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Car Selling Guide: Test Drive Tips For Direct Car Sellers

Letting a stranger drive your car can be an intimidating experience, but this checklist should help to soothe some worries…
Gerald Yuen
Gerald Yuen
11 Apr 2024

Toying with the idea of selling your car? These inertias might persuade you to hold onto it for a while more - paperwork, negotiation, and the elephant in the room: scheduling test drives - not the most rewarding admin if it doesn’t go your way.

Carousell’s step by step car selling guide jots down the crucial phases of the car selling process, but often the case we hold back when we reach the test drive stage. Sure, allowing a stranger behind the wheel isn’t the best feeling on earth, even with Carousell’s indemnity form sorted before the test drive, making it clear that the person driving needs to bear the responsibility during the drive.

While the tips we suggest are not mathematically proven to make test drives 100% pleasant, it eradicates quite a number of uncertainties and ensures that you’re prepared before the prospective buyer takes over the wheel.

Perform simple background checks on the potential buyer

We are not asking you to put your whistleblower cap on, but this helps to weed out the bad apples. Suggesting at least a call before the meetup can help, so at least you can hear him/hear out to survey his/her tone of voice. Is he/she a verified buyer? Has he/she bought any other products on online platforms? Do a quick Google on his/her username / phone number just to check that it’s not “blacklisted”.

Meet at a well lit public location

Meeting at a location far from your residence or workplace will protect your privacy. If both schedules permit, potential locations can be at the roof of a multistory HDB carpark, or any other carparks that are bright and not too busy. If the buyer is showing signs of hesitation or is asking questions not linked to the sale of the car, it’s better to prevent him/her from continuing with the next step - test drive. Because things can spiral out of control…

Suggest a test drive route

This is highly recommended, but it’s good not to be too firm about it. If the buyer wants a particular route, let him/her justify why that was a good idea. Have a few decent routes in hand. If the buyer has plenty of years of driving experience, it would do no harm to suggest more challenging routes like South Buona VIsta Road - at least you’re placed in a scenario where you want the test drive to be conducted properly. Alternatively, conduct the drive around tried and tested routes, for instance, near new car showrooms along Leng Kee Road and Ubi / Eunos Link. Just to be safe, remove valuable items from your car before the test drive.

Take pictures of the process

While we’re not asking you to stick a body cam on your chest, it’s good to stay vigilant and snap images of the process periodically. Ask for permission from the buyer to snap images of him/her inspecting the car, his/her driving license and documents. It’s an act that might escalate to one that’s sensitive, but the key is to encourage open communication with the buyer. A tough ask we reckon, but try your best in any given situation!


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William Teng
2 weeks ago
The quote for my car was fast, responsive and the highest. The transaction was fast and explanation was clear. The person who inspected my car was friendly and professional. It was a good experience with OneShift.
William Chan
3 weeks ago
The transaction was very smooth from the minute I get on to their website trying to sell my car till the car ownership transferred and have the money paid by Pay Now into my account. It only takes less than 3 days. The person attending to me are very professional, Jon at the phone in their office and Sean Tan who came down to view and test the car. I am very happy to have decided to sell my car through "One Shift By Carousell"