test drive

No matter what type of car you're purchasing, you should always take it out on a test drive before committing. Our top tips will allow you to get a good idea of the quality and condition of the car, avoiding nasty surprises further down the line.


Ask to start the car from cold, and have a look under the bonnet before setting off. Look for any oil leaks and rusty joints, and use the dipstick to check the oil levels. When the engine is started, keep an eye out for excessive smoke and noise, as these can be warning signs of hidden problems.


The condition of the brakes is vital to your safety. Press down hard and ensure the car stops in a straight line, listening out for squealing or grinding noises. Test the handbrake on an incline - it shouldn't be too stiff to pull up or allow the car to slide backwards.

Gears and clutch

Run the car through all the gears on your test drive to check that they are all smooth with no 'crunching'. The bite point on the clutch shouldn't be too difficult to catch or too high up, these are signs it will need replacing soon which can be expensive.


If possible, try tight corners on your test drive and ensure that the steering is smooth with no shudders or unusual sounds. Also, check that the car doesn't veer to one side when on a straight stretch.

Interior and exterior

If you are serious about purchasing the car, it will need more than a quick glance over. Inspect the whole bodywork for scratches and rust, and look for chips in the windscreen. The tyres should have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm and be worn equally on both sides. Last of all, look inside the car at the upholstery for signs of damage.

If you do discover issues or damages with the car, you are left with two ways to deal with them. If you think the problems are too large, simply walk away from the sale. But, if you think they would be relatively easy and cost-effective to fix, then they can be used as reasons to bring the cost of the car down.

For car finance advice in the West Midlands, contact us at Motor Market today. We are friendly and professional Specialist Automotive Finance experts who aim to deliver the best option for you.

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