behind the wheel, noting that it's easier for buyers to notice noise and comfort when they're not driving.

Upon moving to the driver's seat, AAA's first recommendation is to make sure the car "fits." That means ensuring the seats are comfortable, visibility is acceptable, and controls are easy to reach and use. Next, AAA suggests consumers find a familiar driving route - preferable one that includes many different road surfaces and conditions - so they can drive the car like they would under normal circumstances. The organization even reminds buyers to try parallel parking in their test car to accurately assess difficulty.

Another step frequently overlooked by car shoppers is paying close attention to the car's major components. According to AAA, that means testing brakes, listening for transmission noises, evaluating steering feedback, and scrutinizing the engine's responsiveness in real-world conditions.

While AAA's suggestions may seem like a lot to remember, they can be extremely helpful for car shoppers - especially those unfamiliar with the process. The recommendations also remind buyers not to fall in love with a car, but instead to thoroughly inspect it, uncovering any flaws that may be hidden behind its sleek lines and attractive price tag.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
AAA Offers Test Drive Tips - Autotrader