Car Deal Canada

How to Buy a Used Car in British Columbia

British Columbia

Buying a used car can be an exciting yet daunting process. With so many options and factors to consider, it’s important to be informed and prepared. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to find and purchase the right used vehicle in British Columbia.

From deciding on the type of car that fits your needs and budget, to inspecting, researching, negotiating, and finalizing the sale, we’ve got you covered. You’ll learn insider tips on how to get the best deal, avoid common pitfalls, understand tax implications, and protect yourself as a buyer. We’ll also provide key maintenance guidance to keep your new-to-you ride running smoothly once you’ve sealed the deal.

Whether you’re buying from a dealership or private seller, follow this advice to make a well-informed purchase and enjoy the freedom of the road in a reliable used car.

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Decide What Kind of Car You Need

Before you even start looking at ads or visiting dealerships, think about the type of car that would be best for your needs. Consider the following:

 

Type

Do you need something sporty like a coupe? Practical like a sedan or hatchback? Adventurous like an SUV? Capable like a truck? Identify the body style that aligns with your lifestyle.

 

Size

How much space do you need? Are you single or do you have a family to haul around? Consider your passenger and cargo needs when deciding between compact, mid-size and full-size vehicles. Measure your garage if needed.

 

Purpose

Will this be your primary vehicle for daily commuting and errands? Or a recreational vehicle for road trips and outdoor activities? Knowing your main usage will help determine priorities.

 

Features

Make a list of must-have features like all-wheel-drive, roof rack, towing capacity, heated seats, etc. Decide which features are essential versus just nice-to-have to help narrow your search.

Taking the time to decide what kind of used car fits your needs and preferences will make shopping easier and set you up for satisfaction down the road. Don’t get distracted by eye-catching ads before determining your ideal vehicle type.

 

Set Your Budget

Buying a used car is a major financial decision, so it’s important to determine your budget upfront. Consider both the total budget and monthly payments that work for your income.

Your budget should factor in these costs:

 

  • Down payment: Ideally 20% or more of the total vehicle cost to get the best financing terms
  • Monthly payments: Aim for no more than 10-15% of your monthly take-home income
  • Purchase price: Research prices online for the make/model you want so you know the approximate total budget
  • Taxes & fees: PST, registration, inspection, and documentation fees can add several hundred dollars
  • Insurance: Get quotes for models you’re considering; insurance varies by car
  • Loan interest: If financing, expect to pay 3-8% interest depending on your credit

 

Take your time shopping around, get pre-approved for financing, and negotiate the best deal while staying within your predetermined budget.

 

Search Listings and Online Resources

One of the first steps in buying a used car is searching through listings to find potential vehicles. Here are some of the best places to search for used car listings in British Columbia:

 

  • Autotrader – Autotrader.ca has a huge selection of used car listings from dealerships across British Columbia. You can search by make, model, price and more to narrow down options.
  • Craigslist – The Vancouver and British Columbia Craigslist sites have a used cars and trucks section with vehicles listed by owners.
  • Facebook Marketplace – Search locally listed vehicles in BC groups and Marketplace.
  • UsedVictoria – Specialized site for used car listings on Vancouver Island.
  • Kijiji – Another online classified site with used car ads in Vancouver and other BC cities.

 

When inspecting potential vehicles, bring along the used car checklist from ICBC to identify any issues. Review maintenance records if possible to get an idea of the vehicle history.

For pricing information on specific makes and models, consult Canadian Black Book. This can help you determine if the asking price seems fair compared to the vehicle’s value.

It’s also a good idea to research common mechanical issues, recalls, or problems reported by other owners for any used car you’re interested in buying. Check forums and see if there are any buyer’s guides online specifically for that vehicle.

 

Inspect the Car Thoroughly

One of the most important steps when buying a used car in British Columbia is thoroughly inspecting the vehicle before making a purchase. This involves taking the car for an extensive test drive and having a certified mechanic do a comprehensive inspection. It also means running a vehicle history report to check for any accident history or other problems.

 

Test Drive

You’ll want to test drive the car under different conditions to get a feel for how it handles. Drive on highways, back roads, hills, and in stop-and-go traffic. Listen and feel for any unusual sounds, vibrations, or handling issues. Make sure all features and controls are functioning properly. Take at least 15-20 minutes to properly assess the car.

 

Mechanical Inspection

Have a trusted mechanic do a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s major systems and components. This includes checking the engine, transmission, brakes, suspension, electrical system, etc. They will be able to spot any issues or signs of wear and tear. This professional evaluation is invaluable for identifying potential problems or maintenance needs.

 

Accident History

Run a vehicle history report using the car’s VIN number to uncover any accident damage, collisions, major repairs, or other issues. CarProof and CarFax are two reputable vehicle history report services in Canada. This will reveal important information about the condition and past of the used car you are considering.

