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Home / Articles / Columnists / Happy Motoring /  Test drive before you buy
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Thursday, April 3,2014

Test drive before you buy

By Steven M. Weitz, CPA  

 

When trying to buy a new or used vehicle, don’t you wish you could test drive the car without the sale person in the Passenger seat, taking you down the roads of their choice for a short distance? If you purchase one from a private owner most likely they are not going to allow you to head down the road for a few hours and put the car through some various types of testing. I always encourage people to have the vehicle checked over by a mechanic before signing on the doted line. Once it’s yours, there is no turning back.

Years ago I worked for a Rental car company and as part of my employment package, I was allowed to drive almost every model vehicle they rented, which gave me a great idea about test driving before buying. I still rent cars for my present employment for traveling and I make sure to pick a different model every time. If you are one who also has the need to rent vehicles, do you ever notice the MPG (miles per gallon) indictor when you first get the car. Perfectly I do because I make it a challenge to see if I can beat the previous driver. After booking several different models, I found one that fits me perfect and the mileage is awesome, 40 plus. It was a Nissan Altima. When I took possession of my rental, off I went on a 300 mile trip for a meeting. I noticed the MPG right off, how can I miss it, it is as plain as day on the dash panel. The previous driver averaged 24.5

MPG. While on my trip I noticed that my driving habits seemed to be paying off. No I do not drive under the speed limit or impede traffic, I do the speed limit and I do not accelerate constantly. A smooth and steady pressure. The MPG was getting higher the more I drove. By the end of my round trip, I was averaging 42.3 MPG. Wow, what a savings. Compared to the other driver, I could take that difference to the bank. I found the car to be comfortable for long distance, nice interior, sound system was great and I liked many of the features. I didn’t hear a lot of road noise, it had plenty of power when needing to accelerate, not that I was trying to drive like Mario Andretti, and my body never gave me any indications that it was uncomfortable. But everyone is different in their needs.

So if you are in the market for a new or used vehicle and can afford it, try renting for a day or two to make sure it is a good fit. Rental prices I have found are very reasonable. If your in the market for a used vehicle I recommend having your mechanic look it over. Just because it looks pretty, doesn’t mean the engine is sound.

Otherwise when you buy that hopefully perfect car, you might find out that the perfect car has become your unforgettable nightmare draining your bank account and keeping your mechanic busy. Be a wise shopper. Happy Motoring.

 

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