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ScooterM

Test Driving

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ScooterM

Any particular rules of etiquette to follow when arranging and conducting a test drive with a private seller? Also curious about how to arrange for an inspection /survey. Since you can't very well drive it down to the local mechanic how are these usually arranged?

Thanks

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Pistol Pete

I'd put it through all it's paces. Drive it like you're gonna drive it once you own it.

The seller shouldn't have any problem letting you do whatever you want with it if you're serious enough about purchasing it to test drive it. I think the one thing I would skip is a bat turn.

Can't help with the marine mechanic inspection.

Edited by Pistol Pete

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wakeboy

I don't know how you drive your own boat, but drive it like normal. You may want to ask if it is ok to see how it performs with the throttle all the way open, I usually just ease into it and eventually see what its got without asking. They honestly shouldn't care as long as you don't hammer it from a stand still. Otherwise, I think if you aren't whipping it around you should be fine. Don't be discouraged if the guy turns out to be a prick, I had one guy that wouldn't let me drive the boat. I sat there as he drove and just thought to myself, there is no way I am buying a boat (especially a used boat) without test driving it first.

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davemac

you can pick up on a lot of things about both the boat and owner during the test drive. For instance, when I was shopping for a boat, I drove a couple hours and tested out a Sunsetter. Based on interior and gelcoat scratches, it was apparent that boat wasn't well cared for. It was first time out in the Spring, and owner indicated he hadn't had time to clean up before winterizing. After launching, we idled away from shore, and the owner said "go ahead and put the hammer down". The engine temp hadn't even started coming up yet!! Also, owner indicated that rudder assembly had been replaced "as it had worn out...which was a routine maintenance item".

Bad vibe...passed on that one...and eventually saw it sell on ebay. I later learned that the boat had been run over a reef the prior season, ripping out the entire running gear.

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elc

I would ask them to weight it for surfing, wake boarding, skiing etc. However you are going use the boat. I let the buyer weight my old boat however he wanted and gave him my recommendation. Obviously don't bring all your buddies out for a pull!

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BillFooter

If I were the seller I would want you to drive it like I own it. You can drive it any way you want after you buy it.

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wakeboy

If I were the seller I would want you to drive it like I own it. You can drive it any way you want after you buy it.

If you are the seller, you aren't holding onto the boat much longer. So short of driving it off a waterfall, I think you need to see how the boat will handle how you drive not how someone else drives. Sellers need to realize that they are selling the boat and driving it a little rougher a few times won't matter since you are getting rid of it anyways. I am not saying go nuts, but drive like you normally would.

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BillFooter

If you are the seller, you aren't holding onto the boat much longer. So short of driving it off a waterfall, I think you need to see how the boat will handle how you drive not how someone else drives. Sellers need to realize that they are selling the boat and driving it a little rougher a few times won't matter since you are getting rid of it anyways. I am not saying go nuts, but drive like you normally would.

Normal means many things to many people. If your normal is the same as my normal we would have no problem.

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Malibuswany

If I was selling mine I would let the prospective owner drive it how he wants to use it. But if he seems to be an AH then I would stop the test drive and not sell it to him. If he's not going to have respect for it and you then he's not someone I want on the water when I'm out there.

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wakeboy

Normal means many things to many people. If your normal is the same as my normal we would have no problem.

Not trying to get in a battle of defining the key words, just saying if you want to make the sale you got to let the man drive like he drives. Now you can split hairs over what normal is, but lets say normal is the way most people drive, because it probably wouldn't be normal to go flying around the lake as fast as possible trying to pull james bond moves.

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RobSMalibu

So let me get this straight you would let someone drive the boat your selling (ie still own...possibly still have payments) drive it like they stole it then say well its not the boat for me. Like everyone else I would let them drive it the way you drive it. If they want to beat on it later go right ahead when the payments are theirs.

Not trying to get in a battle of defining the key words, just saying if you want to make the sale you got to let the man drive like he drives. Now you can split hairs over what normal is, but lets say normal is the way most people drive, because it probably wouldn't be normal to go flying around the lake as fast as possible trying to pull james bond moves.

