Buying a car

Tips for Test driving a car

Published: 10/20/2021

Here at Peter Hanley Motors one of the most exciting times while selling a car is the test drive. That moment when you hand the keys over to the potential new owner and watch them drive away (sometimes smoothly, sometimes still searching for second gear!) and return a wee while later with a big grin on their face. The test drive is a definitive moment in deciding whether the car is for you or not. Yet, many drivers only give a perfunctory test drive before deciding to buy their new used car. It’s worth taking your time and having your homework done. Our sales team always want you to have the best test drive experience and to find that perfect car for you, so here are a few tips for test driving a car you are considering buying.

Doing the research before you get here

The vast majority of motorists know what car they are considering purchasing. The huge advances in our digital car showrooms over the past few years means that a complete story of a car on the showroom floor is available to any interested buyer. Everything from images, videos, full history, and costs are there to inform and enlighten. 

Make a list of the cars main features to check on the drive  

You will have viewed the car at your trusted motor dealer but it’s a good idea to have your homework done on the features of the make and model too. That way, you can check out all those extra features which tempted you to test drive in the first place. It will also prompt you to ask relevant questions on fuel consumption, extra features etc. with the salesperson. We are always pleased to answer any queries on the cars we sell. The more informed you are, the happier you will be when the sale is done.

Bring someone with you

This is standard advice to anyone making a big purchase. But the person you choose is important. Your brother’s friend’s cousin’s uncle might know a lot about cars, but he may not know a lot about you. Negative tyre-kicking is not going to be productive. Choose the sensible, car savvy person in the family or your circle of friends, who knows your lifestyle, your budget and can recognize a good car when they see one, or a major mechanical fault if that should happen.  Buying from a reliable car dealer brings you a long way to being assured of the quality of car on offer. The job of your buying buddy is to bring a steady reliable and sensible approach to the test-driving experience.


Consider the intuitiveness of the controls and check the position of switches to ensure you can you reach them easily from a comfortable driving position. Taking a test drive is important, but what to look out for rattles, noises, and for the comfort of the drive. Just take your time and make sure that your purchase ticks all the boxes. Don’t just drive on the smooth main road but take the car down the odd side road with a bit of bumpiness, to see how it handles as you make a few turns and reverses.   

Check for marks and scratches on the car 

If you are buying a car that has been a few years on the road, there is likely to be a few scratches and marks as befitting its age. Take a good look. Any garage worth its salt will present the car to you all shiny and clean and with the marks not easily seen. Take note and if there are a few pre-loved marks, ask yourself if you can live with them.

What to ask the Salesperson

The answer to what you should ask a salesperson at Peter Hanley Motors is ‘anything you want’!  Everything from can it take a towbar to how many child seats will fit in have been asked and answered. The bank of knowledge that your dealership has on any particular car is there for you avail of, so when it comes to choosing between one particular car over another, we can give practical and expert advice to assist with the choice. 

Ultimately, the test drive is just part of the car buying experience where you the drivability, roadworthiness and the general ‘feel ‘of the car. There is no compulsion to purchase.

Browse our large selection of cars and if you do feel like taking one of our beauties out for a test, simply call us here at the dealership and we will arrange it for you.

Peter Hanley Motors is a registered
member of The Society of the Irish
Motor Industry

web design by Dmac Media