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Best Used Car Dealerships in Nanaimo

Best Used Car Dealerships in Nanaimo

Buying a used car can be one of the most stressful purchases you’ll ever make. Unlike new vehicles that come with warranties and assurances of quality, used cars carry significant risks. You never truly know how well the previous owner maintained the vehicle or if there are hidden problems lurking beneath the surface. Between dodgy dealers, overpriced lemons, and outright scams, it’s easy to get burned when buying second-hand.

However, finding a quality used car doesn’t have to be a nightmare. By arming yourself with the right knowledge and avoiding common mistakes, you can locate a reliable pre-owned vehicle that will serve you well for years to come. The key is identifying trustworthy dealerships in your area that offer extensive selections, thorough inspections, transparent histories and strong consumer reviews.

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Define Top Dealership Criteria

When searching for the best used car dealership in Nanaimo, there are several key criteria to look for that indicate a reputable and high-quality dealership. Focusing on these aspects will help ensure you find a dealership you can trust for a smooth car buying experience.

The top factors to evaluate include:


Selection of Makes and Models

A quality used car dealership will have a wide range of makes and models in their inventory. This gives you plenty of options to find a vehicle that fits your needs and preferences.


Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Dealerships that offer certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles have put those cars through rigorous inspections and reconditioning. CPO provides an extra peace of mind.


Vehicle Inspection Process

Reputable dealers thoroughly inspect all trade-ins and vehicles they sell. They often provide vehicle history reports like CARFAX. This transparency builds trust.



Many used car dealers include some type of warranty with their vehicles. Good warranties add protection beyond just the test drive.


Financing Options

Having flexible financing alternatives makes the buying process much easier. Look for dealers that offer competitive financing rates.


Competitive Pricing

High-quality dealerships price their vehicles competitively based on market value. This ensures you get a fair deal the first time.


Galaxy Motors Nanaimo

Galaxy Motors Nanaimo has been voted the “Best Used Car Dealership” in Nanaimo for 7 straight years, so they are clearly a popular choice among local used car buyers. With over 150 vehicles available at their large dealership, you’re sure to find plenty of options. They specialize in trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles, so if you’re looking for something rugged and durable, be sure to check out their selection.

One of the key benefits Galaxy Motors offers is their warranties and financing options. Having a warranty provides peace of mind in case any issues come up shortly after purchasing your used vehicle. And their financing options make it easy to find a monthly payment that fits your budget. Between their massive selection, specialty inventory, warranties and financing, it’s no wonder Galaxy Motors Nanaimo has been voted the best used dealership in town for almost a decade straight.


National Car and Truck Sales

National Car and Truck Sales is another excellent used car dealership option in Nanaimo. They have an extensive selection of certified pre-owned vehicles, which means the cars have undergone a rigorous inspection process and come with extended warranty coverage. Certified pre-owned cars give buyers peace of mind about the vehicle’s condition.

National Car and Truck Sales is also very transparent about providing vehicle histories. They show CARFAX reports for their used inventory online, so you can easily look up the previous ownership, accidents, maintenance records and more for any car you’re considering. Knowing the full history of a used vehicle helps determine if it’s a smart purchase and if the pricing is appropriate.

Overall, the certified pre-owned selection and transparent histories make National Car and Truck Sales a reliable place to buy quality used cars in Nanaimo.


Laird Wheaton Chevrolet Cadillac Buick

If you’re looking for a certified pre-owned GM vehicle, Laird Wheaton Chevrolet Cadillac Buick is a top choice in Nanaimo. As an authorized GM dealer, they have an extensive selection of CPO vehicles that have undergone rigorous inspections. GM’s certified pre-owned program requires vehicles to be less than 6 years old with fewer than 80,000 miles. They must pass a 172-point inspection and come with a manufacturer-backed warranty.

Laird Wheaton currently has over 50 CPO vehicles available from Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick. You can browse their online inventory to see specifics on each model. The knowledgeable sales staff can also help guide you to the right CPO vehicle for your needs and budget.

In addition to the multi-point inspection, Laird Wheaton provides a free CARFAX report on every used vehicle. This gives you added peace of mind by letting you check the detailed history including any previous accidents or ownership issues.

The Laird Wheaton service center has ASE-certified technicians who thoroughly inspect all trade-ins. This ensures any reconditioning needs are addressed before the used vehicles hit the lot. The dealership takes pride in only selling quality pre-owned cars, trucks and SUVs.


Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln

Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln in Nanaimo offers a great selection of Ford and Lincoln models to choose from. With over 50 used vehicles in stock ranging from sedans to trucks and SUVs, you’ll be able to find a quality pre-owned vehicle that fits your needs and budget.

