Last Updated on October 18, 2022 by Bernard Juchli
It is okay to want to know how to test drive a car without buying it. With this article, you will find out the tips to walk into a car dealership, point to a vehicle, and take it out for a test drive with no buying intentions or insurance.
You can go to a dealership just to test drive a car without buying it. However, you need not inform the dealership that you would be visiting for a test drive.
A dealership will not deny you a test drive, especially if you give the impression that you will buy the car. And if you can’t put up a convincing impression, the salesman may excuse you.
It is perfectly okay to test drive a car without buying or an insurance. Regarding insurance, you would be responsible for the cosequences if you get into an accident during test drive.
Is It Ok to Test Drive a Car Without Buying?
It is okay to test drive a car for fun or without buying, only if you plan on acquiring the car later. On second thought, it is not okay to test drive a car without buying it because the salesman is on commission, and he hopes you purchase the car for his gain.
You can test drive cars for fun, but you would want to ensure that you return the car in one piece. It may be wrong to test drive a car with no intentions to buy, and unlawful to test drive without insurance. You also get to waste an innocent salesman’s hopes to sell for a commission.
The dealership, on the other hand, bought an inventory that depreciates. So, they pay for maintenance to keep the inventory appealing.
How to Test Drive a Car Without Buying It
In this section, I will disclose how you can get a car for a test drive without buying. Below are the steps regarding how to test drive a car without buying it:
Decide on the Dealership and Routes
To test drive a car without buying, decide on the dealership to contact for a test drive. Also, decide on the car you wish to test drive or wait until you arrive at the dealership.
Use the search engine to find dealerships near you. You might be lucky to discover dealerships with active free test drive programs. Or, use the automakers’ site for dealership listings alongside their contact addresses and phone numbers. You may have to enter your zip code for information regarding the nearest dealership.
After deciding on the dealership and probably the vehicle to test drive, plan your routes. A salesman may allow up to 30 minutes test drive and more; you should also ask to test drive without a salesman. Lastly, know the places you will visit with the car; it could be to surprise friends, pick lovers for dinner, joyride, etc.
Develop a Game Plan
Regarding how to test drive a car without buying it, you require a game plan against the dealership and their trickery. For instance, when you walk in, you could say, “I want to test drive a Lexus NX.”
The salesman may reply, “do you want the car today?” But you must not give a direct answer such as yes or no. Simply say to the salesman, “I want to be convinced that the Lexus NX is worth my consideration, recommendation, and money.”
You may also tell the salesman that you will consider test driving a few more cars for better judgment. And, of course, you will not test drive any other car.
After the test drive, the salesman will say that he is confident that you love the car. He will, of course, provide you with more reasons why you should buy the car as a college student or non-student.
You will say, “I am grateful for the time we have had together for today. However, I am yet to decide on a car to buy. And I will definitely return to bargain with your dealership.”
Don’t Inform the Dealership of a Test Drive
Regarding how to test drive a car without buying it, I advise against informing the dealership beforehand that you would be visiting for a test drive.
Though the dealership will not decline the request, they would want to employ investigative measures to ascertain whether you can afford the car. Since you do not want the dealership to uncover your plan to test drive without buying, you need no appointment with them.
Simply, decide on the stores to visit, grab your notebook, and get to the store.
Get Photocopies of Drivers License and Insurance Proof
You need photocopies of your drivers license and insurance proof before the dealership will allow you to leave with their car. The salesperson will ask to hold your drivers license and proof of insurance before allowing you to test drive the car.
Though it is important for the dealership to hold your drivers license and proof of insurance, you must not issue the originals. They might misplace the drivers license and proof of insurance just before you return from the test drive.
By issuing the photocopies to the dealership, you need not worry about them misplacing the documents. Moreover, when you return from test driving with no intention to buy, you do not have to wait at the dealership. When you return the car, inspections would be carried out, especially if you had the test drive without a salesperson.
Conceal Your Identity
You should visit the store well-dressed; a higher percentage of automobile salesmen judge by appearance. When you arrive at the store, take a few minutes to go around and inspect cars in the new vehicle inventory. Study the manufacturer stickers on the window and compare the colors.
