Test Driving Used Cars: A Guide For Auto Mechanic College Students

Buying a car is a big event that will afford the buyer new and exciting opportunities. At the same time, purchasing a used car requires a little more attention. It involves finding a reputable seller, asking the right questions, and looking out for those minute details that make the difference between a reliable and unreliable purchase. Test driving a used car is a process, and it’s important not to rush it. Before even setting foot in the car, there are steps to take in ensuring the condition, quality, and value of the car. 

If you’re currently studying for an auto mechanic career, read on to find out the best method for test driving a used car. With the right knowledge, you can offer your clients well-informed recommendations.

Perform a Prior Inspection With an Automotive Mechanic

A mechanic asked to check out a used car for a client should be sure to perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s interior and exterior condition while it’s parked. Check the paint job on all the panels to ensure even painting, and to make sure there’s no overspray on any of the trim. Uneven painting could be a sign of poorly repaired collision damage. Rust, mold, and mildew are other warning substances to look out for on a vehicle, which may indicate water is leaking into the car. It’s important to not only look at the exterior of the car but to get into the nitty gritty parts. Specifically, take a look at the engine for any sign of leaking fluids, such as oil or coolant dripping. 

An automotive mechanic should be able to answer any specific questions the client has about the features and functions of a model, and guide the customer through the vehicle inspection. 

Automotive pros have the know-how to perform a thorough inspection of used cars

Pay Attention When Firing It Up 

When it’s time to test drive the car, it’s a good idea to open the hood of the vehicle before starting the car. First and foremost, listen for any strange sounds. Take a look at the back of the car to check if smoke is coming from the exhaust. If a normal thin layer doesn’t appear shortly after starting the engine, it could be an indication that the car is burning oil. Also, pay attention to the air coming through the vents inside the car for hazardous smells, particularly gasoline and exhaust fumes. Pros with auto mechanic college training backgrounds will be familiar with the typical warning signs of a faulty vehicle, and should be able to identify the root cause. 

Pay attention to any strange sounds or smells coming from the vehicle

Take the Used Car for a Spin

Now comes the action! Remember that test driving a used car is different to driving a car normally. It’s important to perform a checklist of different driving techniques, and make sure to test all of them in order to reveal any potential issues. 

If possible, take a varied and extensive route that allows the driver to test both right and left turns, gear shifting, acceleration on the freeway, and sudden braking. Driving over bumps is a great way to bring any issues to the surface. If there’s a lot of crashing or thumping noises when going over bumps, the suspension could be acting up. When driving, also pay attention to the sensations of the steering wheel by holding it loosely and ensuring that it doesn’t have a strong pull in one direction. 

Ready to start your training at mechanic school in Vancouver?

Contact ATC Surrey to learn more about their available programs. 


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