One standout feature of their dealership is the online financing application for added convenience. You can apply for financing right on their website and get pre-approved before you even visit the dealership. This makes the buying process much smoother.

Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln also regularly runs sales promotions to help you save even more money. They frequently offer discounts on select models, so be sure to ask about any current offers that could lower the price of your next used vehicle. Their knowledgeable sales staff is upfront about pricing and won’t pressure you into making a purchase before you’re ready.

In addition to great selection and savings, Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln has an onsite ASE-certified service center with factory trained technicians. So you can trust that any trade-ins they take have been thoroughly inspected before being offered for sale. Shopping for your next used vehicle at this reputable Nanaimo Ford and Lincoln dealer is sure to be a positive experience.


Get Pre-Purchase Inspection

One of the most important steps when buying a used vehicle is to get a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic. This will give you peace of mind about the car’s condition and help you avoid expensive surprises down the road. Don’t rely solely on a dealer inspection – bring the car to your own mechanic for an objective assessment. A good inspection will check all major systems and components like the engine, transmission, brakes, suspension, electrical, etc. The mechanic will look for any issues like leaks, damage, wear and tear or other problems. For a small fee, a pre-purchase inspection can potentially save you thousands in repair costs. Insist any issues uncovered are fixed by the dealer before purchase. While not foolproof, an inspection greatly reduces the risks of buying a used car. Take the time for this critical step, as you want to feel confident in your major investment.


Take Test Drives

Test driving multiple vehicles is crucial when buying a used car. Don’t just test drive your top choice – try out a few different makes and models to get a feel for what you like best. Test drives should last at least 15-20 minutes to allow you to assess factors like:


  • Comfort – Is there enough headroom and legroom? Are the seats comfortable for you?
  • Visibility – How is your view out the front, side and rear windows?
  • Handling – Does the car feel balanced and grip the road well around turns?
  • Acceleration – Does the engine provide enough power when merging onto highways or passing other vehicles?
  • Braking – How responsive are the brakes? Do they stop smoothly without pulling to one side?
  • Noise – Is the cabin quiet and free of rattles or excessive road noise?
  • Electronics – Do features like the radio, Bluetooth, and climate control work properly?


Don’t be shy about asking to extend a test drive if you need more time to evaluate the vehicle. It’s better to be thorough upfront before making a major purchase. Test drives are also a chance to ask the dealer additional questions that come up while experiencing the vehicle first-hand.


Check Online Reviews

Online reviews can give you a wealth of information about a dealership’s reputation. Spend some time researching reviews of the dealerships you’re considering on sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, DealerRater, and Look for consistent trends in the reviews, both positive and negative. Some things to look for:


  • Does the dealership have a history of great customer service and making the buying process smooth and stress-free?
  • Do customers report getting fair prices and not feeling pressured during negotiations?
  • Are the vehicles properly inspected and reconditioned before being sold?
  • How is the finance process – are there complaints about pushy sales tactics or hidden fees?
  • How knowledgeable is the sales staff about the inventory and able to answer questions?
  • Are appointments kept on time and the test drive process organized?
  • How is the service department after the sale – do they stand behind what they sell and quickly address any issues?


While a few negative reviews are inevitable, look for consistent trends and patterns in the customer feedback. This will give you insight into the dealership’s business practices and help determine if it’s the right fit for you.


Consider Total Costs

When shopping for a used car, it’s important to look beyond just the sticker price. There are additional costs to factor in as you determine if a vehicle fits your budget.

One major expense is insurance. Get quotes from providers before buying the car so you understand how much coverage will cost. Rates vary based on the make, model, your driving history and other factors. Opting for just basic liability rather than full coverage keeps premiums lower.

There may also be dealer fees rolled into the final price, like documentation or destination charges. Ask the salesperson to break down all costs ahead of time so you know the true price.

Maintenance and repairs are other big costs of owning a used car. Review the service history to see when major components like the transmission were last replaced. This gives you an idea of upcoming expenses.

Gas mileage significantly impacts your ongoing costs as well. Calculate your potential fuel costs based on the vehicle’s MPG rating and your typical annual mileage. Opting for a more fuel-efficient model saves money over time.

Finally, find out the interest rate if you take out a loan. Compare financing offers from banks, credit unions and the dealer to find the best terms. A lower APR keeps your total loan costs down.

Adding up these key expenses gives you a complete picture of what owning the used car will really cost. This helps determine if it fits comfortably within your budget.


Ask About Financing

Financing can make or break a used car purchase. Make sure to have frank discussions with dealers about available financing options and interest rates. The average used car interest rate is around 5-8%, but may be higher or lower depending on your credit score and other factors.