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RedOwl

Maybe consider letting the seller drive it first?

That gives you a chance to see how he/she treats the boat & how much they know about its capabilities. It might also give you a guideline for their comfort level/willingness to put the hammer down, take tight corners and put the boat through all of the necessary paces. It may also be easier to go WOT after the seller has already done it.

In my limited experience, testing out a boat is almost as much about looking at the previous owner as it is about looking at fiberglass, wires, speakers, etc.

Edited by RedOwl

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Bill_AirJunky

I always asked the seller if I could ride behind the boat on our test drive. I'd bring my gear & a friend, then I'd weight the boat, take a quick ride behind it while my buddy drove. Then I'd drive while my buddy would get in a short set. Then later we can compare notes as to the wake &/or how the boat drove.

But be sure the seller knows all this beforehand. I offer to pay him for gas, help him launch, wipe the boat down, etc.

I've test drove dozens of boats this way. And never had a problem. But one time I ran into a guy who was pretty anal about how he treated his boat...... he pulled the boat on/off the trailer with mooring lines. The boat showed it though & was in excellent shape. But he wanted the premium price too.

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ScooterM

Thanks for all the input on the actual driving. I tend to go easy on my gear so I'm sure my test drive won't be the worst this craft has seen.

I offer to pay him for gas, help him launch, wipe the boat down, etc.

Bill, this was also what I was curious about. Offer to pay for gas, help launch, wipe down and how to set a mutual time for the actual test drive also good stuff to know as well.

Still curious if anyone knows how setting up a survey works. Can it be done as part of the test drive? Does someone come out to do it (like a house inspector) or do you usually get the seller to take it to your shop of choice? Not sure how to broach this subject.

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Bobby Light

Thanks for all the input on the actual driving. I tend to go easy on my gear so I'm sure my test drive won't be the worst this craft has seen.

Bill, this was also what I was curious about. Offer to pay for gas, help launch, wipe down and how to set a mutual time for the actual test drive also good stuff to know as well.

Still curious if anyone knows how setting up a survey works. Can it be done as part of the test drive? Does someone come out to do it (like a house inspector) or do you usually get the seller to take it to your shop of choice? Not sure how to broach this subject.

A marine survey really doesn't apply to wakeboats IMO, they are more geared for large boats and yachts. I think you'd be better off letting a Bu dealer look it over for a fee, they are familiar with the product and problem areas to look for. If the bank is requesting a marine survey ask them if they will accept an inspection report from a Malibu dealer. If not the marine surveyor can go anywhere the boat is, takes a couple hours, and costs up to $400 around here.

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Soon2BV

When I sold my last boat, the guy had been to my house to look at it and liked it but wanted to see it in the water. I met the guy and his wife at the lake. After he got there, we launched the boat and the three of us went for a ride. My wife and kids waited at the ramp.

I drove a little and then asked him if he wanted to drive. He was actually a little surprised when I asked. He drove for awhile and then we headed back for the dock and he said he would call me later but that he probably wanted the boat. Then my family got in and we headed out for what was likely our last trip in that boat. :( and :) .

When we got home, he had called and left a message of "yes".

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JeffS

2nd to the Marine Survey advice - get whomever is asking for it to understand it doesn't apply to a trailerable runabout.

The expertise of a marine surveyor is to find issues with boats that live in the water, and never come out to dry except during layup. They are checking thru-hull fittings below the water line (A/C, engine cooling and head-raw-water pickups), hull moisture, running gear, packings, anti-corrosion measures for stray current in marinas, condition of anti-fouling paint etc., certifying the shore-power systems are correct, batteries, inverters, generators...they test the heads, sinks and showers...televisions, satellite tracking, instrumentation...etc., etc.. Looking at the fiberglass - anyone can do that. What's under water is the realm of the surveyor. Since these boats don't typically live in the water, don't have bottom paint, aren't hooked to shore power, and don't have any major systems to speak of - surveying is really a waste of money. And what you really want to know about (the engine) most marine surveyors don't do. They advise you to get a separate engine survey for that.