While checking out the cars, jot down key information, suggested retail prices of the base vehicle, model number, content of the car, and prices of optional vehicle equipment. You should further note the destination charge and relevant information regarding other accessories.
Vehicle manufacturers ship cars with different configurations to various locations. So, you should take time to study how an automaker configures its cars for your region.
Don’t Issue Your Credit Report
Upon your request for a test drive, the salesman will ask for your credit report. It is an attempt to verify whether your financial record can afford the car. The dealership also needs the credit report to make a copy of it and issue it to their insurer.
While you must provide identifying information to buy a car for more than $10,000 in cash, a dealer is not allowed to run a credit report if they are not using dealership financing.
Since the law favors you to decide when to issue your credit report, tell the salesman you do not want to present your credit report. Certainly, the salesman will not excuse you because he/she is unsure whether they are dealing with a potential buyer.
If the dealership insists that you must present your credit report to take the car for a test drive, walk away. Before walking away, say to the salesperson, “thanks for providing me with a concrete reason not to purchase a car with this dealership.”
After this statement, leave the dealership even if they ask you to take the car for a test drive.
Don’t Accept a Trade-In
If you arrive at the store in your car, the salesman may ask whether you would prefer a trade in. To avoid delays, tell the salesman that you do not want trade in. If you lie that you want a trade in, you ruin your chances to test drive a car without it.
A trade-in will further subject your plan to delays because the dealership will take time to evaluate your car.
Play with the Salesman’s Intelligence
Still, on how to test drive a car without buying it, you could play with the salesman intelligence to take a car out for a test drive without buying. Make the salesman believe that you earn a huge amount of money.
When the salesman is convinced that you are rich, he/she will recommend an even expensive car. You will say, “Really? Because I am wealthy, you are recommending a $100K vehicle?” Now, tell the salesperson that you would prefer the initial car you had in mind.
Since you are opting for a cheaper dream car (about $60K) over an expensive counterpart, the salesperson will immediately hand you the car keys.
Inspect the interiors and exteriors, and get ready for a joyride with no intentions to buy the car.
Request a Test Drive Without Salesperson
Do you know how to test drive a car without the salesman? Well, it is simple, and you require no brain-racking ideas to get approval to test drive without a salesperson.
While in the car, tell the salesman that you want to test drive alone to make your observations without external influence.
The salesman will reply that the dealership does not usually allow people to test drive alone in an expensive car. He/she will excuse you to discuss with the supervisor regarding your request to test drive alone.
Since the salesman is after their huge commission and not primarily to sell to you, your request will be granted. You will, of course, be charged not to stuff the car while having fun. Go ahead and cruise around the city and the nearest neighborhoods.
You might even be lucky that the dealership allows you to keep the car overnight. Yes, some dealerships allow potential buyers to keep the vehicle overnight to test how it fits the garage and other conditions of their environment.
Before You Leave the Dealership
After the test drive, do not disclose to the salesman that you only needed a test drive without buying the car. Instead, engage the salesman in a conversation for a few minutes. Ask him/her of their opinion on the car, and how much they recommend the car to people. Of course, the salesman would render positive reviews with hopes to sell for a commission.
Thank the salesman, request their business card, and tell them that you will get back to the dealership when you decide whether to lease or buy the car. The salesman might feel disappointed, but you are leaving them with hopes that you will return.
Make Friends with a Salesman
A salesman enjoys the privilege of cruising the city with different models of several kinds of cars – Toyota, Mercedes, Passat, etc. Regarding how to test drive a car without buying, if you make friends with a salesman, you can request to have a test drive.
First, whenever you find the salesman on a particular car, ask about the car. If the salesman has the time, he/she will willingly disclose every known detail to you. You can eventually ask to test drive the car. And if the salesman is comfortable with you, they will not decline your sincere request.
However, you will have to see the dealership’s supervisor alongside the salesman. You will be given a document to sign. The document is a test drive agreement that acknowledges that you agree to the terms and conditions of the test drive.