 

Check Vehicle History Reports

One of the most important steps when buying a used vehicle is to check the vehicle history report. In British Columbia, the most commonly used service for this is CARFAX Canada. Their detailed reports can provide valuable information on a vehicle’s background that can impact your decision to purchase.

CARFAX gets its data from sources like police and government agencies, service and repair facilities, and insurance companies. Their reports can show important details including:

 

  • Accident and damage history – Any reported collisions, damages, or insurance claims
  • Odometer readings – Alerts you to any potential odometer rollbacks or issues
  • Open recalls – Safety recalls that haven’t been addressed yet
  • Registration history – How many owners the car had and where it was registered
  • Service history – Maintenance and repairs performed
  • Import records – Shows if the vehicle was imported from another country

 

Having the CARFAX report gives you peace of mind that the vehicle doesn’t have significant prior damages or a questionable history. It also arms you with valuable information to negotiate a fair price with the seller. Always get the report before buying a used vehicle in British Columbia.

 

Negotiate the Price

When it comes time to negotiate the price of a used car in British Columbia, there are some strategies you can use to get the fairest deal. The listed price is often not the lowest a seller will go, there is usually some wiggle room in the price. Here are some tips for negotiating effectively:

– Research the market value. Use resources like Canadian Black Book to find the average price for that make, model, year and mileage of vehicle for your area. This gives you a baseline for a fair price.

– Make a fair offer below asking price. Offer 10-15% below the list price to start negotiations. That gives room to compromise to a fair market price.

– Point out flaws or needed repairs. Note any issues you found during the inspection to ask for a lower price. You can use repair estimates to justify a lower offer.

– Negotiate other perks if needed. If you want additional items such as new tires or a warranty, use that as leverage in the negotiation.

– Set a maximum budget and be ready to walk away. Know the highest price you will pay and stick to it.

– Consider timing. End of month or year the seller may be more motivated to make a deal. But avoid buying under pressure.

By researching the true market value, making fair offers, and employing some negotiating tactics, you can often get a better price when buying a used vehicle in BC.

 

Have an Independent Inspection

Once you’ve done your own inspection and test drive of the used vehicle, the next crucial step is to have a professional pre-purchase inspection done. This should be performed by an independent mechanic, not one recommended by the seller. A thorough inspection by an objective third party can uncover issues that you may have missed or that the seller did not disclose.

A pre-purchase inspection will check all major systems and components, including the engine, transmission, drivetrain, suspension, brakes, electrical systems, and more. The mechanic will be able to identify any problems, defects, or signs of wear and tear. This professional evaluation gives you a much clearer picture of the vehicle’s true condition and may enable you to negotiate a lower price if issues are found.

A pre-purchase inspection typically costs $100-$150. While not mandatory, it is highly recommended before buying any used vehicle. The investment upfront could potentially save you thousands in unanticipated repairs down the road. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing you did your due diligence before making a major purchase.

 

Review Sales Documents Thoroughly

When buying a used car in British Columbia, it is essential to carefully review all sales documents before signing anything. This includes the bill of sale, financing terms, warranty information, and any other paperwork involved in the transaction.

 

Bill of Sale

The bill of sale contains key details about the vehicle such as the VIN, make, model, year, selling price, date of sale, and information about the seller. Review this carefully to ensure all information is accurate. The bill of sale must be signed by both buyer and seller.

 

Financing Terms

If you are financing the used car purchase, scrutinize the financing terms in the contract. This includes the interest rate, length of the loan term, monthly payments, any balloon payments, and early repayment fees. Make sure you understand all the costs involved before signing the financing agreement.

 

Warranty Information

Used vehicles typically come with some type of warranty from the dealer, whether it is the remainder of the factory warranty or a dealer warranty. Review the warranty coverage details carefully so you understand exactly what is and isn’t covered. This includes length of coverage, mileage limits, exclusions, deductibles, and anything else relating to the warranty.

Carefully going over these key sales documents protects you as the buyer and ensures you fully understand the transaction. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and clarify any points – a major purchase like a used car warrants time spent reviewing the fine print.

 

Transfer Registration and Insurance

Once you’ve purchased the used vehicle, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to officially transfer ownership and register the car in your name.

First, you must notify ICBC of the sale within 10 days of purchasing the used car. As the buyer, you are responsible for transferring the registration. Bring the signed transfer/tax form, bill of sale, and your drivers license to an Autoplan broker. The broker will process the paperwork and provide you with a new registration and license plates for the used car.

There is a $18 transfer fee when registering a used vehicle purchased from a private seller. If purchased from a dealer, the fee is $28. In addition, you will need to pay any applicable PST or GST taxes if they were not paid on purchase.

You’ll also need to purchase Autoplan insurance for the used car, which must be done in the name of the registered owner. Bring the used car’s registration to get proof of insurance.

