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AIBU (or reckless) to buy a second hand car without test driving it?

(9 Posts)
FaintlyBaffled Wed 12-Apr-17 06:28:17

Both DH and I are totally non- mechanical when it comes to cars. The car we are looking at is AA checked, comes with six months warranty and comes from a well known garage.
In the past I've never occasionally test driven before buying, on the basis that so long as it starts and stops when I want it to, and it doesn't sound like a bag of nails then that's as good as it's going to get. To date I've never come a serious cropper using this method <touches wood> and I've bought at least three cars without even seeing them in the flesh first.
When I mentioned this to (an equally un-mechanical) friend however, they were literally scandalised that I would consider such recklessness hmm Given that I'm not generally known for my reckless streak I wonder if she has a point? I'm really starting to doubt myself at this point grin

Iamastonished Wed 12-Apr-17 06:42:14

Why wouldn't you?

I'm not at all mechanic minded, but I still want to know how a car feels. Last time I changed my car I test drove three different ones. I didn't care for the first two, but loved the third one, which I am still driving three years later.

You wouldn't buy shoes without trying them on first and, given that a car costs a lot more than a pair of shoes, I'm surprised that you wouldn't try the car first.

Also, garages are not known for their honesty, and some mechanical faults aren't apparent until you drive the car. If something was wrong with it, legally you might not have a leg to stand on if you didn't test drive it before buying. I think you are being rather naive.

wittyUserNameHere Wed 12-Apr-17 07:01:20

I think there are different levels of AA checks but having checked this part out and them giving it a thorough all clear (and checking MOT advisories, service history etc) I may well. I'm fairly technically minded. I can name parts of engines and have a guess as to an issue if there is one. I can give useful feedback to a garage but would be unlikely to be able to actually fix a problem. I'd know if something was wrong during a test drive but wouldn't have the AA (or other) expertise to have an educated guess as to future work.

Having said that, I would want to see it and I would want to have driven a same or similar model. For example, I had always wanted a Porsche but when I test drove one, it left me cold and the driving position was terrible. You may not be looking for the emotional aspect but you should certainly sit in it, see if it's comfortable, you like the visibility, driving position, controls etc.

UrethaFranklin Wed 12-Apr-17 07:33:53

Im with you on this one OP. I've been driving 30 years and have never test driven any if my cars, new or second hand ones. In fact the one I've got now was bought without me even seeing it first (it was a particular make and model that i had decided i wanted).

RitzyMcFee Wed 12-Apr-17 07:40:55

I know just what you mean. We wouldn't be able to tell if a car was crap or not by test driving it.

However, the last car we bought I ended up hating driving. I didn't know that was a thing before!

00100001 Wed 12-Apr-17 07:42:44

I'd drive it before buying it.

Just like I'd have a look around a house.
Or sit on a Sofa or try On a pair of jeans.

nocake Wed 12-Apr-17 07:47:21

We bought our last car without test driving it. It was from a reliable source (a franchised dealer) and was only a few years old. They wouldn't have been selling anything rubbish because of their reputation so I knew it would be ok.

FaintlyBaffled Wed 12-Apr-17 07:57:50

I see I'm not in the minority then!
TBH I would test drive it as we will be at the garage anyway. Unfortunately my driving licence is currently at DVLA so they won't allow me to.
Neither DH or I are at all bothered by this so it's a relief to hear the world is populated by other equally irresponsible adults grin

jmh740 Wed 12-Apr-17 11:03:12

I wouldn't buy a car without test driving it. I had a job once in a children's home where I had to drive children around in the work car. I'm 5'10 so not a giant but my knees touched the steering wheel and I was never comfortable in it. Oh bought a new (second hand car) he test drove it it was fine for him when I had to go out in it once after he had had it a few months I couldn't get the thing in gear.

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