How to Test Drive a Car without Insurance
Before buying a new or used car, you would want to check the performance and assess for faults. This test will require hours on the road to sort out the condition of the vehicle. Since you are test driving the car on the road, an active insurance policy is necessary. You never know when a sad incident will occur while test driving, thus, leading to hurtful expenses.
In some jurisdictions, having active auto insurance is a big deal. You have to pay a hefty fine to leap out of trouble or have the car impounded, though you may be able to retrieve it without insurance. Let’s find out the ways to test drive without insurance and the party’s insurance covering the test drive.
Do You Need Insurance to Test Drive a Car?
The answer is two-way in the sense that some jurisdictions do not see vehicle insurance as a big deal. In general, you need insurance to test drive a car.
Depending on the seller – dealership or private seller, you may have to arrive at the car lot with your insurance coverage. Understand that some dealers hold garage policies that cover the liability is drive test.
In this section, we find out whether it is possible to test drive a car at a dealership without insurance. Below are what you should know regarding how to test drive a car without insurance:
Insurance from Car Dealership
The dealership often always has active insurance that covers test driving. Nonetheless, it is possible that protection may no longer be running and requires renewal. Regarding how to test drive a car without insurance, you should confirm the insurance validity from the dealership.
Do not match the gas pedal and set the vehicle on the road without establishing the dealership vehicle insurance policy. The dealership car insurance will, of course, cover the vehicle, pedestrian, and properties against any dilemma.
Insurance from Private Car Seller
If you have an insurance policy that includes the “Drive Other Cars” (DOC) clause, you are insured. Nonetheless, ensure that it agrees with the terms of the insurance company.
In some cases, the DOC may only apply to third party cover which means your test drive is uninsured. If you are unsure whether your insurance extends to the private seller’s car, you are test-driving, contact your insurance company.
Obtain Temporary Insurance
Temporary insurance is a close option for test driving a car without insurance. Some insurance companies offer short term coverage solutions that permit you to test drive a car.
You would have to contact your insurance company to confirm whether they offer such services. If your insurance company does not provide the service, you may have to opt for temporary insurance. As you would expect, the rate is relatively affordable since it lasts for a couple of hours. In the UK, for example, you can afford temporary insurance for as low as £10 to £15.
Test Drive with a Fake Insurance Card
Well, you can test drive a car using a fake autos insurance card to deceive the dealership. This option is in no way advisable, but if you are willing to drag the bull by the horn, you can give it a try. All you have to do is to create a fake car insurance card that looks like an original.
Now, visit the dealership, precisely a private dealership, and issue the card as proof of auto insurance. Of course, the dealership will allow you to take the vehicle for a test drive believing that you have the car insured.
Note, however, that when you crash the car, you will wish you had insurance coverage to foot the bill. If you run into the police during the test drive, of course, you will present the fake insurance card as an original which is not advisable.
Does My Insurance Cover a Test Drive?
Most drivers believe that it is against the law to drive without vehicle insurance. Without a doubt, it is valid, but to an extent.
While you test drive a car, the liabilities of the vehicle are not upon you should any dilemma occur. You are yet to acquire the vehicle, which means that you are not wholly responsible for car insurance. The vehicle dealership is responsible for the insurance coverage of that vehicle.
Can a Dealership Deny You Test Drive?
The answer to this question is two-way. First, if a dealership or a salesman senses that you are not ready to buy the car, they will stylishly or openly deny you a test drive. Secondly, if a salesperson is convinced that you can afford it and that you are willing to buy the car, they will not deny you a test drive. Some dealerships request your credit report to determine whether you deserve to take their car for a test drive.
Can You Go to a Dealership Just to Test Drive a Car?
Yes, you can go to a dealership just to test drive a car with no intention to buy it. However, it is ethically not okay because it is time-wasting to the salesperson who hopes to secure a commission by selling to you.
Can I Test Drive Cars for Fun?
You can test drive cars for fun and take them out for a joyride. But you will have to tell the salesman that you want to test drive alone. If the dealership approves your request, you can drive the car for fun. Otherwise, the salesperson being with you in the car takes away the fun.