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Best Used Car Dealerships in St. John's

Best Used Car Dealerships in St. John's

Buying a used car can be one of the most stressful purchases you’ll make. With so many options and factors to consider, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But finding the right dealership in your area makes all the difference. The dealers you choose to work with can turn a daunting process into a smooth, rewarding experience. That’s why focusing your search on reputable used car lots in St. John’s is key.

As the largest city in Newfoundland, St. John’s offers many choices when it comes to used car dealers. But not all lots are created equal. This guide will outline the top used car dealerships in St. John’s, selected based on reputation, selection, pricing, and service. We’ll also provide tips on getting the best deal so you can upgrade your ride with confidence.

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What to Look for in a Good Used Car Dealership

When shopping for a used car, the dealership you choose can make all the difference in finding the right vehicle at the best price. Here are some key factors to look for when selecting a reputable used car lot:


Large Selection of Makes/Models/Years

A quality used car dealer should have a wide variety of makes, models, body styles, and years in their inventory. This gives you more options to find a vehicle that fits your needs and budget. Look for dealers that showcase hundreds of vehicles across multiple brands.


Transparent Pricing and Financing Options

Avoid dealerships that play pricing games or hide additional fees. Look for fair, no-haggle pricing clearly listed on each vehicle. The dealership should also offer multiple financing options like bank financing, in-house financing, or cash deals. This gives you flexibility in how you pay for your used car.


Strong Reputation Based on Customer Reviews

Research online reviews and testimonials to gauge the dealer’s reputation. Look for consistent positive feedback around their customer service, pricing, vehicle quality, and overall purchase experience. A solid reputation is a good sign you’ll have a smooth transaction.


Onsite Service Department for Inspections and Repairs

Choose a used car dealer that has a service department onsite. This allows them to thoroughly inspect trade-ins and inventory vehicles so they can fix any issues prior to sale. It also provides you with a convenient maintenance facility for any repairs needed after purchase.


Extended Warranty and Vehicle Protection Plans

Many used car dealers offer extended warranty and vehicle protection plans that provide additional coverage beyond the factory warranty. This protects you from large repair bills down the road. Opt for a dealer that provides access to comprehensive extended warranty options.


Hickman Select

One of the top options for used cars in St. John’s is Hickman Select, with 9 locations across Newfoundland. Hickman Select stands out for its massive selection of vehicles. With nearly 1000 pre-owned vehicles across their lots, you’re sure to find a great option no matter what you’re looking for. Hickman routinely runs sales promotions, so you can often score an even better deal on your next ride.

A major benefit of Hickman is that they have ASE-certified technicians to inspect and service every vehicle. ASE certification is widely regarded as the gold standard for automotive professionals, so you can trust their team to properly evaluate each car and ensure it’s road-ready. Between their technicians’ expertise and their vast inventory, Hickman Select has cemented itself as a top destination for used car buyers in St. John’s and beyond.


Terra Nova Motors

Founded in 1957, Terra Nova Motors is one of the longest standing automotive dealers in St. John’s. Specializing in GMC and Buick vehicles, they have built a sterling reputation in the city based on their commitment to customers. With over 60 years serving the area, multiple generations of families have turned to Terra Nova Motors for their vehicle needs.

As a GM certified service center, Terra Nova Motors is equipped to expertly service any GMC and Buick model. Their team of factory trained technicians have the skills and knowledge to diagnose and repair issues to keep you on the road. The service center uses only genuine OEM parts to ensure proper fit and function.

Terra Nova Motors offers very competitive pricing across their selection of used vehicles. They run frequent promotions that can help you save even more on your next pre-owned GMC or Buick. Their finance team works hard to secure customers the absolute best rates on auto loans and leases.

The focus at Terra Nova Motors is providing drivers in St. John’s and the surrounding area with a stellar experience from browsing inventory to signing paperwork and driving home. Their excellent reputation is built on top-notch customer service above all else.


Kelsey’s Used Cars

Kelsey’s Used Cars is a family-owned used car dealership that has been serving the St. John’s area for over 40 years. They pride themselves on providing a low-pressure sales environment where customers can browse their regularly updated online inventory and test drive vehicles at their own pace. Once you decide on the right used car for you, the knowledgeable sales staff at Kelsey’s can provide guidance on financing options to get you the best possible deal.