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Michigan boarder

On etiquette, I'd get in the boat and if he handed me the keys I'd say "Thanks, but I'd like you to show me everything it can do. You know this boat better than me, can you give me a lesson on it? And just drive it like you normally would, I want to feel how it handles". Then take it from there. If he beats on it normally, odds are he will take this opportunity to as well. If he's cautious and baby's it, he'll drive that way. When it's your turn, and he baby'd it, just tell him what you are going to do:"If it's OK, I'd like to open it up and see her top end for a bit." Or "Mind if I do a power turn up here?". Etc.

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shawndoggy

LOL, so when I took one over the bow on a test drive that probably was poor form? :blush:

Owner was actually very cool about it, probably because 99% of the water ended up soaking my daughter. Still felt like :crazy: :crazy:

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WakingMeHappy

Take a longggg test drive to make sure it’s running OK. For a survey, take a boat mechanic along and offer him $50 to $100 to look it over with you before, during and after the test drive.

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MalibuTime

I don't know how you drive your own boat, but drive it like normal. You may want to ask if it is ok to see how it performs with the throttle all the way open, I usually just ease into it and eventually see what its got without asking. They honestly shouldn't care as long as you don't hammer it from a stand still. Otherwise, I think if you aren't whipping it around you should be fine. Don't be discouraged if the guy turns out to be a prick, I had one guy that wouldn't let me drive the boat. I sat there as he drove and just thought to myself, there is no way I am buying a boat (especially a used boat) without test driving it first.

Did he have a big L on his forhead? That is really a sad, pathetic life one must lead to be so insecure as to not let the guy that actually might buy your boat drive it.

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MalibuTime

Any particular rules of etiquette to follow when arranging and conducting a test drive with a private seller? Also curious about how to arrange for an inspection /survey. Since you can't very well drive it down to the local mechanic how are these usually arranged?

Thanks

The only other things I would add is to meet at the launch and get there early so you can see how they prep the boat for launch and if you like the boat enought to have it inspected, the seller may need to tow it to a shop of your choice. Agree with Bill on the test ride and paying for gas, but not if it is a dealer (they should be offering to take you for a tow). Definitely set all expectations up front after you look at the boat and decide you want to test it. Also, I would suggest that you arrange to do the purchase transaction (if the inspection passes) while the boat is still at the shop so you can tow it home from there (if the timing works out). One less thing for the seller to deal with.

I'd also set the expectation that if the boat passes inspection here is my offer, if there are major issues I will either pass or expect you to adjust the price accordingly. That way you know up front the sellers state of mind related to the inspection.

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malibanker

Hopefully the sellers wife shows up. We drove 2 hours to test drive a boat that looked amazing online. It had a couple of issues but the price was right. My wife befriended the seller's wife on the test drive and the next thing you know she was telling us how they always hit stumps, lit a seat on fire with a cigerrette, part of the 'Malibu' decals fell off and had to be replaced etc... She talked us right out of our offer.

Make friends with the guy, don't be a Jack-a$$ and it will all be fine. You'll know within 10-20 minutes if they take care of it. Just make sure they answer the questions you ask and don't act alarmed if something they say surpriseses you (like: we leave it outside and have never winterized it). Just agree and keep smiling and they will open up even more about their habits and maintenance.

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wakechick3

bring someone along who is impartial, they may see, hear and ask things you may be too excited to think of.

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wakeboy

So let me get this straight you would let someone drive the boat your selling (ie still own...possibly still have payments) drive it like they stole it then say well its not the boat for me. Like everyone else I would let them drive it the way you drive it. If they want to beat on it later go right ahead when the payments are theirs.

You got to do a little bit better reading my post. What I said was that they should drive it normal. Now if you think normal is driving it like they stole it, then you aren't driving normal. That is when I would ask them to slow it down and take it easy. However, gradually opening the throttle up, taking some nice turns, seeing how it handles the chop at a couple different speeds, etc...seems to be well within reason. Now if I still have payments on the boat, I shouldn't be too concerned with anyone doing this, however if you are concerned with that then maybe you are hiding a problem with your boat. That is why I would not by a boat I wasn't able to drive first.

Edited by wakeboy

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