5-Point Checklist for Test Driving a Vehicle

Don’t worry, because a five point turn is not on the checklist of things to do when test-driving a vehicle. Buying a new or used vehicle can be stressful for people because everyone wants the best possible car of their choice, in the best possible condition, and all within their seemingly-unrealistic budget. This, unfortunately, narrows the list a bit, however, there are smart ways to test out a vehicle in order to ensure you are at least buying a quality asset that is safe and suits your driving needs.

Continue reading to learn five things to look for when you are test driving a car or truck, so that you may better negotiate a deal and make better purchasing decisions.

1. Exterior Appearance

The first place you want to inspect is the exterior of the car or truck. How’s the condition of the paint? Is it shipped, scraped, or faded? What about the condition of the body? Are there dents and scratches on the bumper, fender, or doors? Are there cracks in the windshield? All of these aspects can be used against a seller in the negotiations to get a fairer price.

2. Interior Appearance and Amenities

Next, open the doors and take a look inside. Are the doors squeaky or difficult to open? Do they feel heavy or loose? What about the interior fabric? Is it in good condition? Are there stains, burn holes, ripped carpet, or other similar damages? Is the roof fabric loose and droopy? Are the dashboards in good condition? Is there a spare tire and jack?

3. Under the Hood

Always look is under the hood of the vehicle. Check to see that the engine bay is clean and damage-free. Next, look at the condition of the battery, see that all the proper caps are in place, and inquire whether or not it takes premium or unleaded fuel. Overall, use your common sense to inspect everything under the hood with a glance, and decide if it looks legitimate. If you have concerns about what you see, then you might want to have the vehicle inspected by a licensed mechanic before making any negotiations with the seller.

4. Drivability

Now it’s time to actually see how the car drives. See how the steering wheel turns. Does it pull to the left or right? Take note of how the car feels in drive mode. Is it a smooth ride? Does it feel bumpy? Are the brakes squeaky? Does it take a long time to come to a complete stop? Does the car feel heavy or out of line? All of this can be identifiers of common vehicular maintenance and repair issues. Again, these faults can be used as a negotiations tactic when deciding on a final price.

5. Interior Features

Before getting out of the vehicle and ending your test drive, be sure to check all the amenities and features inside and see that they all work properly. Check the automatic windows, radio, navigation, air vents, sun roof, mirrors, lights, and more. Also take note of the number of cup holders, storage, seating, and more to match these features with the ones on your wish-list.

Hand Car Wash

“Hand Car Wash” is a specialty of the Full-Service and Detail car wash systems. The highly automated car wash gets a personal cleaning touch when employees take a professional hand to shine your car. This personal touch ensures that no part of your car goes unnoticed by the machines and that no tiny particle of dust or slime sticks on to your car. Your car will come out sleek and shiny. Hand washing is a highly specialized and exclusive service that caters to a customer’s personal preferences for a car wash.

Hanna’s Hand Wash system, for example, has employees lined up in the conveyor inside the wash tunnel. When the automobile enters the conveyor, employees use hand-held high pressure wands to prepare the car for the wash and then clean the top and sides of the car. Only the bottom of the car is cleaned by their automated Undercarriage Applicator.

The Ace Hand Car Wash of Huntington Park, California, provides a range of detailing services for specific vehicles and to suit the requirements of individual owners. Their specialized services are highly client oriented and include washing, waxing, buffering, tinting windows, removing stains, and vacuuming carpets.

Services of the Bubbles Car Wash includes their Carpet Shampoo, which airs out carpets and cleans them with special chemicals; Tar and Paint Over Spray Removal, which is a special service that cleans even minute foreign particles on the surface of your vehicles; and half a dozen other specialized services.

Lake Car Wash has four types of hand car wash services, each of which comes with specialized features. Their Deluxe Hand Car Wash, for example, offers vacuuming the interior and dressing tires in addition to hand washing and waxing of the surface and the windows, while their Turbo Hand Wash comes with two coats of waxing, air fresheners, and undercarriage cleaning.

The Westbury Personal Touch hand car wash also has different combinations of car wash services to suit unique customer requirements. Their services include undercarriage washing, hand washing, body glossing and leather conditioning. They charge an average of $15 to $50 per car wash.

What Does the Odd Sound or Smell Coming From My Car Mean?

Your vehicle’s owner’s manual is a useful resource. It includes maintenance schedules, and a comprehensive overview of your vehicle. However, there is information that you need to know about your vehicle that your owner’s manual won’t tell you. Odd sounds or odors coming from your car can be an early sign that something is wrong with you vehicle. Paying close attention to the sounds and smells emitted from your vehicle can help you catch problems early on and fix them before they turn into more costly major maintenance issues.

