This content has been transferred from an old FWF thread started on January 7, 2005
I would like to start an Official Test-drive tread here, because doing test-drives is a good source of free money for doing nothing, and having all the info in one place would greatly help many people who want to participate. Unfortunately, test-drives are not offered very often these days as they used to be in 2000-2001, however, if you organize your test-drive strategy wisely, using all available names of people, cats, and dogs in your household, and also using all available home and business addresses where you can get mail, you can get a good chunk of extra money.
For newbie FW-ers, here’s a brief introduction into test-drives.
A test-drive is a promotion running by a car manufacturer (or sometimes a car dealer) which allows you to get some type of gifts for coming to a dealership and driving a new car. The gift is usually a gift card to a store, or a prepaid charge card (Ford, Lincoln, Mitsubishi), such as MasterCard or American Express . Sometimes (Nissan, Cadillac) they offer a non-cash gifts, such as picnic backpacks.
The main source of getting test-drive offers is finding a test-drive certificate in new car brochures, but don’t bother picking them up at the dealerships, because you won’t find anything inside. If you want to get test-drive offers, you will have to request brochures from car manufacturer’s web-sites. So if you want to start playing test-drive games, it would be a good thing to start from. Once car manufacturers have your address, you will start receiving private test-drive offers, which are available only for those who has already been in their mailing lists. Sometimes, you can find new test-drive offers in newspapers or magazines, but those cases are very rare.
The process of taking advantage of test-drive deal is very simple. You get a test-drive certificate, go to a dealership, and show it to a salesman. The salesman offers you to drive a car, and validates the certificate usually but signing it, filling out the dealer’s code, and sometimes VIN number of the car you were driving. Also, sometimes the salesman is supposed to give you his/her business card. Then you send completed certificate by fax or by mail, along with the business card (if required) to the address printed on the certificate and patiently (no - I should say VERY PATIENTLY) wait for your gift to arrive by mail. Of course, be sure to make copies of all papers before sending them out. Sometimes (Cadillac) you don’t have to send anything, because the gift will be given to you right at the dealership.
Important - please read. Very often the salesman will ask you upfront if you are in the market for a new car. Please be honest, and tell him/her the truth. If you say that you came only to get a gift, but are not going to buy a new car, they will be happy to validate your certificate without wasting time on test-drive. In my personal experience, 95% of the visits to different dealerships happily ended without having to test-drive cars.
Even more important - also please read. Please understand, that test-drive offers, like many other types of promotions and deals being discussed on this forum, are very YMMV. That means, that even if two thousand fifty five people in your neighborhood received a test-drive offer, it doesn’t mean that you will get it too. Offers are being sent by car manufacturers randomly, depending on your state, city, age, previous history with the company, and, sometimes, the color of your neighbor’s cat. So if you received a brochure without any offer, please don’t get mad, and of course don’t try to call the company and demand the offer!!! You can request another brochure, sometimes it helps. If not - just pass this offer because there are others coming.
When you found a new test-drive deal, please post it in the Wiki section and don’t forget to bump this thread so that subscribers could get alerts immediately.