How To Test Drive A Used Car

Now you’re ready to test-drive the car. Make sure you adjust the mirrors, seat, and seatbelt first and turn off the radio and vents. Turn on the car. Notice if the key turns smoothly (replacing the ignition switch can be very expensive). Pay close attention to how well the car starts up. It should be smooth and quick. You should not hear any belts squealing or any loud vibrations. Look through the rear view mirror to make sure you don't see any smoke. Turn on the A/C. It should start cooling very quickly. Listen to the engine for a minute. It should be smooth and quiet. All the lights on the dashboard shoud go off after the car starts up.

Let's take the car for a spin. Find an open highway if you can. Make sure the car shifts through all gears smoothly. If the car is an automatic, you will have to listen closely and make sure you reach higher speeds. Try to feel if the steering tugs to one side. The car should not vibrate and should steer directly forward.
Pay close attention when braking. The car should brake smoothly (without vibration) and should not pull to any side. The brake pedal should not be spongy when stepped on. In the case of an automatic, try to find an uphill and come to a full stop. Then release the brake. The car should not roll back. Now look at the gauges while you are driving. Check to see no warning lights went on. Check the temperature and oil pressure gauges. All the other gauges should work (odometer, speedometer, tachometer, etc...).