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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
From what I've gathered from other members is that you could take delivery, drive all the way home, and find out that there's something wrong with your car.

This thread could help to keep you from returning to the dealer because you and/or the salesperson had missed something.

To start, this works best if the car you're test driving is the smart you plan on buying.

What you'll need:

A Compact Disc (music)

A music player and a AUX line

Anything that you might want in the car to test (capacities, could the dog fit, etc.)

Before you get in:

1. walk around the smart and look at it up close, you're looking for imperfections with the outside of the car. Such as but not limited to: scatches and dents in the Tridion Cell, missing/broken body parts/panels, paint imperfections. Also look for chips on the body from previous test drives (if it's an Orphan). Are the tires inflated?

Passion coupes - Check the panorama roof along the line where it meets the Tridion Cell. If it appears uneven in an area or more than one, it may have lifted. You could press your fingers on the corners just a bit and if the roof travels a bit before hitting an object, it may have lifted.

Additionally you want to check the roof for scratches, crazing, cracks, and if it is curved inward (like it has been sat on)

Passion cabriolets - Check the soft top for imperfections such as tears or discoloring. Make sure the mini wind deflector is on the top of the windshield.

As you enter the car:

2. Look for imperfections in the interior such as cracked leather seats, wet carpet (leak?), torn or discolored fabrics, appearance of interior items, etc:

Passion coupes - Once again check your roof, but this time you may want to look for just scratches, crazing, and cracks.

Passion cabriolets - Check the soft top again for water ingress, discoloring of fabric, tears, etc. Additionally you want to check where the top meets the Tridion Cell bars and windshield and look for signs of water ingress and/or if it's closed properly.

Before you leave on the test drive:

3. Honk the horn (it may not work, might happen!)

While on the test drive:

4. Request to go on both high speed roads and low speed roads if possible

5. For the first few minutes you really want to feel the car; how responsive it is, acceleration, ride quality, etc.

6. Throughout the drive you want to listen to how the car sounds. Are there any rattles, clanks, bumps or shakes? Does the engine sound like it's in normal operation? (no stalling, abnormal noises)

Passion coupes - Even when the windows are closed does it sound like one of them is cracked a bit? If does sound so the roof my be lifting.

Passion cabriolets - Does it sound like wind's getting in from somewhere around the roof? It could be not be correctly closed.

7. Test the A/C, it should work pretty well (small car)

When you arrive at the dealer:

7. Test the car's gadgets (wipers, lights, heater)

8. Test the radio out. Does the C/D player work? Does the AUX jack work? Are all speakers working properly? Be sure to see if the AM works as some report a weak AM signal in their smart.

This could help you from returing to the dealer for a fix that could otherwise be fixed on site that day.


P.S. Could this be a sticky in the newbie section?
 

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Bring your luggage. . .

Only a little tongue in cheek here, but there have been a lot of discussions/questions about capacity. As I've said before, a luggage store owner once told me to go ahead and buy the bag I was considering, take it home and pack it for a trip. If it didn't work, bring it back before it has gone on the road or before I find, to my disappointment, it doesn't hold what I need to take with me.

That's a little harder to do with a car and, in most cases, you aren't looking at luggage or other carrying capacity unless you already have some unusual needs. (My sister in law is a massotherapist and has to transport her portable table.) Why not throw a few of your biggest pieces of luggage in the back of your soon-to-be-ex-ride and check out the Smart. You may be pleasantly surprised.
 

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should you also bring a pressure hose to check for leaky roofs and seals????
you know you can bring it back a week later and have them fix anything mechanical that you might have missed on the delivery inspection....even the painted panels can be removed and changed in a matter of an hour or so. BUT inspection for scratches on the trideon cell IS important to do before you even sign the dotted line as those are not easy to fix at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
should you also bring a pressure hose to check for leaky roofs and seals????
you know you can bring it back a week later and have them fix anything mechanical that you might have missed on the delivery inspection....even the painted panels can be removed and changed in a matter of an hour or so. BUT inspection for scratches on the trideon cell IS important to do before you even sign the dotted line as those are not easy to fix at all.
But remember, if it's a part like panels or roofs you may have to wait until the dealer gets them in stock. Possibly leaving you with some downtime unless if you get a loaner.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Our new members would probably gain good insight from this thread?
More to add:

Check for 2.0+ Update

1. While you're driving (in Automatic Mode), hit the Upshift paddle (the right side paddle). If the display goes from "D" to a number (and/or shifts gears), then you have the 2.0 firmware or higher.

Keys

1. Make sure you get two of them, it's way too expensive to replace them.

Transmission

1. This is a big one. Try shifting into each gear selection. It should immediately change into the selected gear. If it stays in the previous gear for too long (like going from "P" to "R" etc.), shows three horizontal bars, or just shows an "N" no matter what, there could be a problem with the transmission.

Records

1. It's always nice to know what's happened to the car. If its mileage is over 30k then you'd definitely want to know if the valves had been adjusted and spark plugs changed.

Hoses

1. Try to see if they're leaking or in poor condition, or have had some botched repair.
 

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P.S. Could this be a sticky in the newbie section?
done.

Any post in this thread needs to be related to test-driving the smart.

will add:

1. Don't forget the donuts in an empty parking lot...how tight can you make your donut? to the right then the left... then figure 8's...might as well have some fun with the test drive.

2. join SCoA full membership to get the most!

3. refer questions about a used smart to this sticky:
http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f2/questions-please-honest-should-i-buy-smart-35881/
 

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Question, is there anything to do that will tell me if the car has been in accident even though the CARFAX/Autocheck doesn't reflect it?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
When I removed my rear bumper to install my exhaust I found a build date engraved in the plastic. It matched the build date of the car.

I wouldn't be too concerned with a car that could have had its panels replaced. Sometimes people get tired of one colour and want another. Or, perhaps the old ones got scratched, or bumped, or were degrading road rash, stone chips, or whatever.
 

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If you are thinking about buying a smart but do not like the looks of it than do not test drive it. you will fall in love with it and find yourself driving it home.it does not feel like a small car at all.I bought mine to tow behind motorhome was not sure untill i drove it , I LOVE IT!!!
 

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Another thing to check -
Check the windshield washer to be sure it works and holds a full tank.

Bought my Florida smart used and never checked that - sure enough, about a week later noticed that the tank was cracked and leaking.

-Barry-
 

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also check that the climate control works fully if buying Used, there were issues with some of the original climate controllers where the onyl way you could get cold A/C was putting the Temperature lever in Over-ride.. it was easy to tell as setting your cabin temperature at even 70 degrees on an 80 degree day resulted in barely cool air from the vents until you set it down to fully cold..

this was an issue on the company Brabus we had a few years ago... if you are getting your Smart Brand new (like im about to pick up my 2015.. as ive missed the 2009 ever since it was sold years ago).. then checking mechanical things is simply a motion to avoid return trips to the dealer or if made aware of before you sign the line its an incentive for the dealer to repair them quickly so you will buy..

-Christopher
 
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