Finally, cancel the insurance on your old car if you are transferring coverage to the used vehicle. Notify your insurance provider of the change right away.

 

Understand Tax Implications

When purchasing a used vehicle in British Columbia, it’s important to understand the tax implications, especially the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and Goods and Services Tax (GST).

If you buy a used vehicle from a private seller in BC, you will not pay GST but you will need to pay PST when you register the vehicle with ICBC. The PST rate can vary depending on the vehicle’s sale price:

 

  • 7% PST on vehicles less than $55,000
  • 8% PST on vehicles priced from $55,000 to $55,999.99
  • 9% PST on vehicles priced from $56,000 to $57,499.99
  • 10% PST on vehicles priced from $57,500 to $61,499.99
  • 15% PST on vehicles priced from $61,500 to $67,499.99
  • 20% PST on vehicles priced $67,500 and above

 

The PST rate is calculated based on the greater of the vehicle’s average wholesale value or the actual purchase price. There are some exemptions, such as for vehicles transferred between certain family members.

If you buy from a registered GST dealer, you will pay GST on the full purchase price. The dealer will collect the GST and provide you with a GST rebate. You still need to pay the applicable PST amount to ICBC when registering the used vehicle.

Ensuring you calculate and pay the correct taxes will make the used car buying process smoother. Keep these tax implications in mind as you negotiate the sale price and complete the purchase.

 

Know Your Rights and Recourses

Buying a used vehicle comes with some inherent risks, so it’s important to understand your legal rights and options for recourse in British Columbia if issues arise after purchase. This can give you peace of mind and help ensure a smooth sales transaction.

Some key consumer protection laws in BC to be aware of include:

 

Legal Protections for Used Car Buyers

BC’s Sale of Goods Act provides protections when buying any consumer good, including used vehicles. It implies certain warranties into all sales contracts – namely, that the vehicle will be of merchantable quality, fit for the intended purpose, and match any description or sample shown.

If the used car you purchase does not live up to these warranties, you have options to return for a refund, replacement, or compensation within a reasonable timeframe after sale. Dealers must repair, replace or provide reimbursement if goods are not merchantable.

 

Returning “Lemons”

BC also has specific legislation allowing buyers to return a used vehicle or receive compensation if it meets the definition of a “lemon” – having recurring problems that cannot be fixed after 3 separate repair attempts, that impact the vehicle’s use, safety or value.

This lemon law provides recourse if you’ve purchased a used dud, without having to go to court. You must report problems within specified timeframes and follow proper process.

additionally, dealers must disclose major defects upfront, and you may be able to cancel a sale contract if undisclosed problems are discovered later on inspection.

Having full information on your rights as a buyer will protect you if issues emerge down the road. Do your homework before purchase so you can buy confidently.

 

Maintenance Tips

Taking good care of your used vehicle will help ensure it continues to run smoothly and reliably. Here are some tips for proper maintenance:

 

Follow the Recommended Service Schedule

The owner’s manual that comes with your used car outlines the recommended service schedule based on the vehicle’s age and mileage. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, fluid flushes, and major services. Stick to this schedule as closely as possible.

 

Keep Records of All Service Work

When you get any maintenance or repairs done, ask the shop for invoices and receipts detailing the work. Keep these records so you have proof of maintenance for future buyers.

 

Address Issues Proactively

Pay attention to your vehicle and address any minor issues before they become major repairs. For example, fluctuating fluid levels, strange noises, pulling, vibrations, and warning lights all indicate areas to look at more closely.

 

Inspect and Replace Worn Parts

Closely inspect parts like tires, brakes, belts, hoses, and fluids. Replace them as needed or according to manufacturer recommendations. Worn parts can lead to breakdowns or unsafe driving conditions.

 

Clean and Protect Surfaces

Keep your used vehicle clean inside and out to prevent corrosion and deterioration. Use protectants on exterior surfaces and vacuum the interior frequently to remove grit and debris.

 

Conclusion

Buying a used car in British Columbia can feel complicated, but breaking the process down into clear steps makes it much more manageable. The most important things to remember are:

 

  • Research extensively to find the right car for your needs and budget.
  • Thoroughly inspect any car you’re considering inside and out.
  • Get a vehicle history report to uncover any past issues or accidents.
  • Have a trusted mechanic do an independent inspection before purchase.
  • Review all sales documents carefully before signing.
  • Make sure registration and insurance are properly transferred into your name.
  • Understand the tax implications based on the car’s price and whether you’re buying privately or from a dealer.
  • Familiarize yourself with your rights regarding implied warranties, returning defective vehicles, and legal recourse.
  • Stay on top of routine maintenance to keep your used car running smoothly.

 

By thoroughly researching your options, inspecting vehicles, understanding regulations and paperwork, and knowing your rights as a buyer, you can feel confident finding and purchasing a high-quality used car in British Columbia.

