One of the best ways to find out if a car is right for you and your needs is to take it for a test drive. If you buy a car without first taking it for a test drive, you might find that it’s not as good as you thought it would be or that it doesn’t work as well as it should. But you might be curious about how old you have to be to test drive a car
In most states, you have to be 16 years old and have a valid licence to test drive a car. For drivers between the ages of 16 and 18, a parent or guardian may also need to be in the car during the test drive.
Keeping this in mind, the laws will change slightly from state to state and from dealership to dealership. Read on to find out more about some of the other questions you might have about test driving a car.
Age Requirements for Test Driving a Car
What’s the minimum age to test drive a car?
From what I’ve learned, there is no legal age limit as long as you are old enough to drive legally. This means that everyone who gets behind the wheel needs a driver’s licence.
But some dealerships and states have their own rules about how old you have to be to buy a car.
For example, some only let people who are at least 21 years old test drive their cars. Others have lower requirements, such as being 18 or 16 years old, with or without a guardian present.
Can You Test Drive a Car With a Permit?
Most popular car dealerships require us to have a valid driver’s licence in order to take a car for a test drive.
Some dealerships might not care about how old you are and let you test drive a car if you only have a permit. This is common in car lots that sell used cars or have a small number of local customers.
In this case, the driver must have another licenced person in the car with them.
Can a 16-Year-Old Test Drive a Car With a Parent?
In most states, you have to be at least 18 to get a full licence. At 16, you can get a restricted licence, and at 14, you can get a learner’s permit. In Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, and Illinois, this is the case.
In states like North and South Dakota or Idaho, you only have to be 16 or 16.5 to get a full licence.
Even if a young person has a valid driver’s licence, some dealerships don’t trust them to be in their cars alone. This is mostly because of the rules about insurance coverage in their countries.
When you take a test drive, you have to sign a waiver. It says that the insurance company has the right to ask the car’s driver to pay for any damage.
Disclaimers are only legal if they are signed by an adult who is at least 18 years old. If a 16-year-old or younger person signs the document, it is not valid.
General Guidelines for Test Driving a Car
Other things you need to know before a test drive, besides the age and licence requirements, are:
1. Distance Permitted
When you get the go-ahead to take the car for a test drive, you need to find out how far you can go.
Some dealerships give you a set route to take, while others let you choose as long as you stay within a certain distance. This varies from dealership to dealership based on what they want.
2. Do You Need a Company for the Test Drive?
Most dealerships usually insist that a salesperson go with us on the test drive. We can sometimes convince them to let us drive alone if we can make a good case.
If it’s okay for teenagers to have a guardian with them, the dealership can let a family member come with us alone.
Having a salesperson with you is helpful because they can answer any questions you have right away. Some people don’t always like it when sales talk comes up in the middle of a conversation while driving.
In this case, we can ask them to let us drive without making any noise or stopping us.
3. What about Insurance?
Most of the time, insurance is not a problem, especially if we buy the car from a reputable dealer. To keep a record, we only need to give a copy of our driver’s licence. Their insurance covers us completely.
If I’m doing business with a private dealer, it’s very likely that I’ll pay for the insurance. I have to have insurance that covers me and everyone else, not just third parties.
Even though it’s unlikely that I’ll get into an accident on the way, if I don’t have third-party insurance, I might have to pay for any damage to the car.
The best thing to do is to talk to the salesperson about it and find out what they think. Before we go for the test drive, we can also call your insurance company.
4. Look For Faults!
Any car, for sale or not, that the preferred dealership has to offer must pass a full inspection before it can be sold.
Some small damage can also happen to brand-new cars while they are being shipped. Even though there may have been a pre-check, it’s important to be careful.
It’s common to find that all problems are covered by the warranty. But we need to make sure they are taken care of before the final purchase. In the long run, this will save us both time and money.
Check the outside of the car and the wheels in particular for scratches or scuffs. Also, check the driver’s cabin for any smells and signs of wear and tear.
Is It Okay To Test Drive a Car Without Buying?
You can test drive a car even if you don’t plan to buy it. That would be a big commitment, and it would defeat the point of a test drive if you did that.
It’s one way to find out if that particular car meets our needs.
If you have no plans to buy the car, it’s not a good idea to test drive it. You’ll waste the time of a salesperson whose pay is based on commissions.
We can go for a fun drive as long as we return the car in good shape. For us to get permission to drive away in the car, we need a copy of our licence and proof that we are insured.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you test drive a car under 25?
Yes, if you’re under 25, you can take a test drive. Some dealerships let people as young as 16 or 17 buy a car if they are with a parent or guardian.
Can you test drive a Tesla at 18?
There is no age limit for driving a Tesla, but it is clear that you need a driver’s licence. Most Tesla dealerships have a minimum age of 21, but some are fine with people as young as 18.
Tesla lets you keep the car you want for a few days instead of just letting you drive it for a short distance. You must be at least 21 years old to do this.
How old do you have to be to test drive a car at Carmax?
You can take a test drive, just like at most dealerships, if you are at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s licence, and proof that you have insurance.