Odd Smells

* Burning Rubber – The smell of burning rubber is usually the result of pressing the gas while the car breaks are on. Overheated tires are a common cause of the burning rubber smell.

* Fuel – It is somewhat normal to smell fuel if there was an overflow during a fill-up. However, if the smell persists, this could be a sign that your fuel tank vent is clogged.

* Exhaust or Oil – The smell of oil or exhaust could mean several things. There may be too much oil in the engine. If this is the case, simply wait for the excess oil to burn off the engine. If you do not have too much oil, your engine oil could actually be old, and may have started to burn. Your vehicle may be due for an oil change, which should be performed every 3,000 miles. An oil smell may also be the result of an overheated engine.

* Must – Musty odors are usually indicative of excess water trapped in the vehicle. A common location for excess water in a vehicle is the carpet. Even if the carpet appears to be dry, the musty smell tells another story. Perhaps there is water trapped between the floor of the vehicle and the carpet. Left untreated, this excess moisture can cause the vehicle’s floor to corrode, as well as eat away at the carpet. Excess water can also be found in the vehicle’s trunk, which means you will need to clean or replace the damaged trunk floor, and repair the trunk’s lining to keep moisture out.

* Sweat – A sweat-like smell may be emitted from your vehicle when your alternator is going bad. The smell comes from burnt varnish.

* Smoke – If you smell electrical smoke, turn your engine off immediately and disconnect the battery. Open the hood of the car, and call a professional for help. Running a car after you smell electrical smoke can be extremely dangerous. The smell of smoke could also be the result of the inner sound-proof lining near the engine burning. While this is a less dangerous situation than smoke caused by an electrical problem, it can still be dangerous.

Odd Sounds

* Backfiring – If your vehicle backfires during normal driving conditions, you could have a serious problem on your hands. Get your vehicle checked by a professional immediately.

* Changing Engine Sounds – You should be familiar with how your vehicle feels and sounds on the road, including the sound of your engine. A significant change in the way your engine sounds could be a sign that your engine is overheating. Either pull over for a while to let the engine cool down or reduce/vary your speed. If the odd sound continues, check the water and radiator levels after your engine has had an opportunity to cool down.

* Knocking – Knocking sounds coming from the hood of your vehicle are probably coming from the engine. This could mean that you need to shift to a lower gear. If the sound continues, you should get your oil and engine checked.

* Clicking – Clicking sounds from the steering wheel could be the result of faulty bearings. However, this clicking could also be caused by little rocks or other debris that has been caught in the tread pattern.

* Squealing – Squealing is usually an indicator that the fan belt needs to be replaced.

* Clicking – If you hear clicking that comes from the front wheels when you turn the vehicle, you may have a problem with the front shaft. You should have it checked as soon as possible so the shaft doesn’t fall apart, as a repair is usually less expensive than a full replacement.

Custom Car Interiors: Ride in Style

If you are tired of the look on the inside of your car, why not do something about it? It doesn’t take much to make just a few changes so that you car has a different look. There are so many products available for you to update your old car’s interior and having it looking new in now time. Types of custom car interiors range anywhere from, seat covers to carpeting and from the necessities to the extras that make your car unique.

Custom seat covers and car upholstery are the biggest step you can take to change the interior look of your car. You can choose from virtually any color or material. This includes purple velvet for your lowrider and sleek, black leather for your luxury car. You can choose to reupholster your entire interior or just simply cover the seats with a different fabric. Fairly easy to install seat cover kits can be purchased for the “do it yourselfers”.

If your carpets are getting worn out, you have few options to fix this problem. The cheapest option is to purchase floor mats. They cover up the wear and tear and prevent anymore from happening. You can buy custom floor mats in different colors or personalize them with a saying or design. A more expensive option is to have new carpeting installed or to install a molded replacement carpet yourself. They come in just about any coloring imaginable.

Other options outside of the typical seat and floor restorations are available to give your car an even more custom work. Some of these parts include dashboard kits, steering wheels and covers, parking break handles and gauges. Chrome, gold and different color materials help you to personalize your car. Basically, if you can imagine it, you can find it.

So, if you are ready to ride in style, start that interior restoration. Get rid of that worn carpeting, make your seats more inviting, and add some color or metal to your cars interior. Make your car go from tired to exciting in not time flat.