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How old do you have to be to test drive a car

It’s always been a big dream for many people to have a car of their own. Once they have a car, they can travel anywhere they want, enjoy the scenic beauty without worrying about the dust or the weather. But it’s pretty hard to choose a car that suits you as there are legions of cars on the market right now. Car dealers offer a test drive just to solve this problem but it’s not for everyone. There is an age limit. So how old do you have to be to test drive a car? Let’s stay tuned to find out.

What is a test drive? Why do you need to test drive a car?

Young VIetnamese salesman showing dashboard and explaining automobile characteristics to female customer; Shutterstock ID 1061639969

Before getting to know the answer to the question “How old do you have to be to test drive a car?” You should know what a test drive is. A test drive is an act of driving a car that you are considering buying to see whether you like it or not. In other words, you can see that a test drive is an opportunity for you to find out the answers to all the questions going around inside your head about the car you are about to purchase, like does it run smoothly? Do you feel comfortable while driving it? Or is the advert real? That’s why you need to have a test drive, to make the right and wise decision, to not regret wasting a large sum of money on a vehicle that does not comfort you.

How to test drive a car?

If you are going for a test drive, make sure that you check all following boxes to get the most out of a test drive.

o Make sure you take the car that you want for a test drive.

This is extremely important because some unscrupulous salesmen can give you a different model or version of the car for a test drive, which is not good just to lure you into buying another one which benefits them more.

o Do a thorough research about the car that you purchasing

You need to know inside out about the car that you wish to buy so when you go for a test drive, you will know which function you need to test. In addition, you should consider doing some research about other brands or models in case the test drive does not meet your expectations. It’s always wise to have a back-up plan.

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o Bring your car license along

Most of the dealers require your car license or a copy of it to assure that you actually know how to drive a car. So remember to bring it along to save your time as well as the dealer’s. In some cases, bringing your ID card is an extra requirement to confirm how old you are. It could be said as a double security.

o Take enough time to test your car

Testing a car should not be done in a short amount of time. You need time to know your car well, to see whether it operates properly or not. If possible, it’s advisable to ask your dealer to let you test your car in different routes to check how it runs on different roads. Besides, it’s vital to check the navigation system, air conditioner, radio or Bluetooth connection. Make sure that the equipment is in a perfect condition.

o Inspect the car

You should walk around, check the interior and exterior of the car to make sure that it matches the exact descriptions you were informed about. Any unexpected scratches, dents or rusts may ruin the brand new look of your car.

o Ask your dealer to help understand the car better

Your dealer is supposed to be an expert at cars, so if there is any wonder that you can’t find the answer, you should ask him or her. If you don’t, just ask for more information. The better you know about your car, the more you can take advantage of it.

o Take an adult with you on the test-drive day

According to my experience, many people who seek the answer to the question ‘How old do you have to be to be eligible to test drive a car?’ are young and inexperienced. So it’s a smart move to have an adult coming with you so he/she can help you avoid being tricked when the salesman or dealer might try to fool you.

How old do you have to be to test drive a car?

Now let’s get to the main part. When you legally get a driver’s license, you are considered to be old enough to test drive a car. And the age you need to reach to achieve a driver’s license depends on which state you are living in.

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Most states naming Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Georgia and a few more states require you to be at least 18 to have a full license. If you are 16, you’ll have a restricted license which means that you are allowed to drive at specific time and places. A learner’s permit could be given to you when you’re 14.

However, it’s a little bit more relent in states like Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, etc. as you can get a full license when you’re 16.

In case you don’t have a driver’s license, you can still test drive a car if you meet the dealer’s age requirement. Some say that you have to be 21 to be eligible to test drive a car but some only require you to be 18 or even 16 to have a test drive.

Can you test drive a car with a permit?

Can you test drive a car with a permit

Well the answer to this question depends on your dealer or more accurately, the policy that he or she has to obey. If there is a term where you can test drive with a permit, then you absolutely can but there is no such thing, the answer will be a No.

In case of damages during test driving, who would pay for them?

In case of damages during test driving, who would pay for them

This is the question that many people also ask along with “How old do you have to be to test drive a car?” if there were damages cropping up while test driving, you – the driver would take the responsibility as you are the one behind the wheel and steer the car. We have been in some situations where my clients refused to pay for the damages as they claimed that they had not bought it yet. But the fact is the responsibility over the car is temporarily transferred to the driver the moment he or she goes for a test drive.

Author’s view

That’s our answer to the question “How old do you have to be to test drive a car?” We hope that the extra information that we provide along with the answer is useful to you. And personally, we highly recommend that you test drive a car before buying it not only because that you are allowed to do it but also because it’s a chance to test “your buddy” to see whether “he/she” ,whatever you may call, is a trustworthy one or not.

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Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate, leave a comment and we will give you the quickest response.


Is test driving free?

Yes, it’s completely free of charge. But you should go for a test drive only if you are affordable to buy a car as the salesman or the dealer will try his or her best to make sure that you buy the car the moment the test drive is over.

Is it ok to test drive a car for fun without the intention of buying one?

It’s okay but it will annoy the salesman or the dealer as you are supposed to have the intention of buying a car when you go in for a test drive. He or she may see it as a total waste of time or even a fraud as you do not mention that you do not intend to buy a car in the first place.

Can a 16 year-old test drive a car with a parent?

Yes but you are only allowed to sit in the passenger seat while your father or mother drives. But if the dealer thinks that 16 is old enough to test drive a car then you can do it on your own, with or without a parent.

Can you test drive a car alone?

In most cases, there is a companion going with you on a test drive not only to serve the safety and security purposes but also to help you understand the car’s features while test driving. Or he or she can be your witness that it’s not your fault if something bad happens to the car while you’re test driving. However if you insist, you may probably have the permission to test drive alone.

How far can you go for a test drive?

Well, it depends on the dealer too. Normally, there are restrictions on how far you can test drive and you’ll have to abide by them. But if your dealer is nice and friendly, it’s likely that you can test drive for farther distances.

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