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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

Test Driving – A Crucial Step for Vehicle Buyers

Dec 16

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Friday, December 16, 2016  RssIcon

Whether shopping for a vehicle privately or from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer, consumers should take steps to protect themselves; and one of the key steps is to take a thorough test drive.

In many instances, taking a short drive around the block or a quick spin in the parking lot just won’t cut it. To get the most out of a test drive, OMVIC suggests consumers follow these tips:

Test Drive

  • Don’t hesitate to take the vehicle on the highway; see how it handles at regular highway speeds
  • Does it accelerate smoothly?
  • Is the steering crisp or does it wander?
  • Pay attention to how the transmission shifts at different speeds.
  • Find a safe and quiet location and test the brakes.
  • How does the suspension handle road imperfections?

test drive jason


Consider the time of day for the test drive; an 8:00am or 6:00pm test drive (depending on where you are located) may seem like a good idea, but remember getting to highway speeds may be difficult in rush hour traffic. During the day it is also easier to notice:

  • Scratches
  • Dents
  • Paint imperfections
  • Possible body work

test drive daylight

Mechanical Inspection

After taking the vehicle on a thorough test drive – if you’re still not confident with your assessment of the vehicle’s condition, take it to a licenced mechanic to identify problems or issues that the seller hasn’t disclosed, or may not even know about. This is most important when buying from a private seller as there is no requirement for them to disclose needed repairs to major components, or information about a vehicle’s past use or history. Dealers are required to make these disclosures.

Taking a thorough test drive is an essential part of the car buying process. Remember, when purchasing privately, use extra caution. Private purchasers are not protected by OMVIC nor are they protected by Ontario’s consumer protection legislation. Those protections only apply when consumers purchase from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer. So when buying a car privately, consumers must learn to protect themselves; and a key step is to take a comprehensive test drive. For more car buying tips, visit

Test drive


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