What to Look for when Test Driving a Used Car

by Guest

Buying a used car can save you a heap of money, and provide you with a high quality set of wheels at the same time. Today’s models are built to last, so a car that’s three years old may run as good as new provided that it’s been well taken care of. Yet there is always the element of risk involved when you are buying a used car, so it’s vital to inspect any candidates thoroughly before making a purchase. This is particularly true if you are buying privately. Ask to take a test drive no matter where you’re purchasing your car and pay close attention to the following factors.

Image Source: Harry_NL/Flickr

Image Source: Harry_NL/Flickr

Signs of Poor Maintenance

Before you turn the engine on, start your road test by examining the car for any signs of wear, tear, or neglect. Open the hood and pull out the oil and transmission dipsticks to look for grime or low levels of fluid. Inspect hoses and fan belts for cracking, and check the tyre treads for uneven wear. Look under the car for signs of wear as well, and examine the lights and tailpipes.

Safety and Security Features

If you look at the top rated cars at sites like Carsales, you’ll see that many come equipped to a high standard of basic safety and security equipment. A car equipped with safety features like stability control, anti-whiplash head restraints, and multiple airbags will incur lower insurance rates and protect you in the event of a collision. Security features such as deadlocks and a visible vehicle identification number also score top marks. Inspect the car for these types of features before you begin your test drive.


Another factor to consider is the car’s performance. Cars with excellent performance that are able to zip around town with ease will be easier to resell down the road, and are generally more efficient as well. As you take your drive, take note of the engine’s flexibility and gearstick action. Rev the engine to test acceleration ability and test braking ability.

Ride and Handling

You want to strike the balance between comfort and control on the road, so take note of the car’s ride and handling on your test drive. Try driving the car on a range of different types of roads to see how well the car handles them, from old city streets to dirt roads and major motorways.


Take your test drive with the radio off so that you can hear the car’s engine and dynamics. Is there a lot of cabin noise on the road, or is it smooth and refined? Try shifting gears and driving in different conditions to test refinement.


Finally, keep an eye on the mileage during your test drive. The used car salesman may promise you a factory mileage of 55mpg on the motorway, but when you take it out you may only see numbers closer to 35mpg. Real life efficiency is usually different from manufacturer-reported numbers, so see where the used car stands. By paying attention to these different areas of the car on your test drive, you can make sure that it will stand the test of time and suit your lifestyle.


Tips to Boost your Car’s Efficiency on the Road

by Guest

Your car’s efficiency will contribute greatly to its running costs, but no matter what your official mileage looks like you can make the most of your vehicle. Keeping a car in good shape and adjusting your driving style can work wonders towards improving efficiency, so keep the following tips in mind to boost your mileage.

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Keep Tyres Well Maintained

One of the first factors that will greatly influence real world efficiency is whether or not your tyres are inflated. Keeping them aligned and inflated can drastically reduce the amount of drag your car’s engine must contend with. Low rolling resistance tyres can improve efficiency by as much as one or two percent. These come as standard features on many new cars, or you could purchase a set for an older car. Yet no matter what type of tyre you have, keeping it inflated fully will reduce drag and resistance.

Keep an Eye on the Fuel Economy

As you drive, keep an eye on your efficiency. Take note of the odometer reading and the number of gallons that you’re purchasing at a time. You can calculate your mileage by dividing the number of miles you’ve travelled by the number of litres or gallons that you’ve purchased. This will give you an accurate indication of what your car is using. If there’s a sudden drop in your fuel economy, this could be a sign that it’s time to take your car in to the mechanic.

Store Car in the Shade

The location in which you store your car can have a major impact on its economy, so maximize your fuel by keeping your car cool and protected. Park the car in a garage or in the shade to protect it from the elements.

Keep up with Regular Maintenance

Does your car have a maintenance schedule? Stay on top of it to ensure that your engine is running at its peak level of efficiency. It’s the small things that make a major difference, including changing filters and oil regularly. These simple actions help lengthen your vehicle’s lifespan and improve its fuel economy because they prevent the engine from working too hard.

Avoid Idling

When behind the wheel, there are a number of actions you can take to improve efficiency. One of these is to avoid idling whenever possible. Your engine burns extra fuel when idling, so if you’re going to be stalled for more than a minute it’s more efficient to simply turn the engine off and restart it. Vehicles with stop-start technology will do this automatically.

Drive at a Sensible Pace

It may seem obvious, but driving at or under the speed limit and taking it easy on the road can really work wonders when it comes to your car’s efficiency. Driving at a speed of 60 mph instead of 75 will cut your fuel use significantly. Keep a steady pace and avoid slamming on the breaks.

Naturally, purchasing an efficient vehicle to begin with also makes a world of difference. You can read reviews at sites like Motoring.com.au to compare popular vehicles like the Holden Cruze with hybrid options to find out what will work best for your needs on the road. Combined with these techniques, you’ll end up saving even more on fuel costs.

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