Tips for the Savvy Seller: How to Conduct a Used Car Test Drive

By: Kat Saks July 28, 2012
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If you're selling a car, most prospective buyers will want to take the car for a test drive.

Unlike traditional auto sales, during which a dealer handles test drives every day, putting a stranger behind the wheel of your personal car might seem daunting at first.

Follow these simple tips to help you hand over your keys with ease as you work toward selling your car.

Meet and Greet Prospective Used Car Buyers

When you sell a used car, your potential buyer might be a total stranger. Keep the meeting safe and friendly by taking a few easy steps:

  • Remove any valuables from your car before the meeting.
  • Meet on neutral turf. Rather than meeting at your house or the potential buyer's home, find a well-lit, public meeting spot.
  • Bring a buddy. Ask a friend or family member to tag along for the test drive. You'll feel more secure knowing you aren't alone.
  • Give your friends and family a heads up. If you have to meet the potential buyer alone, be sure your loved ones know the details of your meeting plans.

Set the Test Drive Road Rules

Establish some ground rules before the buyer gets behind the wheel. Especially if the buyer requests an opportunity to drive your car solo, you'll want some assurance that your car will return safe and sound.

  • Get a copy of the potential buyer's drivers license. If you can't get a photocopy, write down the buyer's driver's license number, address, and phone number.
  • Agree on a route that allows the buyer to test drive your car on local roads as well as the highway.
  • Set a curfew. A buyer might want to spend up to thirty minutes test driving a used car. Be clear about when and where you expect your car returned and, if you allow the buyer to drive alone, consider setting a shorter test drive time.
  • Confirm your auto insurance coverage. Most car insurance policies account for others driving your vehicle. Double check your policy details before you begin a test drive.

Take the Used Car for a Spin

After you chat with your prospective buyer and establish any necessary rules, invite him to take the car for a test drive. Hop in the passenger seat for the ride! When you accompany your potential buyer, you'll feel more comfortable letting him take the wheel.

You'll also have more time to answer his questions and point out your favorite features about the car. With the buyer buckled in, you'll have a captive audience for your sales pitch.

Close the Deal On the Car for Sale

After the test drive, if the buyer is still interested in purchasing your car, and negotiate the price and any conditions. If the buyer cuts you a check immediately, keep his driver's license number and contact information on file until the check clears.

Have you ever conducted a test drive on a used car? What's your experience? Share your tips in the comments section below.

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