As a family-run business, customer service is a top priority for Kelsey’s Used Cars. They aim to make the car buying process as stress-free as possible. Kelsey’s provides complimentary oil changes and inspections with all used car purchases. This shows the confidence they have in the quality of vehicles they sell, and it provides new owners with added peace of mind.

With an extensive selection of makes and models, all thoroughly inspected and reconditioned on-site, Kelsey’s Used Cars has something for every buyer. Their lot is conveniently located right off Kenmount Road, making it easy to stop by and explore their inventory. The knowledgeable sales team is happy to answer any questions and can help you find the perfect used car while providing a low-pressure, customer-focused experience.


Tips for Getting the Best Deal on a Used Car in St. John’s

Getting the best possible deal on a used car in St. John’s requires doing your homework and being a savvy negotiator. Here are some tips to help you get the most value for your money:


Get Pre-Approved for Financing

Before starting your search, get pre-approved for financing through your bank or credit union. This gives you negotiating leverage, as the dealer will want to beat the rate you’ve already secured. Going in pre-approved also prevents getting stuck with a higher interest rate at the dealership.


Test Drive Multiple Vehicles

Don’t fall in love after a single test drive. Take the time to test drive several vehicles that meet your needs. This allows you to compare factors like performance, comfort, features and pricing across different makes and models.


Inspect History Reports and Maintenance Records

Review the vehicle history report and maintenance records carefully before purchasing. This will uncover any previous accidents, major repairs, or inconsistencies that could impact the price. Reputable dealers will provide these upfront.


Negotiate the Best Possible Price

Do your research ahead of time to determine fair pricing. Don’t be afraid to make counter offers and negotiate the best deal. Consider timing your purchase at month’s end when salespeople are more motivated to meet quotas.


Consider Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Vehicles

Certified pre-owned cars cost a bit more but come with extended warranty coverage, vehicle history reports, and manufacturer-backed inspections. The CPO certification provides added peace of mind.


Finding the Right Dealer is Key

Finding the right used car dealership is key to having a positive buying experience. The dealers you choose to work with can make or break your car shopping journey. Taking the time to research and visit top-rated lots will pay off tremendously compared to just stopping at the first place you see.

Use this guide to the top used car dealers in St. John’s to help narrow your search. Focus on lots that come highly recommended from objective third-party sources, not just their own marketing claims. Look for dealers with a great selection, fair pricing, strong customer service and a solid reputation built over many years in business. These indicators will point you towards dealerships that truly have customers’ best interests in mind.

By selecting a reputable St. John’s dealership that offers exceptional value, service and selection, you can shop confidently knowing you’re getting a great used vehicle. Consider Hickman Select, Terra Nova Motors or Kelsey’s Used Cars to find your next reliable ride while enjoying a low-stress, high-satisfaction buying experience.


Purchasing a Used Vehicle

Purchasing a used vehicle is always a major decision. When spending thousands of dollars on a pre-owned car, truck, or SUV, you want to ensure you’re getting a great value for your money. The key is finding a reputable dealership that puts your needs first and provides an excellent overall buying experience.

By selecting a dealership in St. John’s that offers fair prices, top-notch service, and a vast selection, you can shop confidently knowing you’re getting a quality used vehicle. Dealers like Hickman Select, Terra Nova Motors, and Kelsey’s Used Cars have built up positive reputations over decades in business. They routinely go above and beyond to ensure customers drive off the lot satisfied with their purchase.

The team of sales and finance experts at these trusted dealers work hard to get customers approved for car loans at competitive interest rates. They also provide extended warranty and vehicle protection plans to give you peace of mind. And with onsite service departments, they can perform inspections and repairs to ensure your used vehicle is safe and reliable.

While buying a used car is often stressful, the best dealerships aim to provide an easy, enjoyable experience. They have your budget and needs in mind, helping you navigate the process seamlessly. By putting in the work to find a reputable dealer, you can upgrade your ride with confidence.


Finding the Right Dealer is Key

Purchasing a used vehicle is always a major decision. By selecting a reputable dealership in St. John’s that offers fair prices, excellent service, and a vast selection, you can shop confidently knowing that you’re getting a great value.

Based on reputation, selection, pricing, and service, I recommend considering the following top 3 used car dealers in St. John’s:


  1. Hickman Select – With 9 locations across Newfoundland, Hickman has a massive selection of vehicles and routine sales.
  2. Terra Nova Motors – Specializing in GMC and Buick models, Terra Nova has a great 60+ year reputation.
  3. Kelsey’s Used Cars – A family-owned dealer for over 40 years with a low-pressure sales approach.


