The official "Free Money for Test-Driving Cars" thread

This content has been transferred from an old FWF thread started on January 7, 2005 :eyes:

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 :relaxed: 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.


Current offers:

Lincoln -

Subaru appears to be offering $25 for a test drive. If I go to any dealers site, I get a pop up asking for my info so they can send me a code to take to the dealer.

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Ripped from DOC:

Test Drive A Lincoln & Get A $100 Visa Gift Card

You can get a $100 Visa gift card when you test drive a Lincoln for 24 hours as part of their date night promotion. Please note: The $100 Visa gift card isn’t mentioned on the landing page (apart from a bit in the fine print section) but readers have reported successfully getting the deal. Individual dealerships are also advertising the offer.

The Fine Print

*No purchase necessary.
*Test drive not required in MD, NJ, OH and TN.
*Participants must have a valid US driver’s license and comprehensive auto insurance, be 25 years or older and sign a test-drive waiver to participate.
*Valid at participating dealerships; one per customer.
*Offer is non-transferrable and valid for the scheduled date and time only. D
*Dealer has the right to accept or decline applicants at their own discretion based on program parameters and vehicle availability.
*Program ends 12/31/17.
*The OmniCard Visa Prepaid Card is issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.


As always, YMMV

Well, first off, hopefully we will start seeing some more test drives. I did want to mention that my son received one at our address from Volvo for $75. Apparently, he registered at the auto show in Chicago back in February. However, this just came 2 weeks ago. It was very easy. I did not think they would want him to test drive as he is 22 years old. He went in with me and the sales person took one look at him and put the code on the post card for us. Easiest $75 my son ever made. Here’s hoping for lots of drives in 2018.

Hyundai is giving away a $50 prepaid visa, at least in my area, for a test drive. I got the offer to pop up by browsing the inventory at my local dealer. It’s basically the same offer they had a month ago. Fine print says you can only do 1 offer per 6 months per household. Offer valid through the 23rd.

I’m going to try to do this in the next couple of days. Hope they don’t give me too much trouble, I’ve gotten like 3 emails a day from the dealer since signing up for this offer. I have no interest in buying a new car right now.

I think it might be different for each dealership, but there may be a valid offer for Hyundai in general if you just choose your closest location. Here’s one I came across:
$25gc at HiltonHead location:

Here’s also a $25 one at Oneonta NY Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge:

$25 at Wesley Chapel Toyota:

Why did the salesman take only one look at your son and immediately apply the code? Is 22-years-old too young to possibly be able to afford a Volvo? What?

He is still in college and looks like a college student. I personally would not think of a new $60,000 Volvo ( model offered in post card) as a reasonable car for him. No offense taken on our end, only shouts of glee.