Common Questions About Buying a Used Car in BC

Before buying a used car in British Columbia, do your research to find a vehicle that matches your needs and budget. Inspect the vehicle thoroughly for any problems, get a vehicle history report to check for accidents or damage, and take it for a test drive with a mechanic to identify any issues. Make sure to check ownership documents for liens, verify service records, and examine the tires, brakes, fluids, belts and hoses. Consider extra fees like taxes, registration, insurance and financing costs. Ask if the vehicle was ever used as a rental, leased, imported from another country or written off as a total loss.

When buying a used car in British Columbia, you’ll need to sign a bill of sale, transfer/tax form (APV9T) and bring valid ID. The bill of sale should include the vehicle’s make, model, year, VIN, odometer reading, purchase amount and signatures of both parties. You’ll also need to show proof of insurance in your name before registering the vehicle. If financing, you’ll sign a loan agreement provided by the lender. Request all service records, ownership history and any warranties or guarantees from the seller in writing as well.

When buying a used vehicle in BC, fees and taxes include:

 

– PST (Provincial Sales Tax) – Ranges from 7% to 20% depending on the vehicle’s price

 

– GST (Goods and Services Tax) – Only charged if buying from a GST registrant dealer

 

– Registration fee – $40 to transfer ownership into your name

 

– Inspection fee – $50 for cars over 5 years old

 

– Tire recycling fee – $7

 

There may also be dealer documentation fees. Use an online sales tax calculator to estimate costs based on the vehicle’s selling price. Fees are lower when buying private instead of from a dealer.

When purchasing a used car in British Columbia, there are a few ways to check its history and records:

 

– Purchase a vehicle history report from CarProof or Carfax using the VIN. This will show accident history, liens, location history and odometer discrepancies.

 

– Contact the seller and request service records, ownership history and details on any major repairs or damage.

 

– Search the vehicle’s VIN on the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to uncover salvage/junk history or stolen vehicle reports

 

– Take the car to a trusted mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. They can assess the vehicle’s condition and flag any issues.

 

Checking a used vehicle’s history helps avoid buying a lemon and verifies details provided by the seller.

When registering a used car in BC, you’ll need to provide:

 

– Completed transfer/tax form (APV9T)

 

– Bill of sale with purchase details

 

– Your valid driver’s license

 

– Previous registration if registered in BC before

 

– Safety inspection certificate if vehicle is over 5 years old

 

– Proof of valid BC insurance

 

– Odometer reading disclosure statement

 

– Any lien documents if financing

 

– PST receipt showing sales tax was paid

 

Having all paperwork ready speeds up the registration process. Make sure to register the vehicle within 10 days of buying to avoid late penalties.

When test driving a used car, check for:

 

– Smooth acceleration and braking

 

– Proper steering responsiveness with no vibrations

 

– Quiet ride without strange noises when turning or changing speeds

 

– All interior functions like lights, radio, seat adjustments working

 

– Warning lights working and proper gauge readings

 

– Good visibility from all seats

 

– Functioning wipers, signals, brake lights and headlights

 

– Tires with even tread wear and adequate pressure

 

– No pulling, drifting or shaking issues

 

Test driving allows you to experience how the car truly drives and helps identify problems the seller may not mention. Take your time and don’t feel rushed.

Key questions to ask a private seller when purchasing a used vehicle in British Columbia include:

 

– How long have you owned the car and where did you buy it originally?

 

– Why are you selling the vehicle?

 

– Has the car ever been in an accident or had major repairs?

 

– Are there any existing problems or things needing repair soon?

 

– What is the average fuel usage per kilometer/mile?

 

– Have all scheduled maintenance and service been done? Can you provide records?

 

– Is there anything else I should know about the history of the car?

 

– How does the car handle in the rain or snow?

 

Asking thorough questions helps determine how well the vehicle has been maintained and if the seller is transparent about its history. This allows for detecting issues early.

When purchasing a used private vehicle in British Columbia, watch out for:

 

– Seller refusing test drives, inspections or access to service records

 

– Car registered out-of-province recently

 

– Odometer tampering or mileage inconsistency

 

– Accident damage like crooked panels or overspray

 

– Rust underneath or on inner wheel wells

 

– Leaks under car from oil, coolant, power steering or transmission

 

– Check engine light illuminated

 

– Brand new parts that don’t match wear and tear

 

– Musty smells signalling water damage

 

– Worn out brake pads, cracked belts or damaged hoses

 

Take time to carefully inspect both inside and outside the vehicle before buying to avoid situations of odometer fraud or cars previously written off as total losses. Consider getting a used vehicle history report for added protection.

