Car Buying

The Importance of a Vehicle Road Test in an Inspection

Vehicle inspection are an incredibly thorough service that requires expertise from specialists who know exactly what they’re there to do. A big part of that comes from road tests in the vehicle inspection specifically. In actual fact, road tests are actually one of the most important parts of the whole vehicle inspection operation. They’re not often thought about, but it makes sense. That’s why it’s so vital that you understand the process of a road test, how they work, why they matter, and most importantly of all, what a good one should look like.

As vehicle inspection specialist platform, CarExamer are here to help. With 4 inspection services on offer resulting in 2 different standards of road tests, we know what we’re talking about. Here’s everything you need to know. Biggest difference in the market currently not only in UK, but worldwide there is no vehicle inspection standard. CarExamer platform have created a inspection standard so inspectors can follow blueprint on what and how inspections needs to be conducted to avoid complaints. Inspectors inspect vehicles as they would be buying one for themselves.

What Happens During a Vehicle Road Test?

The first thing to look at to understand the power of a vehicle inspection road test actually comes from looking at what happens within them. Learning about what happens gives a really positive insight into what makes them so essential to have, and more importantly, what to look for when you’re getting one.

Generally speaking, the process is relatively universal in terms of what should happen. Once the initial inspection is done and providing the vehicle is accessible, roadworthy and permitted to drive, the inspector will get to work.

After doing the initial tests earlier, all that is left to do is drive the vehicle for a designated distance or time. While doing this, a separate checklist is often adopted even if mentally kept. This is where inspectors can take note of anything out of the ordinary and can report back with the findings, as well as all of the details that go alongside it.

Once the road test is complete, the inspector will write up anything necessary to provide the buyer with all of the information required. It will then be given to you, along with a more thorough inspection report on any additional details where possible and even quotes for repairs if the issue is apparent. Otherwise, it’ll be an estimate.

What Vehicle Road Tests Look For

During the road test, there are certain things that can only really be noticed when driving, and these are what inspectors are on the lookout for. Some of the most obvious culprits of these kinds of issues are things like:

  • Brake efficiency
  • Biting point
  • Rev count
  • Engine Temperature
  • Warning Lights
  • Noises and Feelings
  • Steering Health
  • Suspension Health
  • Gear Health
  • Unexpected emissions

This is just a small selection of what an inspector is on the lookout for. All of these things can be seriously detrimental to the vehicles overall health, and it’s surprising how well hidden some of these issues can really be.

With issues as complex as these, there’s no real way to test the state of some of these hidden parts, never mind the efficiency of those part in addition to this. This is the key hidden extra that road tests bring to the table, and how they can push things to any extent, without just having to observe. 

Anyone of them can often easily justify the price paid for the entire inspection, and this is usually just 10-20 minutes of one in the first place. That’s just how important this kind of service is.

What Makes a Good Vehicle Road Test?

So, if road tests in vehicle inspections really are this important, it can often be a good idea to have a think about what goes into making a good one before you choose an inspection package.

There are multiple aspects to road tests that need to be remembered before choosing the right fit. Think carefully on all of them, as each one may weigh differently in your decision. It all comes down to a combination, in any case, so try to consider them equally.


The biggest thing to think about comes from the credibility of the road test that you’re having done. Is the service doing the inspection a specialist? Do they have a solid background in inspections and know exactly what they are doing to give you the most thorough service that you need? Even in addition to this, do you know how likely that inspector is to reach the maximum allotted distance involved in the test? That is what is being advertised after all.

Many new services actually go as far as to outsource road tests as well as vehicle inspections in general, so always be aware of who it is that is going to be undertaking the work. Independent inspectors are usually the best bet, as they are working for themselves and dedicated to providing a good job for the recommendations rather than a larger corporation.


The second and the most variable factor involved in the road test process is the duration that it lasts. This actually comes in more forms than one as well. The first is that most companies will offer different mileages in their road tests. This is the biggest indicator of how much of a road test you should expect to receive. The higher the distance the longer the drive time, and the more potential there is to see any issues present in the car. Cheaper options will, of course, have the inverse of this.

Instead of mileage, other companies out there like CarExamer for example. Instead of mileages which cause variation depending on the conditions available at the time as well as the location of the road test, Carexmaer instead has an innovative middle using timings. This means that no matter where the location or what is going on at the time, the inspection will be a solid level of service and provide a good and solid recommendation with an accurate representation of driving.

The Weigh Up

Ultimately, a road test on a vehicle inspection is a window to how the car will perform when you actually use it. A static test can, of course, go into the most depth when done by a seasoned professional because of the tools and access available, but a road test still opens up new doors that a static test simply can’t. 

Never underestimate what they have to offer, and always remember to consider then in your vehicle inspection decision.

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