How Old Do You Have To Be To Test Drive A Car? (Find Out the Age Requirements for Test Driving!)

Last Updated on January 14, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

In general, you have to be at least 18 years old to test drive a car. However, the actual age restriction mostly depends on the state where you live as well as on the dealership.

Key Takeaways

  • While test-driving a car, the dealership might ask for a valid driving license and without a driver’s license they might not allow you to test-drive their car
  • You should contact the dealership or car salesperson to find out their age restriction and whether it is mandatory to bring/have a driver’s license while test driving
  • Whether you can test drive alone completely depends on the dealership, many dealerships will permit you to test drive new cars on your own while others might not
  • You should keep in mind that while test-driving you can’t ignore the instructions of the distributors/dealerships

Tips For A Test Drive

Meeting The Minimum AgeThe minimum age for driving a vehicle without adult supervision is 18 years old
Adult SupervisionSome 17-year-olds can take a test drive with adult supervision
Good Driving Skills
A good level of driving is necessary since it is a vehicle that does not belong to the driver
Driving Through A Pre-Established RouteThe route pre-established by the dealer must be respected in the test drive
Driving A Vehicle You Want To Buy A test drive should not be done just for fun, but if you want to buy a car 

Can You Test Drive A Car On Your Own?

One of the best parts of buying a vehicle is the test drive. This is the ideal time to get the most out of a car before you buy it. Many people want to do this so they can make a concrete decision as to whether they want to buy that vehicle or prefer to see others instead.

Beyond that, it is necessary to keep in mind that the test drive should be done in a certain way. In particular, certain things cannot be done or are simply bad ideas. Even in many cases, the driver may cause embarrassment or anger on the part of the dealership’s salespeople. This is why we can mention the most important points to avoid in a test drive.

1. Avoid Driving Only In An Unknown Area

If there is something that is a bad idea it is to choose an unknown area to test a vehicle. Of course, most of the time an employee or the salesman himself will pretend to accompany the person doing the test drive. However, this procedure is not done in the same way in all the dealerships that exist today.

In many other cases, dealers simply allow drivers to take the test to drive themselves. Of course, this can be much more convenient as it provides greater freedom for the drivers. A third case is that a combination of the two forms above is performed. Either way, it is necessary to consider a known area to perform a driving test. 

When the driver has to drive through an unknown area, it is recommended that an employee also goes on the driving test. The driver can request an employee to accompany him/her to avoid the inconveniences of an unknown area. In this way, panic and chaos can be avoided next to a car that does not yet belong to the driver. 

If the driver decides to take the test drive for a long distance, he must know the exact route. This of course inhabits a lot of problems that can happen in an unknown area.

2. Avoid Driving With Music Or The Radio On

Both the music and the radio are important factors that can diminish the driver’s attention. It is highly recommended that all auditory or visual distractions be reduced during the test drive. This way, it will be much easier to enjoy and learn the specific behavior of the car being tested.

Conversely, it will be much more difficult to detect possible drawbacks or engine sounds with music or the radio on full blast. In particular, it is highly recommended to turn off the music and radio when selling a used car. In these cases, the dealer’s salesperson will have no problem if you decide to turn on the music or radio.

If the car is inconvenient for the dealership employee, it is in your best interest not to notice the possible problems. On the other hand, the dealer person accompanying the driver will want to talk about the vehicle. So, it’s just rude to avoid conversation with music that’s too loud. In other words, the test drive should be just that and not a ride.

3. Avoiding Food And Drink During The Test Drive

Of course, this point should be somewhat obvious, although we should mention it anyway. Even eating or drinking something during a test drive is as dangerous as doing it with any other vehicle. Auto safety experts always point out what to do to reduce the number of distractions that compromise driver safety.

When drinking or eating something, the driver should pay attention to the driving of the vehicle as well as the food or drink. Thus, total attention is divided between these two actions. In particular, this drastically reduces the driver’s ability to drive, even though the person is not noticing it.

In turn, if you have eaten or drunk before taking the test drive, you should wash your hands. You can make a very bad impression if your fingers are dirty or sticky.

It is necessary to remember that this is a vehicle that does not yet belong to the driver. Therefore, the test drive should not be a ride but a way to get to know the vehicle before you buy it. 

4. Don’t Ignore The Instructions Of The Distributors

At the time a dealer employee accompanies the driver to perform the test drive, there may be a pre-established route. If the driver decides to choose another route, this must be agreed upon in advance with the dealership. If no alternative route has been established, then the driver should pay attention to the route indicated by the dealership employee.

In any case, it is necessary to express just in time when the driver decides to choose an alternative route to the one indicated by the employee. Also, simply ignoring the employee’s instructions can not only be very annoying but also detrimental to obtaining the vehicle. Sometimes the situation can be worse than just a nuisance.

In the worst-case scenario, the dealership employee could interpret that as the driver of the dealership stealing the vehicle. Regardless of whether the situation becomes clearer later or not, this leaves a very bad impression on the dealership employees. As such, they may decide not to sell the vehicle to the driver who has ignored the instructions without reason.

5. Don’t Go Shopping During The Test Drive

Once again, we must mention that this is not a car that is being used for a ride. On the contrary, it is strictly a test drive. Therefore, you cannot use a car for a test drive to do your shopping. Here the people at the dealership can easily get too upset, as this is not established.

Here, it is advisable to carry a large bag or other similar objects to be able to evaluate the space available for a car. This is also highly recommended as an analysis of one of the most important aspects of any vehicle. Beyond that, it should not be a very heavy object or something that dirties the interior of the car.

6. Avoid Driving Too Long A Distance

There are different criteria regarding time and distance during a driving test. However, it is highly recommended to avoid driving over too long a distance. It is necessary to take into account that for a long-distance trip is not necessary to know the behavior and efficiency of a vehicle you want to buy.

As such, people at the dealership may be too upset if they find out that the driver has added 500 miles or more on a simple test drive. In particular, it is recommended that you drive a relatively short distance. If time is a factor, it is recommended that you take a test drive for one hour as a limit. This will be more than enough time to get to know a new vehicle. 

7. Avoid Asking For A Test Drive With A Bad Appearance

The appearance of any person is the letter of introduction in any social situation. So, those people who are misaligned or have not bathed for a while easily look bad. This can simply result in a rejection by the dealership when the driver requests a test drive.

A bad appearance can easily lead to a much more uncomfortable negotiation. Conversely, a great appearance makes the test drive easier and the negotiations more attractive. That’s why it’s always recommended to look good for a test drive, and in fact to do anything at all.

8. Don’t Drive Rough

Last but not least, it is highly recommended to avoid making turns with the hand brake and other similar things in rough driving. Of course, this can be a very amazing and attractive thing when it comes to friends or colleagues. However, this is highly unpleasant when it comes to a test drive.

Even if the driver has performed the test drive alone, turns with the handbrake can be easily detected. The evidence is often found in excessive wear on the rear tires. When this is detected, the negotiations can simply be canceled for good.