Just like you would test drive a car at your local automobile dealership, you can go to the seller's location and give it a try.
It should start and idle well. The gauges should be easy to read. The driver's compartment should offer enough leg room and the controls should be conveniently located and comfortable to operate.
Try out the controls; everything should operate smoothly. Take it for a spin; make sure the brakes are good and that all of the controls are responsive. Listen closely; do you hear any thing rattling, squeaking or making unusual noises?
You can learn a lot from a test drive. But what if you need a little more?
Will the seller allow you to test it for a few days at your facility? If you have any doubts about how well suited the equipment is to your everyday needs, it may be a good investment pay to have it delivered to your facility for a few days.
Most dealerships will offer a free 2 or 3 day demo period if they know that you are a serious buyer and have the funds in place to make a purchase. (Don't waste your dealer's time or resources on a demo request until you are ready to buy. Dealers are hoping you'll complete the purchase at the end of the demo period if you like what you see.)
But what if your really need more time to decide?
You may be 90% convinced that you've found the right equipment, but you just need a little more time. You might have a number of drivers whose feedback you want and 2 or 3 days isn't enough. You might have that one odd trailer that comes to your facility that you need to make sure you can drive in and out of. Whatever the reason you need more time, you should seriously consider renting the model you are considering.
Yes, you'll be putting some cash out but you will have the chance to put the equipment through it's paces and get a real-life evaluation. You might be able to negotiate having some of the rent you pay applied to the purchase.
Besides the ability to try-before-you-buy. A dealership can offer warranties and valuable peace of mind. A reputable dealer should never leave you "stuck" with something you are unhappy with.
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