By selecting one of these reputable dealers in St. John’s, you’ll be set up for success in finding your next reliable used vehicle.

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Questions About The Best Used Car Dealerships in St. John's

The best used car dealerships in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador based on reputation and selection include:


– Steele Honda: A certified Honda dealer with a large inventory of used Honda models in great condition. They offer vehicle history reports and competitive financing.


– Hickman Select: A chain of dealerships across Newfoundland with a vast selection of used cars, trucks, and SUVs. They have 9 locations in St. John’s and surrounding areas. Good prices and warranties available.


– Terra Nova Motors: Specializing in used GMC and Buick models, this dealer is known for fair prices and good value for money. Their service department can inspect trade-ins.


– Capital Auto Centre: This St. John’s dealership has a rotating stock of used cars and can source specific makes/models. They offer vehicle history reports and financing options.


– Frankie’s Auto Sales: A reliable used car lot offering detailing services and the ability to take vehicles for extended test drives. They have fair no-haggle pricing.

To ensure you’re getting a reliable used vehicle in St. John’s, be sure to take the following steps:


– Review vehicle history reports from dealers to check for accidents or issues


– Have an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle before purchase


– Test drive the vehicle thoroughly, listening for odd noises and assessing performance


– Check fluid levels, tire wear, lights, electronics to spot potential problems


– Look underneath for rust, damage, leaks that could lead to breakdowns


– Ask about any repairs or major maintenance done on the vehicle


– Verify odometer reading against vehicle history report for sign of tampering


– Consider certified pre-owned vehicles that undergo rigorous inspections


– Check online reviews of the dealership related to quality of used vehicles


– Ask about return policies or short-term warranties for added peace of mind

You can expect to spend between $5,000 – $20,000 on a used car in good condition from a dealership in St. John’s. The average price is around $12,000. Factors that determine used car prices include:


– Vehicle age: Newer used models from current model years tend to cost more


– Mileage: Lower mileage vehicles retain greater value over higher mileage cars


– Brand/Model: Luxury brands and popular SUV models demand higher prices


– Condition: Well maintained one-owner trade-ins are worth more than older multi-owner vehicles


– Features: Additional options like AWD, leather seats raise asking price


– Location: Rural dealers tend to price used vehicles lower than city dealerships

Important questions to ask used car dealerships in St. John’s include:


– How long have you had this vehicle and where did it come from?


– Has this vehicle ever been in an accident or had major repairs done?


– Can I see a vehicle history report and service records?


– How many previous owners has this vehicle had?


– What condition is the timing belt, battery, tires, brakes in?


– What warranty or return policy comes with this used vehicle?


– Can I take this vehicle for an extended test drive or to my mechanic?


– Will you allow me time to have this vehicle inspected before purchase?


– Does this vehicle have any outstanding recalls or issues?


– Why are you selling this particular used vehicle?

When purchasing a used car in Newfoundland, expect to pay:


– 13% HST sales tax


– Registration transfer fee ($130-$180)


– Dealer documentation fee ($199-$499)


– Safety certification fee (around $100)


– Licensing fee (around $90)


– Tire tax ($5 per tire)


There may also be added fees for etching, nitrogen fills, or admin charges. Ask dealers for a full breakdown ahead of time so fees don’t come as a surprise.

To ensure you get a fair price on a used car in St. John’s:


– Research the current market value on trusted sites like Canadian Black Book


– Have realistic expectations about pricing based on mileage, condition, demand


– Get quotes from multiple dealers in the area to compare


– Negotiate respectfully within reasonable value parameters


– Ask about “out the door” pricing including all fees


– Consider having new tires, brakes, battery factored into negotiation


– Use trusted brokers like Unhaggle to broker with local dealerships


– Exercise walk way power if you feel pressured into overpaying

The best used car brands and models to consider buying in Newfoundland’s climate are:


– Subaru Outback/Forester: Reliable AWD and ground clearance


– Toyota RAV4/Highlander: Affordable, durable in harsh weather


– Honda CR-V: Practical AWD crossover with good resale value


– Ford Escape/Edge: Solid performance in snow with ample cargo room


– Nissan Rogue: Compact AWD crossover with safety tech


– Jeep Grand Cherokee: Capable 4×4 system handles off-road conditions

If you have bad credit, you can finance a used car in St. John’s through:


– In-house dealer financing for those with credit challenges


– Bank sub-prime auto loans for higher interest rates


– Borrowing against home equity if you own property


– Having a family member co-sign on the vehicle loan


– Working with specialized sub-prime lenders like CarLoans Canada


– Joining a credit union in Newfoundland to access used car loans


– Looking at dealer “buy here pay here” in-house financing options


Be prepared to make a sizable down payment to improve chances of approval. Shop around for the best rates possible for your situation.

