Used Vehicle

Taking a Used Vehicle for a Test Drive? What You Should be Aware of


Checking a used vehicle that you are planning to buy can be a time-consuming experience. After all, you want to make sure that the vehicle you purchase is still of good quality and reliable, even if it is second-hand. So when you are looking for a used vehicle, you should make sure that the vehicle you have in mind has all the right papers and documents, including its VRC, NCT Certificate (if the vehicle is more than four years old), and more.

But apart from the vehicle’s registration and other important paperwork, you should also make sure to check the physical components of the vehicle itself. This includes checking the vehicle’s interior and exterior as well as its engine and history. But even if you check all these things, you will never really get the feel for a car if you don’t take it for a test drive.

Taking a car for a test drive: what to expect

First of all, you have every right as a consumer to ask for a test drive. Of course, you need to have the right qualifications to drive the car in the first place, such as a valid driver’s licence and insurance as well. When you have these requirements, you will have no difficulty checking one of the most important requirements for any vehicle that you buy: the way it drives.

Before you test-drive the vehicle, it is better to start it from cold. Once you start the car, listen carefully for any abnormal or unusual noises coming from the inside of the car. You should also check the car’s warning lights, especially when it comes to oil.

What to look for when starting the vehicle

Additionally, when you start the vehicle, you should also check for any sign of exhaust emissions which are clearly visible or excessive. If there is blue smoke coming out of the car’s exhaust, this could be a sign of burning oil. White smoke, on the other hand, is a good sign as it indicates a clean process of combustion. Of course, black smoke is a common result of diesel fuel, and, whilst it’s not environmentally recommended, it can be considered normal (just as long as it does not come out when the vehicle is merely idling or it is not too excessive).

 Used Vehicle

Testing the vehicle’s braking system

Try pressing down on the car’s clutch – are there noises or does the car’s clutch seem to bite once it is down halfway? When you try braking, is it even, or does it seem to pull the vehicle to one side? The vehicle should be able to stop in a straight track or line, even if it has a heavy load. What you can also do is drive the car until you reach 50 kilometres per hour, then stop abruptly and check for any strange noises.

When you take the car for a drive, you should also ask for any emissions report, preferably one that has been done recently. One other thing you should check is the filler cap for oil. Lift this up and see if there is dirt or scum underneath.

At the end of the day, when you test drive a second-hand car, it should perform well within your expectations. If you want to be extra sure about your decision, however, you should ask for a vehicle valuation through valuation specialists such as, which should be able to give you additional, vital information, such as the vehicle’s history, its mileage, its insurance, its road tax status, and its NCT status, among others.

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