Test Drive Procedures

If a thief wants to steal a car or truck, they will use whatever means available to do so. A dealership should do everything possible to prevent this type of potential loss. Some  minimum guidelines to control test drives are: 

  • Obtain and keep a copy of the driver's license of all prospective customers on file (unless prohibited by law).
  • Verify information on license as being correct with photo identification.
  • When possible, copy a major credit card and keep temporarily during test drive.
  • Interview prospective customer to obtain personal information such as home/work address and phone numbers, as well as the name of company they work for.
  • Ensure a salesperson accompanies all prospective customers on test drives.
  • When possible, test drives should be on designated routes determined by the sales or general manager.
  • Have a method to let management know when a vehicle is out on a test drive or demonstration ride by use of a “TEST DRIVE OR DEMONSTRATION LOG.”
  • Salespersons should always drive the demo vehicle off the lot and drive to a transfer place to allow the prospective customer to drive.
  • Test drive transfer places should be well-lit and in areas where there is moderate traffic of people. (malls, movie and restaurant parking lots, etc.).
  • Salespeople should always exit the vehicle with KEYS IN HAND when transferring control of the vehicle to a prospective customer.
  • Ensure the prospective customer is familiar with safety and operational features of the test drive vehicle (manual transmissions, 4 -wheel vehicles, mirror adjustments, etc.).
  • Never let a prospective customer who is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs drive a vehicle.
  • Salespeople who observe prospective drivers operating the demonstrator vehicle in a reckless or unsafe manner should stop vehicle and remove driver as soon as possible.
    • Although it is recommended that you do not permit “extended test drives,” if you feel that you must allow the prospective customer to take the demonstrator overnight or over the weekend, ensure salespeople use a “borrowed car/loaner/rental car agreement” that transfers liability to the customer while in their care, custody, and control. In these situations, the salesperson should ensure the following:
  • Obtain a copy of the prospective customer's driver license with photo ID.
  • Obtain copy of “Proof of Insurance” card or document and verify current coverage, when possible.
  • Where possible, keep the prospective customer's owned vehicle driven to dealership until dealership vehicle is returned.
  • Ensure verification of credit, financing, and personal information before releasing vehicle.
  • Be aware of scams involving two or more people, with one distracting the salesperson, while the other can remove the key from the key ring.
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