How to Test Drive a Classic Car
December 2nd, 2014
The test drive is an essential part of the research process when buying any used car. Test drives can be a great opportunity for you to learn a lot about the condition of the vehicle you are interested in buying. If you live nearby the classic or collector car you are interested in buying you may be able to perform a test drive yourself, however if the car you are interested in is not local or you would prefer the opinion of a professional, then we recommend a trusted independent inspection company that specializes in pre-purchase inspections for classic vehicles.
If you are able to conduct the test-drive yourself, here are some tips from the inspectors:
- Sit in the car and take a minute to consider how comfortable you are, can you see all the gauges and controls? Are they all in place? Some missing or in disrepair?
- What is your visibility from the driver’s seat? Have there been any modifications to the windscreen that mean your vision is impaired?
- Conduct the test drive during the day.
- Check the radio works, if there is one, but don’t drive with it on so that you can hear the engine and any squeaks or rattles or abnormal wind noises.
- Try to find a hill during the test drive so you can check the vehicles performance on a range of terrain.
- Make sure you get the vehicle up to a decent road speed so you can check its performance at speed and check how it accelerates.
- During the test drive you are thinking about how it accelerates, brakes, steers, handles, how the clutch engages, and how the suspension performs. Have this mental checklist in your head before you set out.
Road Ready Inspections conducts a 3 – 5 mile test drive as part of every inspection that they perform. The inspectors check a range of inspection points during the test drive, including but not exclusively:
- Cold / Hot start quality
- Starter function
- Engine idle
- Engine blowby
- Engine acceleration
- Transmission and clutch operation
- Vehicle alignment
- Brake operation
- Gear operation
The Road Ready inspectors are your eyes and ears on the test drive, providing you with all the information you need to learn the true condition of the vehicle you are interested in.