Get pre-approved for an auto loan from your bank or credit union before visiting dealerships. This gives you a baseline to compare any dealership financing offers against. Negotiate the best possible interest rate – even a small reduction can save thousands over the loan term.

Ask about special financing promotions the dealer may be running. Manufacturers often subsidize low APR deals to help move used inventory. Just make sure there are no hidden fees attached.

Understand the loan term and down payment requirements. A longer term (like 72-84 months) means lower monthly payments but higher overall interest costs. A larger down payment reduces the amount financed. Carefully weigh how much you can afford each month versus total loan costs.

Read all financing paperwork closely before signing. Make sure you understand fees, APR, payment schedule, early pay-off penalties, and more. Don’t hesitate to walk away if terms seem unfair or unclear.

Getting approved financing can take some time and paperwork, but be patient – the right loan makes used car ownership much more affordable.


Negotiate Price

When you’ve found the right used vehicle, it’s time to negotiate the price. There are several effective tactics to get a reasonable discount:


  • Point out any flaws or issues with the vehicle to ask for a lower price.
  • Mention competitive vehicles you’ve seen at other dealerships and what they’re pricing them at.
  • Ask what their best offer is and see if they’ll come down in price.
  • Request free add-ons like new floor mats, a full tank of gas, or an additional warranty.
  • Offer to pay in cash if you can, since it saves them financing costs.
  • Negotiate the final price, not the monthly payments.
  • Be ready to walk away if you can’t get close to your target price range.


Set a reasonable budget for the car’s value and try to get the price down as much as possible within that range. But don’t expect the full sticker price discount that you may see on new vehicles. For used cars, 10% off or more is often a good target discount.


Close the Deal

Once you’ve found the right used vehicle for your needs and budget, it’s time to close the deal. Here are some tips for finalizing the purchase:



Review all paperwork carefully before signing. This includes the sales contract, financing agreement, warranty details, and any add-on products you’ve purchased. Make sure the price, trade-in value, and other key details match what you agreed to. Have the salesperson clarify any confusing clauses.


Avoid Unnecessary Add-Ons

Stick to your guns if the finance manager pushes extra products like extended warranties, maintenance plans, or anti-theft devices. Be wary of items that add substantially to the price unless you see clear value in them.


Get Receipts

When you sign the final paperwork, request copies of every document, including the bill of sale, financing contract, warranty info, and any receipts for add-ons. Review these carefully once you get home. Having your own records ensures you understand what you purchased.

Following these tips will help you finalize your used car purchase smoothly and avoid last-minute surprises. Take your time and don’t feel rushed during this important step.



Buying a used car is a big decision that requires thorough research and patience to find the right vehicle at the right price. By focusing your search on reputable dealers with extensive inventories, trained technicians, financing options and a good track record, you can streamline the process in Nanaimo.

To recap, identify the makes and models you’re interested in, take test drives, have a mechanic inspect any potential purchase, and negotiate to get the best deal. Arm yourself with information on pricing and financing ahead of time. And don’t feel pressured – be prepared to walk away if you don’t find the perfect used car for your needs and budget.

Take your time, do your homework, and you’ll drive off the lot fully confident in your new pre-owned vehicle. Safe travels!

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Questions About The Best Used Car Dealerships in Nanaimo

The best used car dealerships in Nanaimo, BC, based on reviews and reputation, are Galaxy Motors Nanaimo, Harris Mazda, Laird Wheaton, and Steve Marshall Ford Nanaimo. Galaxy Motors has been voted the best used car dealership in Nanaimo for 7 years in a row. Harris Mazda is known for having a large inventory and competitive prices. Laird Wheaton and Steve Marshall Ford also have great selections of quality used vehicles.

When buying a used car in Nanaimo, you’ll want to thoroughly inspect it, take it for a test drive, check ownership and accident history, negotiate the price, and get any promises from the dealer in writing. Look out for issues like rust, damaged upholstery, warning lights on the dash, worn tires and brakes, leaks, noisy engines, and transmission problems. Also verify mileage, and make sure all features work properly.

Many major dealerships in Nanaimo offer some type of warranty on their used car inventory to provide buyers with extra protection. These include Galaxy Motors Nanaimo, Harris Mazda, Laird Wheaton, Steve Marshall Ford, Wheaton Hyundai, Nissan of Nanaimo, VI Drives, and Mercedes-Benz Nanaimo. The warranty terms can vary, so inquire with the specific dealer about coverage options. Third party warranties are also available from companies like Lubrico Warranty.

