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How Old Do You Have to be To Test Drive a Car? How to Make the Most Out of a Test Drive?

Many young people, particularly adolescents, are concerned that a car dealership will refuse their request to take a vehicle out for a test drive. There are certain prerequisites that must be met in order to take a test drive of a vehicle, but you must also show proper deference to the decision made by the dealership regarding whether or not to grant your request.

What is the minimum age requirement to take a test drive of a car? We will discuss “how old do you have to be to test drive a car” in detail in this article.

The Legal Requirement

You need to be in compliance with local driving laws before you can take a car out for a test drive at a dealership. This indicates that in order to operate a motor vehicle in your state, you will be required to possess a valid driver’s license. To get a driver’s license in the majority of states, the minimum age required is sixteen years old.

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

Even if a driver’s license may be obtained at the age of 16 in the majority of states, this license will not be a complete provisional license. Because you have not been in possession of a license that allows you to drive without restrictions, this is perhaps something that the dealership that you go to will take into consideration.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Test Drive a Car? Can A Dealership Deny You?

Even if you are 16 years old and hold a driver’s license, this does not guarantee that you will instantly be permitted to test drive a car. There are additional requirements that must be met before you may take a test drive. When it comes to deciding whether or not they will let you test drive a car, the dealership has the last say. Due to the fact that you are so young, they have the right to refuse to let you drive any of the cars on the lot since they are their property. If you are at least 18 years old, the majority of car dealerships will let you test drive a vehicle of your choice.

How Can You Test Drive a Car If You are 16?

Have a parent/ guardian with you

If you have recently gotten your driver’s license and you would like to test drive a vehicle, you will probably be able to do so as long as a parent or guardian is in the passenger seat with you. This instills confidence in the dealership that you are there with a buying intent and are not there to fool around.


When you engage in conversation with a salesperson and demonstrate that you are knowledgeable on the subject at hand, you will give him a reason to trust you. If you simply show up and say that you want to drive a car for no other reason than to drive it, they will probably refuse your request.

Show the intent to buy

Customers are given the opportunity to take the vehicle they are interested in for a test drive so that they can base their ultimate purchase decision on how well the vehicle performs. If you go to a dealership with the intention of simply tooling around the lot and having a good time, you aren’t there for the right reasons, and you’ll probably be rejected.

How to Get The Most Out of a Test Drive?

The purchase of an automobile is a significant life choice for the majority of us, particularly for adolescents for their first vehicle.

You may evaluate the vehicle’s suitability for your requirements by giving it a test drive. When you go to the dealership, be sure to ask to take a test drive in the vehicle that you are interested in purchasing.

Before you take your car out for a test drive, here are a few things you should check:

Test drive the vehicle

Call the dealership ahead of time and discuss with the salesperson whatever model you are interested in test driving. Not just any standard model, but the one and only. Do not give in to his persuasion and buy into his sales pitch.

Educate yourself

Do some research on the make and model of the car you want to buy. Create a list, but remain open to the various possibilities. Select a few viable options based on the available funds and the desired capabilities.

Copy of your driving license

Before you may do a test drive, the dealer will need to make a photocopy of your driver’s license. Even if they have a photocopy, you still need to bring in a copy of your driver’s license. Also, make sure you acquire the license copy once you’ve driven.

Choose your route

Drive-by demonstrations might go for up to an hour or perhaps longer. Utilize your time as effectively as possible. Do not attempt to speed up the procedure. Check how the vehicle performs on a variety of conditions, including busy streets, freeways, and rough back roads. Put it through its paces and check that it reacts as it should at each stage.

Is it Comfortable?

How pleasant is the ride in the car? Spending money on something that is neither handy nor satisfies your needs is a waste of time and money. Be careful to inspect the seat designated for the driver. Are you able to make adjustments to it without too much of a struggle? Check that the rearview mirror and the dashboard are not too difficult to access. Examine the visors and the glove box to see whether they can be opened and shut without any difficulty.

How spacious is it?

Make sure there is enough space in the automobile. You shouldn’t have to force your body into awkward positions or bump your head while entering or exiting the vehicle. How much space is there in the storage? Can you fit all your necessities?

Understand the car

Do you have an understanding of the gauges and displays that are located on the dashboard? What about the stereo system, the Bluetooth, and the navigation system? You should be sure to ask the salesman to explain everything to you, and you should also examine the items on your own.

Inspect the car

Especially if it is a used automobile, you should go all the way around it and make a mental note of anything that seems out of place. The price may also be affected by imperfections like dents, corrosion, and scratches.

Bring in an adult

If you are a teenager, it is imperative that you bring a friend or an adult with you who is knowledgeable about automobiles. The commission that the salesman works for is his primary motivation, and he will do whatever it takes to make a sale to you. An adult would be aware of what to look for and would be able to see through the marketing spiel.

What to Look For in a Test Drive?

Do not allow somebody to take advantage of your age and get you into anything for which you are not prepared. Therefore, when you go for a test drive, rely on your intuition and try not to get distracted by the sales pitch they give you.

During the test drive, pay close attention to how the vehicle feels to you as you drive it. The effortlessness of the ride, the soothing hum of the engine, the firmness of the steering wheel in your hands, and the responsiveness of the brakes beneath your feet.

These are the things that will suggest to you whether or not you and the automobile are in sync with one another:


The steering should be able to adjust freely according to your preferences and there should be no vibration. On city streets, heavy steering may be annoying and difficult to handle, while weak steering might make it difficult to keep the vehicle under control.


If your brakes are functioning properly, you should feel comfortable driving the automobile on the highway. How quickly does the brake start to work? It should come to a halt swiftly while remaining smooth. Take careful note of how the brakes react when you use them.


What kind of driving style do you prefer, manual or automatic? Automatic transmission is the way to go for first-time car buyers. Keep a close watch on how the gears behave going up and coming down hills, as well as how easily they change. Is it possible to change gears in a manual transmission vehicle without the gears grinding against one another?


How well does your automobile handle the bumps while driving on the road? You should feel the bumps very lightly at most. Additionally, keep an ear out for any rattling noises that may be coming from the suspension.


How difficult is it to maneuver your vehicle when there is heavy traffic? Is it able to manage quick shifting and changing lanes with relative ease? This should give you a good notion of how it responds to acceleration.


Be careful to do a pre-drive inspection of the engine, as well as a post-drive inspection when you get back. At first, it should be cold. When you are out on the road, be on the lookout for any smoke coming from the engine bay. You shouldn’t hear any sounds coming from the engine either.

The Bottom Line

You must be 18 years old, or the age at which you will become fully licensed, to test drive a car. The majority of states set it at 18, although some go as low as 17. That is up to the particular car dealership.

It is best to take an adult with you to a particular car dealership. It is ultimately up to the discretion of the dealership to allow you to drive. However, the responsible adult can take you for a drive in it.

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