How to Optimize Your Test Drive

After finding the perfect car using OneRequest (*hint, hint*), the next step is to take it for a test drive. For many people, a test drive is the most critical part of the car shopping experience, and it is often the last box to check before signing on the dotted line. The OneRequest team is here to help you get the most out of your next test drive.

Get Comfortable!

The test drive is a preview into what your daily driving experience will be like, so get the car how you want it. Adjust the driver’s seat, mirrors, steering wheel height, and anything else to make the ride comfortable and tailored to you. How are the cupholders? Can they hold your 48-ounce soda from QT? Is there a logical place to set your phone? Think through your daily driving routine.

Become Familiar with the Controls and Test the Technology

Explore all of the controls of the vehicle. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask the seller or dealer to explain the controls to you. Take note of the dashboard layout. Confirm that you can find and access all controls easily. Play around with the radio, A/C, navigation system, and any other comfort features. Can you maneuver through all the controls easily while your drive? Or are they difficult to reach or find? Verify that all electric components work both while in motion and while parked. These things matter people!

Shhh… Listen

Note any cabin noise or difficulty talking to passengers at a comfortable volume. Pay attention to any engine noise. Notice how its sounds when idling and at highway speeds. Engines get louder with age- if you notice it during the test drive, you’ll notice it even more as time goes on. Keep your ears open for strange sounds and take note of what you’re doing when you hear them. When you hear a weird noise, ask the seller or dealer to explain it. If you don’t like what they say, ask to have it independently inspected.

Push the Car’s Limits

Drive on city streets and on the highway (or any road you can accelerate above 55 MPH). DISCLAIMER: Follow all traffic laws. This isn’t F9, Vin Diesel.

When on city streets, find some stop-and-go traffic. How does the car feel in these conditions? Do the brakes feel sticky or loose? Are the stops smooth or rough? Take several 90 degree turns and note any resistance or difficulty.

If allowed, find a highway. When entering, accelerate quickly. Note how the car feels when accelerating and shifting gears. Confirm that the steering does not shift to either side. Notice the blind spots. Can you confidently switch lanes with clear visibility?

Practice Parking

Parking is just as important as driving. Practice parking the vehicle in a variety of different ways. Can you back in? If you’re driving a larger vehicle like a truck or SUV, confirm that you can park it comfortably in a standard parking spot.

We’re all guilty of avoiding parallel parking like it’s the plague, but it’s important to make sure you’re able to parallel park your car if necessary.

Practicing parking also allows you to test any safety features it may have like parking sensors or a back-up camera.

Ask Questions

The salesperson should be knowledgeable about the vehicle. Put their knowledge to the test. If there’s something you want to know, ask! It’s important to get all the information you need to make an educated decision. There are no stupid questions on a test drive!


At the end of the day, it’s all about your comfort. You want to buy a car that fits your needs and lifestyle. The first step is searching with OneRequest! Want someone else to do the work for you? Use OneRequest Concierge.

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