Poquet Auto Blog

What to Look for When Test Driving a Vehicle

Posted by Poquet Auto on Jul 30, 2020 12:48:19 PM

Test driving a vehicle isn’t quite like it used to be. With many new tech features in automobiles today, finding the right car for you can be difficult. One thing you’ll always want to do before purchasing a vehicle is take it on a test drive. Even with modern conveniences, test driving can give you a view of whether or not a particular car is the right one for you.

black lit up dashboard of audi with steering wheel

Here at Poquet, we get some questions from first-time buyers regarding test driving. We broke down what to look for before and during your drive as well as four tips for test driving with us!

Before the DRive

Before you get behind the wheel for your test drive, it's important that you check the exterior and interior for any visible signs of damage to the vehicle.


On the exterior of the car, besides looking at the general condition of it, the two areas of focus you should give your attention to are the the tires and paint job. Car tires in good condition should be worn evenly throughout all four tires and any feathering or uneven wearing could indicate a bad alignment. A good trick that indicates the condition of the tires is to do the penny test.

 In general, dents and scratches are more of an annoyance than they are a problem. But even if they don't appear to be serious, they may be a clear sign that the car has been in an accident.

Check the vehicle’s trunk and all doors, make sure that they are in-line and open/close fine. Throughout the exterior inspection, look for any signs of rust and look under the car for no rust or other damage. This could be a great job for a professional mechanic if you want to be certain that all areas are thoroughly inspected properly.


While inspecting the inside of the car, look for any signs of damage like rips or stains. Regardless of the time of year, turn on the air conditioning and then the heat to make sure that both are working accordingly and able to reach the desired cabin temperature. In fact, make sure to turn on everything that could potentially be faulty. Lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, audio systems, make sure all of these features get your attention while inspecting the interior.

Other features that should be checked and can be found in most make and models are the automatic windows, locks, and seats. Again, it’s always important to make sure that the odometer mileage is the same as the person you are buying from told you. 

During the Drive

During your test drive, you’ll want to look at a few different things like acceleration, braking, steering, how the car handles, the visibility, and the quietness of the vehicle. Plus, don't forget to check out the tech features and your overall comfort.

Acceleration and Braking

How a vehicle accelerates can be scary, especially when you need to move, fast. Bring the car on a freeway or highway to see how quickly you can accelerate when you need it most. Drive up a steep hill to experience how the engine handles in different terrain.

Braking is an integral part of a test drive. You’ll want to pay attention to how the vehicle brakes, is it quick or too touchy? You should test how the brakes respond to a soft touch and a hard touch. Braking should be smooth, progressive, and give you confidence on the road.

Steering and Handling

When driving, steering should be easy to control through your turns. If your steering feels too quick or slow when maneuvering the car, you might want to look at another vehicle. Making sure the car responds well will show you how it handles on the road. Check the tracks of the steering wheel to see if it needs continual corrections or if it drives straight. A vehicle with quality response time can be a factor in avoiding an accident on the road.

Visibility and Quietness

A big thing to look for while driving is visibility. What are your blind spots, can you see the road clearly or are there any blockers? You’re going to want to check your side-mirrors, your rear-view mirror, any potential blind spots, and if you can see over anything on your dashboard.

Furthermore, listen while you’re driving. You can hear if it’s a quiet ride or if there is something that might be interfering with a smooth ride. Hear how loud the engine is when you’re accelerating. It’s okay to turn off the radio and listen to the vehicle while driving.

Tech Check

With so many tech features these days, don’t forget to check the tech during your test drive! See if you can connect easily to Bluetooth, or how the radio sounds when connected to a device. Look for any gauge or dash lights that are out. Give the horn a honk too, so you know where it is if you need it (and that it makes noise). If there is a heads-up display, see if you’re comfortable with that while driving. As there have been so many advances in technology and cars, it’s always a good idea to check the tech before buying.


Finally, the biggest thing to look for when test driving is your comfortability! You want your ride to be comfortable to get into and out of, as well as, fit your hands and arms, butt, knees, and feet well. If you’re not comfortable while driving, why even purchase that vehicle?

Ready for a test drive, but don’t have a vehicle on your mind? We offer hybrid and electric cars, cars with over 30 MPG, and plenty of new arrivals you’ll love to get behind the wheel to test drive!

After the Drive

Once your test drive is over, you'll want to think about if this choice is the one for you! If it is, take a look at our financing options, and we'll get you off the lot in a fantastic vehicle. If it's not, we will work with you further to find the perfect option for you and your lifestyle. 

Four Tips for Test Driving with Poquet

There are lots of things you’ll want to be on the lookout for when it comes to test driving a vehicle. Beyond what to check out before and during your ride, we’ve gathered a list of four tips for you.

  1. Do your homework before test driving.
  2. Make a list of the features you want.
  3. Bring a friend or family member with you to test drive.
  4. Schedule an appointment with Poquet Auto.

Stop by Poquet Auto, and we’ll get you into an enjoyable, luxury vehicle. Schedule a test drive, and you’ll be one step closer to owning the car of your dreams!


Poquet Auto

Topics: Tips & Helpful Info

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