There are good reasons to buy from either a dealership or private seller. Dealerships offer:


– Better selection across various makes and models


– Vehicle history reports and professional inspections


– Certified pre-owned options with extended warranty


– Financing assistance with buying process


– Ability to trade in your current vehicle


However private sellers tend to have:


– Lower asking prices without overhead costs


– Better knowledge of vehicle history as original owner


– More room to negotiate pricing and payment plans


Test drive and inspect vehicles thoroughly before purchase in either case.

When purchasing a used car from a Newfoundland dealer, make sure to obtain:


– Bill of sale listing vehicle details, sale price, ownership transfer


– Safety standards certificate proving roadworthiness


– Vehicle history report detailing any accidents or damages


– Ownership registration form to transfer title


– Sales contract and financing agreement if taking a loan


– Mechanical fitness assessment from test drives


– Warranty certificates for certified pre-owned models


Also keep copies of advertising listings and all correspondence with the dealership regarding the vehicle.

To test drive used vehicles more effectively:


– Assess acceleration and responsiveness on highways and hills


– Listen closely for odd noises or vibrations at various speeds


– Check that electronics and features are working properly


– Ensure steering alignment doesn’t pull to one side


– Test braking smoothness at different stopping speeds


– Examine dash warning lights after startup and during use


– Shift through all gears for smooth transitions


– Try out cargo space and accessibility in back seats


– Drive for at least 20-30 mins to better evaluate performance

Many certified pre-owned used vehicles from dealerships come with:


– 1 year / 20,000 km powertrain warranty


– Extra warranties on major parts like transmission, engine


– Roadside assistance coverage


– Option to purchase extended warranty for added years


For non-certified used cars, some dealers provide short-term warranties while others may only cover certain major parts. Get all warranty terms in writing before purchasing the used vehicle.

To prepare your trade-in vehicle:


– Have it detailed inside and out to improve appearance


– Complete any overdue maintenance like oil changes beforehand


– Gather up service records to demonstrate diligent care


– Replace any missing or worn parts that lower value


– Remove all personal items and restore to factory settings


– Take photos to document condition during appraisal


– Pay off any outstanding loans or levies on the vehicle


This helps maximize your trade-in value towards another used car.

Common used car payment options at dealers include:


– Cash / Bank draft


– Certified cheque


– Secure electronic bank transfer


– On-the-spot financing with lender approval


– Credit cards (may incur processing fees)


– Dealer in-house financing


To make things easier at delivery, have payment prepared ahead of time based on agreed pricing. Private sellers may be more flexible on payment plans.

Finding used electric and hybrid vehicles around St. John’s can be challenging, but you can improve chances through:


– Checking dealer inventories in surrounding areas willing to transport vehicles


– Expanding your search radius to all of Atlantic Canada


– Looking at online classifieds and auction sites for private sellers


– Alerting dealerships of your interest to contact you when stock arrives


– Considering older used models which are more widely available


– Exploring leasing options to access the latest makes and models

When purchasing a used vehicle from an individual, be sure to:


– Meet seller at their residence to verify ownership


– Test drive extensively and have a mechanic inspect


– Ask to see maintenance logs, receipts, registrations


– Confirm identity with driver’s license before exchange


– Make payments only by secure bank transfer


– Sign bill of sale forms to transfer ownership


– Meet at service center to transfer registration


This helps avoid issues with private sales. Consider bringing someone with you as well.

Finding reliable used cars in St. John’s for under $5,000 involves:


– Checking listings for older Toyota/Honda models


– Considering domestic brands like Ford as budget options


– Looking at sellers with verified maintenance records


– Expanding search to include hatchbacks and sedans


– Compromising on mileage to stay under budget


– Getting a thorough inspection before purchase


– Asking dealers about recent trade-ins not yet listed


While very affordable, $5,000 used cars are likely to be older and have higher mileage. But with diligence, reliable options are out there in the St. John’s market.

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