How Old Do You Have To Be To Test Drive A Car?

If you're wondering whether or not you're old enough to test drive a car in your state, then this guide has you covered. Here are all the requirements for each state.

Part of shopping for a new or used vehicle is taking it for a test drive. Doing so helps you decide if it fits your lifestyle or if you’re better off with another model.

But what if you’re not yet 18 or are buying the vehicle for your 16-year-old?

What age can you test drive a car?

Most dealerships require shoppers to be 16 to 18 years old to test drive a car and have a valid driver’s license. However, no “laws” govern how old you must be for a test drive. Instead, dealerships set age restriction policies to meet state license qualifications and insurance requirements.

In this guide, I’ll provide more details about the legal age to test drive a car, allowing you to shop with total confidence.

Additionally, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about what’s required for test drives, including:

  • Can you test drive a car without insurance?
  • Is it ok to test drive a car for fun?
  • Can I test drive a car alone?

Let’s get started.

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Having A Full Driver’s License Is The Main Requirement For Taking A Test Drive

Drivers license

No matter your age, you cannot legally operate a vehicle alone without a valid driver’s license, meaning you can’t test drive one either.

One exception would be a driver with a learner’s permit or a provisionary license with a fully licensed passenger in the vehicle. Regardless, dealers have the final say as to what age they allow test drives.

Driver’s License Age Restrictions By State

USA

Requirements for obtaining a driver’s license vary by state. Common stipulations include holding a provisional driver’s license for six months or more, taking a driving course, or clocking a certain number of hours driving at night.

Maryland, for example, requires drivers to hold a learner’s permit for nine months before being eligible for a provisional license. Then, another 18 months must pass before qualifying for a full license. Because of rules like these, even being 18 years old may not qualify you for test drives.

Below you’ll find the state minimum age restrictions for obtaining a learner’s permit, provisional license, and full driver’s license. Note that there may be additional mandates, something you can learn more about at your local DMV.

Alabama

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Alaska

  • Learner’s Permit: 14
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 16, 6 mos.

Arizona

  • Learner’s Permit: 15, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 16, 6 mos.

Arkansas

  • Learner’s Permit: 14
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 18

California

  • Learner’s Permit: 15, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Colorado

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Connecticut

  • Learner’s Permit: 16
  • Provisional License: 16, 4 mos.
  • Full License: 18

Delaware

  • Learner’s Permit: 16
  • Provisional License: 16, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 17

Florida

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 18

Georgia

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 18

Hawaii

  • Learner’s Permit: 15, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Idaho

  • Learner’s Permit: 14, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 15
  • Full License: 16

Illinois

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 18

Indiana

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16, 3 mos.
  • Full License: 18

Iowa

  • Learner’s Permit: 14
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Kansas

  • Learner’s Permit: 14
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 16, 6 mos.

Kentucky

  • Learner’s Permit: 16
  • Provisional License: 16, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 17

Louisiana

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Maine

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 16, 9 mos.

Maryland

  • Learner’s Permit: 15, 9 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 18

Massachusetts

  • Learner’s Permit: 16
  • Provisional License: 16, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 18

Michigan

  • Learner’s Permit: 14, 9 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 17

Minnesota

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Mississippi

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 18

Missouri

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 18

Montana

  • Learner’s Permit: 14, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 15
  • Full License: 16

Nebraska

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Nevada

  • Learner’s Permit: 16, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 18

New Hampshire

  • Learner’s Permit: 15, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17, 1 mo.

New Jersey

  • Learner’s Permit: 16
  • Provisional License: 17
  • Full License: 18

New Mexico

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 15, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 16, 6 mos.

New York

  • Learner’s Permit: 16
  • Provisional License: 16, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 18

North Carolina

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 16, 6 mos.

North Dakota

  • Learner’s Permit: 14
  • Provisional License: 15
  • Full License: 16

Ohio

  • Learner’s Permit: 15, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 18

Oklahoma

  • Learner’s Permit: 16, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Oregon

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Pennsylvania

  • Learner’s Permit: 16
  • Provisional License: 16, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 18

Rhode Island

  • Learner’s Permit: 16
  • Provisional License: 16, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 17, 6 mos.

South Carolina

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 15, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 16, 6 mos.

South Dakota

  • Learner’s Permit: 14
  • Provisional License: 14, 6 mos.
  • Full License: 16

Tennessee

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Texas

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 18

Utah

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Vermont

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 16, 6 mos.

Virginia

  • Learner’s Permit: 15, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 18

Washington

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

West Virginia

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 17

Wisconsin

  • Learner’s Permit: 15, 6 mos.
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 16, 9 mos.

Wyoming

  • Learner’s Permit: 15
  • Provisional License: 16
  • Full License: 16, 6 mos.

Test Drives: FAQ

Can You Test Drive A Car Without Insurance?

Generally, you do not need auto insurance to test drive a car at a dealership because the vehicles are already covered by their internal policy.

This is something to be careful of when test-driving a private seller’s car, whose policy needs to state that uninsured motorists are also covered.

Is It Ok To Test Drive A Car For Fun?

Technically, you can test drive a car for fun, provided you meet dealer prerequisites, like having a valid driver’s license and meeting any age restrictions.

Just note that salespeople are rarely paid hourly, so if you have no intent on buying a vehicle, at least let them know upfront.

Can I Test Drive A Car Alone?

Many dealerships allow you to test drive cars without a representative present, but not all.

If you are permitted, your sales rep will take a copy of your auto insurance and driver’s license. They will then provide a temporary license plate and have you sign an agreement.

Have A Valid Driver’s License? Enjoy The Test Drive

Ultimately, a valid state driver’s license will allow you to test drive most cars without issue.

Just know that exact policies vary between dealers, so don’t be too surprised if you’re denied a drive in the latest Chevy Corvette or Ford Lightning.

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Joshua Barrett

Josh Barrett is a writer hailing from the great state of Alaska. While describing himself in the third person is not his forte, writing about any and all things automotive – is. After 13+ years hustling in the exciting world of car sales, he took off to travel the world with his dog Teemo.