How To Test Drive A Car During Covid-19

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Test driving a car is a sure way of finding out if a vehicle is right for you. However, many dealerships have put strict measures in place since re-opening in May to adhere to government guidelines. So, is it still possible to test drive a car during covid-19?

The good news is yes, you can.

Many dealerships are offering unaccompanied test drives in order to maintain social distancing. Registered trade plates must be used by these individual dealers, and they must have full insurance in place to allow you to legally test drive the car.

Do you need a test drive to help make your mind up about your next car? Read on to find out what you need to do when trying out a vehicle.


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test drive a car during covid

What do I need to do for accompanied test drives?

Since social distancing measures were relaxed to ‘one metre plus’ at the end of June, some dealerships may offer accompanied test drives. Remember, this will be at the discretion of each individual dealer as to whether they offer this. If they do, it’s likely that you and the dealership employee will need to wear a face covering as mitigation.

Before heading over to the dealership, be sure to contact them in advance to make your appointment and check what rules are in place.

If you’re buying a privately-sold car, it’s worthwhile contacting the seller what they’re comfortable with before you go and test drive the car.

Are you looking at a family car and want to make sure your kids and better half are happy with your choice? You should raise this with the dealer too in order to find out whether or not more than one person can come along for the ride.

What do I need to do for solo test drives?

test drive a car during covid

It’s been several months since car dealerships reopened, so most dealers are likely to have systems in place for people wanting to test drive their potential purchase.

Solo test drives are a convenient way for dealerships to allow potential buyers to get to know the car they’re interested in, while adhering to current coronavirus guidelines. Nevertheless, the right measures will need to be in place to ensure you can try the car out on your own (e.g. the legal registration plates as mentioned above).

If you’re about to take a solo test drive, here’s a list of things you should consider before arriving:

  1. Have you booked your test drive? Unfortunately you won’t be able to turn up at the dealership unannounced and expect to test drive a car. Most franchise dealerships have online booking forms on their websites, or alternatively you can ring them to arrange your slot.
  2. Has the dealership disinfected the car before your test drive? They should tell you this at the point of booking, but you can double-check this with them if not.
  3. Have you got your own PPE (personal protective equipment) such as gloves and/or a mask to take with you to the dealership? Because you’ll be on your own in the car, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to wear PPE. However, it’s worth taking some with you in case the dealer wants touch points (i.e. steering wheel, gearknob, door handles etc.) to be kept clean.

Test drives may be limited to around 15 minutes depending on the seller, so you may want to research the car before you arrive. This way, you can focus purely on the driving experience during your slot.

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Alternatives to test driving cars

test drive a car during covid - new car reviews

Perhaps you want an easier way to find out if a car is right for you? Well, don’t worry too much about making the journey to a dealership.

In the face of increasing coronavirus restrictions – particularly the most stringent lockdown measures – a lot of auto retailers have turned to digital solutions for showing people what cars are like in the flesh.

For example, certain sellers such as Arnold Clark will let you see video walkarounds of its cars. These will show you what a particular model is like inside and out so that you can get a good idea about its main features, functions and equipment.

Where walkarounds do fall short is in providing you with an insight into how a car drives. However, there’s now a wealth of car review content on YouTube from auto experts providing a concise yet informative rundown of performance out on the road.

Want to read about the latest car releases and popular models to help you make the right choice for your next vehicle? Head over to our handy car reviews page for all the information you need.

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