Buying a car is one of those big decisions that you shouldn’t take lightly. The reason being that it’s not cheap or easy to rectify the situation of you get it wrong the first time — and by that I mean getting the wrong car for you.
This is why you make a short list of cars that fit your needs and lifestyle, weigh out the pros and cons, then head off to test drive them from the dealer. Unfortunately, as with most dealers, test drives only last around 10 minutes. It’s not exactly the best way to get to know the full specs of your big ticket purchase.
One way for you to get around the 10 minute test drive is to rent the car or cars you want to purchase. Let’s say, for example, that you’ll be spending the long weekend at Melbourne. You can book a Melbourne Airport rent-a-car and drive around through your holiday to get a feel for whether or not the vehicle is a fit for you.
Depending on the size, make, and model of the car you’ll be renting, you can hire a car in Australia for as low as $22 per day (for compact cars) or as high as $70 per day (for 8 seaters). You can even rent utes and trucks if commercial vehicles are what you need to purchase.
Most rental companies are trained to tell you that they can’t guarantee a specific model for reservation. You’ll typically hear something like “We have a (insert car model here) or similar“. While not all rental companies will allow this, some say that you should call the local office direct and not the toll free number to ask if the vehicle you’re interested in is available on a given day. This doesn’t always work, however there’s no harm in trying for a test drive of the vehicle you want to purchase, and possibly cheaper rates.
More Than Going for a Spin
If you’ve ever driven a car before, it should be fairly simple for you to know if the gas, breaks, shifts, and the rest of the car performance feels right for you. But before you even turn the key and stomp down through the pedals, walk around the vehicle, sit on the driver’s seat and check for features that you may find inconvenient in the long run. Things like not enough storage cubies, a shallow cup holder, a side mirror that’s too small , or other seemingly minute things can turn incredibly irritating and stressful with day-to-day use.
Check all the doors. Are they easy to open and close? Are they large enough for both your regular hitchers and large boxes etc? Is there ample space for you to install a child seat in the rear seats? If not, are they adjustable, comfortable, and do they fold for larger cargo?
Are all of the vehicle’s safety features intact? Check all of the airbags, safety cameras, seatbelts, child lock mechanisms, etc. In fact, bring your children (or your nieces/nephews) and let them fiddle with the controls in the backseat. It’s a great way to test if they child lock and protection features will work. If a toddler can open a window by just fiddling with a few buttons, it may not be the safest car for you.
Check the car’s maintenance procedures. Does it require special care with specific parts every so often? What are the towing features and capacities (especially for larger vehicles). You want to make sure that things like these are as convenient as possible so you don’t end up not disregarding care for your car. Good luck!