According to current listings, the average price of a used car in Nanaimo ranges from about $10,000 to $25,000. Compact cars and older models tend to be listed around the $10,000 mark, while newer SUVs, trucks, and luxury vehicles are mostly listed between $20,000-$30,000 on average. With some negotiation, most dealers will come down a bit on their asking prices as well.

The most readily available body styles of used cars in Nanaimo are sedans, SUVs, trucks, and crossovers. There are plenty of options across various model years for popular models like the Honda Civic, Toyota RAV4, Ford F-150, Nissan Altima, and Subaru Outback. Less common body styles like coupes, convertibles, and minivans have fewer listings, but can still be found at some dealers.

Some of the most popular used vehicle models for sale at Nanaimo dealerships include the Ford F-150, Honda Civic, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Outback, Nissan Altima, Dodge Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Equinox, and Hyundai Elantra. Trucks and small to midsize SUVs tend to be in high demand on Vancouver Island.

Reviewers often recommend Galaxy Motors Nanaimo, Harris Mazda, and the Car Corral for having competitive pricing across their used vehicle inventories in Nanaimo. National Car Sales and Tim’s Auto Repair & Used Sales also regularly have budget-friendly pricing on older and high mileage models. It’s always smart to compare prices across several dealers to negotiate the best deal.

The selection of used electric and hybrid vehicles is still quite limited in Nanaimo compared to gas-powered models. However, you may be able to find some used Nissan Leafs, Toyota Priuses, Ford Fusion Hybrids, and the occasional used Tesla at dealers like Laird Wheaton, Harris Mazda, Steve Marshall Ford, and Wheaton Hyundai. Inventory turns over quickly, so keep checking back.

Some of the luxury used vehicle brands you can find at Nanaimo dealerships include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Audi, Land Rover, Cadillac, Infiniti, Acura, Volvo, and Porsche. Models may include sedans like the BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class, as well as SUVs like the Lexus RX, Audi Q5, Cadillac Escalade, etc. Prices vary widely depending on year, mileage, and condition.

European Specialty Automotive in Nanaimo specializes in imported European used cars. Their lot typically has models from brands like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Volkswagen, Mini, Jaguar, and Land Rover. Other Nanaimo dealers like Laird Wheaton also regularly carry some European luxury brands amongst their used vehicle offerings.

The top places to search for Nanaimo used car listings and dealer inventory online are, Kijiji, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace,, and dealer websites like and Local classified ads and community boards are also good resources. Test driving in-person at the dealership lot allows you to evaluate condition.

Yes, many Nanaimo used car dealerships have on-site financing assistance to help get buyers approved for auto loans or leases at reasonable rates through lending partners. Reputable dealers like Laird Wheaton, Steve Marshall Ford, and Harris Mazda have financing specialists who can find the best loan terms tailored to your budget and credit profile.

Tips for getting the best used car price in Nanaimo include: researching fair market value ahead of time, getting pre-approved financing, inspecting the vehicle properly, pointing out flaws to negotiate with, making a lower counter offer, negotiating the final price rather than monthly payments, having other dealerships compete with quotes, timing end-of-month purchases, trading in your old car, and getting all promises in writing.

BC’s consumer protection laws do provide some recourse under the Motor Dealer Act Regulations in cases where an undisclosed major defect is found in a used vehicle soon after purchase. However, lemon laws primarily apply to new vehicles so used car buyers have fewer protections. Get any promises or representations from the dealer in writing to support your case if major issues arise shortly after sale.

When buying a used car in Nanaimo, thoroughly review the bill of sale, financing agreement, ownership/title documents, ICBC registration paper, sales contract, warranty info, vehicle history report, inspection report, and any other documents the dealer provides. Make sure details like pricing, financing terms, return policies, mileage, and vehicle condition info are accurate.

Yes, some of the larger used car dealerships in Nanaimo have an Autoplan broker onsite to assist with transferring insurance and registration. Dealerships where you can access ICBC brokers include Laird Wheaton Chevrolet Buick GMC, Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln, Nanaimo Toyota, Woodgrove Chrysler, and Harris Mazda. This added convenience simplifies the buying process.

Tips for successfully selling a used car privately in Nanaimo include: researching your car’s value, creating detailed ads with good photos/info, vetting buyer inquiries carefully, only meeting buyers in safe public places, having a purchase agreement ready, accepting secure certified payment, completing bill of sale properly, reporting sale to ICBC promptly, and removing license plates.

Reviewers often recommend the following Nanaimo used car dealers for offering strong used trade-in appraisals and values: Galaxy Motors Nanaimo, Harris Mazda, Laird Wheaton, Steve Marshall Ford, Woodgrove Chrysler, Nanaimo Toyota, and VI Drives. Getting quotes from multiple dealers allows you to compare and negotiate for the best deal.

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