BC has strong legal protections when buying a used car including:

 

– Implied warranties – vehicles must be fit for purpose and free of defects

 

– Vehicle history must be disclosed including accidents over $2,000

 

– Seller legally responsible if odometer rolled back or inoperable

 

– Deposits must be returned if misrepresented details uncover issues

 

– Can file lawsuits if seller knew defects but didn’t disclose

 

– Dealers must repair existing defects found within 30 days or 1,500 km

 

Check BC consumer protection laws before buying. Consider legal options if the seller fails to provide details on vehicle history or hide mechanical defects.

When inspecting a used car on the dealership lot in BC, thoroughly check:

 

– Exterior condition – scan for scratches, scrapes, rust, mismatched paint or accident damage

– Tire tread depth, sidewall condition and matching brand/size

– All interior features – test power seats, windows, locks, sound system, lights

– Fluid levels – engine oil, transmission, brake fluid, washer fluid, coolant

– Undercarriage – check for collision damage, corrosion, leaks

– Mechanical components – belts, hoses, catalytic converter, muffler

– Test drive vehicle fully – acceleration, braking, steering, visibility

 

Don’t hesitate to ask questions on service history and point out any imperfections to the salesperson. Ensure problems get written on the purchase agreement before buying.

When purchasing a used vehicle in British Columbia, buyers should negotiate these fees:

 

– Documentation fee – Dealerships charge admin fees up to $800+; negotiate down or removal

 

– Dealer conveyance fee – Added charge for doing vehicle registration; have it removed

 

– Extra accessories – Don’t pay for tinted windows, fabric protection, rust proofing add-ons

 

– Freight delivery fees – Used vehicles already at lot; try getting this charge taken off

 

– Price protection plans – Extended warranties rarely worthwhile; say no

 

The vehicle sticker price, taxes, registration and government fees can’t be negotiated. Focus negotiations on what dealerships can control. Being aware of what fees are excessive prevents overpaying.

Used car financing options in BC include:

 

– Bank/Credit Union Loans – Pre-approval makes negotiation easier; known interest rates

 

– Dealer Financing – Often higher rates but convenient at dealership; negotiate rates/fees

 

– Personal Loans – Alternative when lacking auto credit history; shorter terms

 

– Credit Cards – Higher interest but smaller purchases get bonus rewards

 

– Family & Friends – Borrow from people you know; clear loan terms

 

Compare rates across multiple lenders. Weigh shorter term loans for lower total interest costs. Read all financing agreement details and avoid high pressure sales tactics pushing unnecessary extra products.

To determine reliability of a used car model in British Columbia:

 

– Research online reviews – Common issues for that make, model and year noted

– Check recall databases – Look for outstanding safety recalls requiring repair

– Verify service history – Consistent maintenance indicates reliability

– Have a mechanic inspection – Diagnose worn components needing replacement soon

– Consider Consumer Reports – Reliability scores measure used vehicle dependability

– Ask local mechanics – They know chronic problems for certain vehicles

 

Favouring used Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Subaru models in BC with detailed service records can improve chances of reliability. Checking multiple sources helps identify used vehicles likely to operate well.

Tips when importing a used vehicle to BC from the USA:

 

– Must be 15 years or older to avoid additional fees

– Get safety inspection done before importing

– Convert speedometer reading to metric

– Remove US license plates

– Pay applicable taxes at the border

– Get vehicle appraisal if higher value

– Register car in BC within 45 days

 

Research import rules, confirm car admissibility and check if modifications needed before purchasing vehicle. Ensure all import paperwork ready to avoid border delays and complications.

Tips when importing a used vehicle to BC from the USA:

 

– Must be 15 years or older to avoid additional fees

– Get safety inspection done before importing

– Convert speedometer reading to metric

– Remove US license plates

– Pay applicable taxes at the border

– Get vehicle appraisal if higher value

– Register car in BC within 45 days

 

Research import rules, confirm car admissibility and check if modifications needed before purchasing vehicle. Ensure all import paperwork ready to avoid border delays and complications.

British Columbia’s Used Car Lemon Law holds vehicle dealers accountable when they sell defective used cars. If problems can’t be permanently fixed after 3 attempts, buyers can return the car for a full refund based on the following criteria:

 

– Purchased or leased from a registered BC dealer

– Has defects that would prevent someone from purchasing

– Driven less than 20,000 km at first issue discovery

– Owned for under 1 year

 

This Used Vehicle Sales Authority protects used car buyers from dealers selling vehicles with concealed defects. Exceptions exist for issues where visible damage is assumed.

 

In BC, insurance rates depend on the driver and vehicle factors below when buying used:

 

– Driving experience – New drivers pay much higher premiums

– Driving history – Tickets, crashes raise rates; clean records get discounts

– Car make/model – Sports cars cost more than family sedans

– Vehicle age – Newer cars have higher rates due to replacement value

– Location – Urban areas like Vancouver have the highest premiums

 

Besides legal minimum coverage, consider adding collision, comprehensive and underinsured protection. Purchase enough liability coverage in case of at-fault accidents. Compare quotes across insurers using similar coverage.

