How to Become a Test Driver

Have you ever seen a new car and wondered how you could become a test driver? Test drivers are those people who try out new automobiles and help the car manufacturer determine what is hot with the car and what is not-so-hot.

Test driving, however, means more than making sure the cup holders are big enough for the average soda and that the GPS machine is easy to use. Test driving entails a knowledge about cars, both aesthetically and mechanically.

What You Do as a Test Driver

Knowing that being a test driver means more than simply driving a new car along your favorite road may help you decide if you are really cut out for the job. Test driving requires someone who is truly dedicated to help make new cars perfect for future customers. While there really are not any test-driving degrees, it is helpful to have a mechanical or engineering background.

Test driving means speeding a new car to its fastest on a test track, maneuvering obstacle courses, and perhaps even trying out the new vehicle in extreme driving conditions, both real and simulated. Test driving also requires working with the car’s designers and project team members to determine how to fix any problems or flaws which may be detected with the new car.

What is the Pay and Benefits?

Test driving pay and benefits varies by the employer. While your pay may either come as an hourly wage of a salary, you may also be compensated for any traveling you need to do to test vehicles far from your home base. Benefits also vary by company, but do, at the very least, include being among the first to sit in and drive any of the new car models you get to try out!

How Do You Apply to Become a Test Driver?

Many auto manufacturers require you to apply for a test driving job just as you would apply for any other position at the company. Test driving jobs may have their own set of requirements, but these vary based on the company’s needs. The best way to apply for jobs in test driving is to approach each company individually; like most companies today, auto manufacturers offer information about employment opportunities online.

United States auto manufacturers include Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Foreign car companies include Ferrari, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz. Foreign car companies may have a need for U.S. -based employees depending on demand and the vehicle being tested.

Test Driving a Demanding Job

As you can see, being a test driver is much more that simply driving a posh new car around town and playing with its toys. Test driving is a “real” job that requires dedication, attention to detail, a working knowledge of the cars you are testing, and a sense for what the consumer wants – and does not want. As a test driver you are a connection between the company and the buyer.

Much of the understanding for how a vehicle actually responds in rain, feels on the back, and handles over rough pavement relies on your ability to get to know the car – how it behaves, what it can and can’t do, and relaying to the company insight on the kinks and bugs which still need fixing.

Test driving a car may be more than fun and games, but you will take satisfaction in knowing that you are among the important few who help make a good car great.


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