What to Check During a Test Drive Before Buying a Used Car?

What to Check During a Test Drive Before Buying a Used Car?

Buying a used car is a smart way to save money. However, it is crucial to be careful and smart in your selection process to ensure you are making a wise investment. This guide will help you understand what to look for during a car test drive to make sure you are making a good choice. 

Looking for the most affordable car? Read: Top Cars You Can Buy Under 5 Lakhs in Pakistan

Before You Start the Engine

Excitement can run high when you are about to test drive the selected cars, especially if it is your first purchase. But remember, this is a big decision. You will probably be using this car for years, so it is important not to rush. Exploring multiple car options under your budget and careful test driving can help you stay objective and make the best decision.

Here’s what you should consider even before you get behind the wheel:

History and Papers

It is essential to know the car’s past. Look at the service history (if available) to see how well it has been taken care of. Also, check all the important papers like the registration and tax receipts. Make sure these documents match the car’s details like the engine and chassis number.

Oil or Fluid Leaks

Look around the engine area and under the car for any signs of leaks. This could indicate potential future problems.

Door, Hood, and Trunk Operation

Ensure all doors, the trunk, and the hood open and close smoothly. Difficulty in operating these can indicate past damages and safety issues.

Body Condition

Check for rust, dents, and scratches. Rust can weaken the car’s structure, and may result in damaging different components.

Tyre Condition

Do not overlook the tyres. Their condition can add unexpected costs if they need to be replaced soon. Use a coin to check the tread depth; you will have an idea of the condition of the tyre.

Stay tuned for a detailed guide on things to consider before buying a used car. In the meanwhile, also read the following.

Test Driving the Car

Now, let’s talk about the actual test drive. This is where you really get a feel for the car.

Check the Comfort of the Driver’s Seat

Before you even start the engine, take a moment to settle into the driver’s seat. Notice how the seat itself feels. Are you comfortable? As you are going to drive the car for years, it is important that the seat feels comfortable.

Engine and Noise

Start the car and listen. Any strange ticking sounds or high idling are red flags. The car’s engine should run smoothly without making odd noises. If there is any noise, it might be a red flag.

Exhaust Smoke

Pay attention to the exhaust. White smoke after the car is warm, blue smoke, or black smoke, all indicate different problems such as coolant leaks, oil burning or excessive fuel consumption, etc..

Steering and Alignment

In a safe, open area, see if the car drives straight without controlling the steering wheel. If it pulls to one side, it could mean alignment issues or tyre problems.


Testing your car’s brakes is essential. They should feel firm, not spongy, when you apply them. Listen for any unusual noises while braking, as they could signal worn-out parts. You might wonder why brakes matter so much since they’re relatively inexpensive to replace. However, poorly maintained brakes could indicate neglect by the owner and potentially hint at other underlying issues with the vehicle.

Other Considerations

  • Fuel Efficiency: Ask about the car’s fuel efficiency. This is an important aspect of the car’s overall cost to you.
  • Get a Professional Opinion: If you’re not confident about your assessment, consider OLX Car Inspection which provides a detailed report on a car’s actual condition. Here is how our car inspection service can help you:
  1. No Hassle: You do not have to find a mechanic yourself. Just schedule the inspection from home and let our team of experts take care of it.
  2. Affordable Price: Finding and visiting a mechanic can be time-consuming and costly. Our inspection service offers affordable rates, and you can get it done from the comfort of your own home.
  3. Quick Issue Analysis: Our inspection team will give you instant feedback on any issues with the car. They’ll thoroughly check over 200 points in just 45 minutes, covering important components like brakes, interior, exterior, and engine. You will get a detailed report with a breakdown of any damage and scores for different categories like overall condition, interior, and exterior.
  4. Innovative Approach: We use the latest technology to assess any issues with the car and provide you with a verified digital report. This report includes scores for each category, giving you a clear understanding of the car’s condition.
  5. Enhance Your Bargaining Power: Inspection done by an expert can identify potential issues So you can negotiate a lower price with the seller.

Using OLX Car Inspection can make the car-buying process easier and help you make a more informed decision.


Taking a car test drive is about more than just seeing if you like driving the car. It’s an opportunity to inspect the car thoroughly and identify the hidden issues. By checking everything like engine health, handling, brakes, etc. you can make a more informed decision and choose a used car that’s reliable and right for you. Remember, it’s better to take your time to make a decision rather than to rush into a purchase to avoid regretting.

Share your test drive stories with us in the comments below – we’d love to hear about your experiences!

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