Millions of cars are bought every year. I’m not even going to specify a country here. In most countries with millions of citizens and a strong car industry, millions of cars are bought every year. And I very much doubt this is surprising news to you. What might be surprising to you is that millions of those consumers don’t even bother to test drive the car before they purchase it. Many who do test drive a car only do so for less than half an hour.
Thankfully, the figures don’t show that this is a majority of buyers. It only works out at around one in six buyers. Still, that is an alarming figure. That’s about 17% of drivers who are driving around in cars they didn’t test properly. Thankfully, this doesn’t always translate into danger for other drivers. It’s mostly just a big problem for the person who bought the car.
The problem is that there really is very little excuse not to test drive a car. Dealerships like Inchcape Lexus will let you test drive a vehicle for however long it takes you to make the right decision. If a dealership doesn’t let you test drive a car, or limits it to less than an hour, then go elsewhere. When you don’t test drive the car, you’re putting a lot of things in the hands of chance.
You may not think that driving a car for an hour or two can tell you that much about the car. But if you know what your needs for the car are, then it can tell you everything you need to know. But more than that, it can also reveal mechanical faults with the vehicle. If you suffer a problem within an hour of buying the car, you could end up paying big in repair fees. If the problem manifested during the test drive? Then the responsibility of repair and the associated costs rest completely on the dealer.
So why do so many people skip a test drive? Why are recent surveys showing such an alarming amount of drivers who are willing to buy a car without doing basic tests? I think it has a lot to do with a consumer’s ‘tunnel vision’ when they enter a car dealership. A lot of the time, people don’t go to these places intending to shop around and research each option thoroughly.
They’re not shopping for a car using a good analysis of their needs as the basis of their decision. They’re going in with a specific car in mind. They want a specific model, a specific color, specific features. As long as they can find that, they’re likely to just cough up the cash and drive it out of the lot as soon as possible.
Obviously, we can all sympathize with a little impatience. Sometimes, you don’t go into dealerships with high hopes of being able to find the precise car you need. But if you do end up finding that car, your desire take hold. You make rash decisions. But, as I hope this article has made clear, a test drive is absolutely vital.