Used vehicles typically best holding their value for resale in British Columbia include:

 

– Toyota trucks, SUVs and hybrids

– Honda Civic and CR-V

– Subaru Outback and Forester

– Mazda3 and CX-5

– Nissan Altima and Pathfinder

 

Luxury brands like Lexus, Acura and Infiniti also have high resale value in BC. Checking Canadian Black Book values helps determine specific models that retain value well in the provincial used car market.

Common used car scams reported in BC to avoid include:

 

– Odometer rollback – Seller alters reading for profit

 

– Curbsiding – Unlicensed dealers pose as private sellers

 

– Title washing – Stolen identifying VINs placed on damaged cars

 

– Engine problems – Oil leaks or check lights ignored before sale

 

– Certification – Fake “certified” language used

 

Do test drives, Carproof reports and mechanic inspections to detect issues. Search seller names online for negative reviews. Ask specific questions and watch for vague answers. Trust your instincts walking away from deals seeming too good to be true.

 

Decide What Kind of Car You Need

Before you even start looking at ads or visiting dealerships, think about the type of car that would be best for your needs. Consider the following:

 

Type

Do you need something sporty like a coupe? Practical like a sedan or hatchback? Adventurous like an SUV? Capable like a truck? Identify the body style that aligns with your lifestyle.

 

Size

How much space do you need? Are you single or do you have a family to haul around? Consider your passenger and cargo needs when deciding between compact, mid-size and full-size vehicles. Measure your garage if needed.

 

Purpose

Will this be your primary vehicle for daily commuting and errands? Or a recreational vehicle for road trips and outdoor activities? Knowing your main usage will help determine priorities.

 

Features

Make a list of must-have features like all-wheel-drive, roof rack, towing capacity, heated seats, etc. Decide which features are essential versus just nice-to-have to help narrow your search.

Taking the time to decide what kind of used car fits your needs and preferences will make shopping easier and set you up for satisfaction down the road. Don’t get distracted by eye-catching ads before determining your ideal vehicle type.

 

Set Your Budget

Buying a used car is a major financial decision, so it’s important to determine your budget upfront. Consider both the total budget and monthly payments that work for your income.

Your budget should factor in these costs:

 

  • Down payment: Ideally 20% or more of the total vehicle cost to get the best financing terms
  • Monthly payments: Aim for no more than 10-15% of your monthly take-home income
  • Purchase price: Research prices online for the make/model you want so you know the approximate total budget
  • Taxes & fees: PST, registration, inspection, and documentation fees can add several hundred dollars
  • Insurance: Get quotes for models you’re considering; insurance varies by car
  • Loan interest: If financing, expect to pay 3-8% interest depending on your credit

 

Take your time shopping around, get pre-approved for financing, and negotiate the best deal while staying within your predetermined budget.

 

Search Listings and Online Resources

One of the first steps in buying a used car is searching through listings to find potential vehicles. Here are some of the best places to search for used car listings in British Columbia:

 

  • Autotrader – Autotrader.ca has a huge selection of used car listings from dealerships across British Columbia. You can search by make, model, price and more to narrow down options.
  • Craigslist – The Vancouver and British Columbia Craigslist sites have a used cars and trucks section with vehicles listed by owners.
  • Facebook Marketplace – Search locally listed vehicles in BC groups and Marketplace.
  • UsedVictoria – Specialized site for used car listings on Vancouver Island.
  • Kijiji – Another online classified site with used car ads in Vancouver and other BC cities.

 

When inspecting potential vehicles, bring along the used car checklist from ICBC to identify any issues. Review maintenance records if possible to get an idea of the vehicle history.

For pricing information on specific makes and models, consult Canadian Black Book. This can help you determine if the asking price seems fair compared to the vehicle’s value.

It’s also a good idea to research common mechanical issues, recalls, or problems reported by other owners for any used car you’re interested in buying. Check forums and see if there are any buyer’s guides online specifically for that vehicle.

 

Inspect the Car Thoroughly

One of the most important steps when buying a used car in British Columbia is thoroughly inspecting the vehicle before making a purchase. This involves taking the car for an extensive test drive and having a certified mechanic do a comprehensive inspection. It also means running a vehicle history report to check for any accident history or other problems.

 

Test Drive

You’ll want to test drive the car under different conditions to get a feel for how it handles. Drive on highways, back roads, hills, and in stop-and-go traffic. Listen and feel for any unusual sounds, vibrations, or handling issues. Make sure all features and controls are functioning properly. Take at least 15-20 minutes to properly assess the car.

 

Mechanical Inspection

Have a trusted mechanic do a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s major systems and components. This includes checking the engine, transmission, brakes, suspension, electrical system, etc. They will be able to spot any issues or signs of wear and tear. This professional evaluation is invaluable for identifying potential problems or maintenance needs.

