Getting Behind the Wheel: Key Steps for a Thorough Test Drive of a Used Car in the UAE

Test Drive of a Used Car in the UAE


When it comes to purchasing a used car, a test drive is a crucial step in the decision-making process. While car buyers often prioritize factors like comfort, technology, and fuel economy, test-driving a used car offers even more benefits. Unlike a new car test drive, It allows potential buyers to uncover any hidden issues and make an informed choice. In this guide, we will explore how to properly test drive a used car in the UAE

Be advised that it is essential to approach with caution if a seller refuses to let you take a test drive. Additionally, it’s worth noting that exotic and expensive cars may not be available for test drives due to their high value.

Taking the time to test drive from a used car showroom in Dubai is essential to avoid potential pitfalls and unpleasant surprises. Here are some tips on how to conduct a proper test drive in the UAE:

Things to Check Before You Drive 

Before stepping into the driver’s seat and starting the engine, it’s crucial to perform some initial checks. Follow the following guidelines for a smooth operation. 

  1. Walk around the vehicle and carefully inspect the door panels. Ensure that all parts are properly aligned. Misaligned panels may indicate poor repairs. Minor dents and dings can be overlooked.
  2. Pay close attention to the paint on the body panels. If you notice a color difference compared to the rest of the vehicle, it may suggest that the car has undergone previous paintwork.
  3. Check underneath the car for any signs of oil leaks, rust, or other damages.
  4. Examine the tires and check their date of manufacture. Testing centers in the UAE typically do not allow tires older than three years. Additionally, ensure that there is a spare tire available.
  5. Open and close the car’s doors slowly and observe if they align properly with the frame. Doors that don’t align may indicate previous repairs or chassis damage.
  6. Open the car’s bonnet and check the color of the engine oil using a dipstick. Dark brown or black oil suggests the need for an oil change, while a muddy greyish color indicates potential engine issues such as a blown gasket or cracked head.
  7. Check if the airbags are functional by looking for the Safety Restraint System (SRS) logo or the airbag indicator light on the dashboard.

Now that you have understood what to look for before you get in, let’s see what you need to do once you start the engine. 

Start the Engine and Continue Inspection 

After inspecting the exterior of the vehicle, it’s time to start the engine and pay attention to other crucial elements:

  1. Test the functionality of the car’s AC and ensure it doesn’t malfunction after running for a few minutes.
  2. While driving, listen for any unusual clicking, squealing, hissing, or metallic noises. Pay attention to suspicious smells of gasoline, burning, oil, or exhaust.
  3. A whining sound may indicate issues with the gearbox, driveshaft, differential, or tires.
  4. Test the responsiveness of the brakes by applying firm pressure when there are no vehicles behind you. 
  5. Check if the car stays in line during hard braking at a speed of 90 km/hour.
  6. Drive the vehicle in all gears, whether it is an automatic or manual transmission. In a manual transmission, ensure that the gears shift smoothly without cracking or jerking.
  7. Check the shock absorbers by cornering the vehicle and ensuring it doesn’t roll excessively. 
  8. During braking, the car should not dive excessively.
  9. Test the clutch system by applying the handbrake while stationary, shifting into third gear, and slowly disengaging until the engine almost stalls. If the clutch system slips or produces jerks during starting, it may indicate worn discs or a flywheel.
  10. Rev the engine and observe the exhaust system. Minimal grey or white smoke is normal, but excessive black smoke could indicate a problem. 
  11. Remember that a valid driving license is necessary to take a test drive of a used car in the UAE.

Checklist for Luxury Used Cars

If you are considering purchasing a used car with advanced features, such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Toyota, make sure to check the following:

  1. Verify if the vehicle has a functional and up-to-date navigation system.
  2. Connect your phone to the car’s Bluetooth system and ensure it pairs easily.
  3. Test the window controls to ensure smooth operation.
  4. Activate the infotainment system, if available, and verify its functionality.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the high-tech safety features of the car.
  6. The vehicle should start easily, ideally within two attempts, without the need for a jump starter. A difficult start may indicate mechanical issues or extended periods of immobilization. 
  7. Pay attention to the engine speed when idling and ensure consistency and stability. Squealing or hissing sounds during startup could indicate faulty belt tension or the risk of belt breakage.

These tests are for higher-end luxury used cars. Remember that for new car tests these can be avoided. 


A test drive is an essential step in the process of buying a car. But it is even more important when we are thinking of buying a used car. Go to any used car showroom in Dubai and they will happily oblige. By following the steps and insights outlined in this guide, you can ensure a comprehensive evaluation of the vehicle’s condition. Testing various components allows you to make an informed decision. It’s advisable to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable mechanic or expert if you have limited mechanical knowledge. If you wish to purchase a used car, head on over to Sun City Motors to choose from a wide range of vehicles. To learn more, follow Sun City Motors, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

  • August 1, 2023
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