 

Accident History

Run a vehicle history report using the car’s VIN number to uncover any accident damage, collisions, major repairs, or other issues. CarProof and CarFax are two reputable vehicle history report services in Canada. This will reveal important information about the condition and past of the used car you are considering.

 

Check Vehicle History Reports

One of the most important steps when buying a used vehicle is to check the vehicle history report. In British Columbia, the most commonly used service for this is CARFAX Canada. Their detailed reports can provide valuable information on a vehicle’s background that can impact your decision to purchase.

CARFAX gets its data from sources like police and government agencies, service and repair facilities, and insurance companies. Their reports can show important details including:

 

  • Accident and damage history – Any reported collisions, damages, or insurance claims
  • Odometer readings – Alerts you to any potential odometer rollbacks or issues
  • Open recalls – Safety recalls that haven’t been addressed yet
  • Registration history – How many owners the car had and where it was registered
  • Service history – Maintenance and repairs performed
  • Import records – Shows if the vehicle was imported from another country

 

Having the CARFAX report gives you peace of mind that the vehicle doesn’t have significant prior damages or a questionable history. It also arms you with valuable information to negotiate a fair price with the seller. Always get the report before buying a used vehicle in British Columbia.

 

Negotiate the Price

When it comes time to negotiate the price of a used car in British Columbia, there are some strategies you can use to get the fairest deal. The listed price is often not the lowest a seller will go, there is usually some wiggle room in the price. Here are some tips for negotiating effectively:

– Research the market value. Use resources like Canadian Black Book to find the average price for that make, model, year and mileage of vehicle for your area. This gives you a baseline for a fair price.

– Make a fair offer below asking price. Offer 10-15% below the list price to start negotiations. That gives room to compromise to a fair market price.

– Point out flaws or needed repairs. Note any issues you found during the inspection to ask for a lower price. You can use repair estimates to justify a lower offer.

– Negotiate other perks if needed. If you want additional items such as new tires or a warranty, use that as leverage in the negotiation.

– Set a maximum budget and be ready to walk away. Know the highest price you will pay and stick to it.

– Consider timing. End of month or year the seller may be more motivated to make a deal. But avoid buying under pressure.

By researching the true market value, making fair offers, and employing some negotiating tactics, you can often get a better price when buying a used vehicle in BC.

 

Have an Independent Inspection

Once you’ve done your own inspection and test drive of the used vehicle, the next crucial step is to have a professional pre-purchase inspection done. This should be performed by an independent mechanic, not one recommended by the seller. A thorough inspection by an objective third party can uncover issues that you may have missed or that the seller did not disclose.

A pre-purchase inspection will check all major systems and components, including the engine, transmission, drivetrain, suspension, brakes, electrical systems, and more. The mechanic will be able to identify any problems, defects, or signs of wear and tear. This professional evaluation gives you a much clearer picture of the vehicle’s true condition and may enable you to negotiate a lower price if issues are found.

A pre-purchase inspection typically costs $100-$150. While not mandatory, it is highly recommended before buying any used vehicle. The investment upfront could potentially save you thousands in unanticipated repairs down the road. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing you did your due diligence before making a major purchase.

 

Review Sales Documents Thoroughly

When buying a used car in British Columbia, it is essential to carefully review all sales documents before signing anything. This includes the bill of sale, financing terms, warranty information, and any other paperwork involved in the transaction.

 

Bill of Sale

The bill of sale contains key details about the vehicle such as the VIN, make, model, year, selling price, date of sale, and information about the seller. Review this carefully to ensure all information is accurate. The bill of sale must be signed by both buyer and seller.

 

Financing Terms

If you are financing the used car purchase, scrutinize the financing terms in the contract. This includes the interest rate, length of the loan term, monthly payments, any balloon payments, and early repayment fees. Make sure you understand all the costs involved before signing the financing agreement.

 

Warranty Information

Used vehicles typically come with some type of warranty from the dealer, whether it is the remainder of the factory warranty or a dealer warranty. Review the warranty coverage details carefully so you understand exactly what is and isn’t covered. This includes length of coverage, mileage limits, exclusions, deductibles, and anything else relating to the warranty.

Carefully going over these key sales documents protects you as the buyer and ensures you fully understand the transaction. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and clarify any points – a major purchase like a used car warrants time spent reviewing the fine print.

 

Transfer Registration and Insurance

Once you’ve purchased the used vehicle, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to officially transfer ownership and register the car in your name.

First, you must notify ICBC of the sale within 10 days of purchasing the used car. As the buyer, you are responsible for transferring the registration. Bring the signed transfer/tax form, bill of sale, and your drivers license to an Autoplan broker. The broker will process the paperwork and provide you with a new registration and license plates for the used car.

There is a $18 transfer fee when registering a used vehicle purchased from a private seller. If purchased from a dealer, the fee is $28. In addition, you will need to pay any applicable PST or GST taxes if they were not paid on purchase.

You’ll also need to purchase Autoplan insurance for the used car, which must be done in the name of the registered owner. Bring the used car’s registration to get proof of insurance.

Finally, cancel the insurance on your old car if you are transferring coverage to the used vehicle. Notify your insurance provider of the change right away.

 

Understand Tax Implications

When purchasing a used vehicle in British Columbia, it’s important to understand the tax implications, especially the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and Goods and Services Tax (GST).

If you buy a used vehicle from a private seller in BC, you will not pay GST but you will need to pay PST when you register the vehicle with ICBC. The PST rate can vary depending on the vehicle’s sale price:

 

  • 7% PST on vehicles less than $55,000
  • 8% PST on vehicles priced from $55,000 to $55,999.99
  • 9% PST on vehicles priced from $56,000 to $57,499.99
  • 10% PST on vehicles priced from $57,500 to $61,499.99
  • 15% PST on vehicles priced from $61,500 to $67,499.99
  • 20% PST on vehicles priced $67,500 and above

 

The PST rate is calculated based on the greater of the vehicle’s average wholesale value or the actual purchase price. There are some exemptions, such as for vehicles transferred between certain family members.

If you buy from a registered GST dealer, you will pay GST on the full purchase price. The dealer will collect the GST and provide you with a GST rebate. You still need to pay the applicable PST amount to ICBC when registering the used vehicle.

Ensuring you calculate and pay the correct taxes will make the used car buying process smoother. Keep these tax implications in mind as you negotiate the sale price and complete the purchase.

 

Know Your Rights and Recourses

Buying a used vehicle comes with some inherent risks, so it’s important to understand your legal rights and options for recourse in British Columbia if issues arise after purchase. This can give you peace of mind and help ensure a smooth sales transaction.

Some key consumer protection laws in BC to be aware of include:

 

Legal Protections for Used Car Buyers

BC’s Sale of Goods Act provides protections when buying any consumer good, including used vehicles. It implies certain warranties into all sales contracts – namely, that the vehicle will be of merchantable quality, fit for the intended purpose, and match any description or sample shown.

If the used car you purchase does not live up to these warranties, you have options to return for a refund, replacement, or compensation within a reasonable timeframe after sale. Dealers must repair, replace or provide reimbursement if goods are not merchantable.

 

Returning “Lemons”

BC also has specific legislation allowing buyers to return a used vehicle or receive compensation if it meets the definition of a “lemon” – having recurring problems that cannot be fixed after 3 separate repair attempts, that impact the vehicle’s use, safety or value.

This lemon law provides recourse if you’ve purchased a used dud, without having to go to court. You must report problems within specified timeframes and follow proper process.

additionally, dealers must disclose major defects upfront, and you may be able to cancel a sale contract if undisclosed problems are discovered later on inspection.

Having full information on your rights as a buyer will protect you if issues emerge down the road. Do your homework before purchase so you can buy confidently.

 

Maintenance Tips

Taking good care of your used vehicle will help ensure it continues to run smoothly and reliably. Here are some tips for proper maintenance:

 

Follow the Recommended Service Schedule

The owner’s manual that comes with your used car outlines the recommended service schedule based on the vehicle’s age and mileage. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, fluid flushes, and major services. Stick to this schedule as closely as possible.

 

Keep Records of All Service Work

When you get any maintenance or repairs done, ask the shop for invoices and receipts detailing the work. Keep these records so you have proof of maintenance for future buyers.

 

Address Issues Proactively

Pay attention to your vehicle and address any minor issues before they become major repairs. For example, fluctuating fluid levels, strange noises, pulling, vibrations, and warning lights all indicate areas to look at more closely.

 

Inspect and Replace Worn Parts

Closely inspect parts like tires, brakes, belts, hoses, and fluids. Replace them as needed or according to manufacturer recommendations. Worn parts can lead to breakdowns or unsafe driving conditions.

 

Clean and Protect Surfaces

Keep your used vehicle clean inside and out to prevent corrosion and deterioration. Use protectants on exterior surfaces and vacuum the interior frequently to remove grit and debris.

 

Conclusion

Buying a used car in British Columbia can feel complicated, but breaking the process down into clear steps makes it much more manageable. The most important things to remember are:

 

  • Research extensively to find the right car for your needs and budget.
  • Thoroughly inspect any car you’re considering inside and out.
  • Get a vehicle history report to uncover any past issues or accidents.
  • Have a trusted mechanic do an independent inspection before purchase.
  • Review all sales documents carefully before signing.
  • Make sure registration and insurance are properly transferred into your name.
  • Understand the tax implications based on the car’s price and whether you’re buying privately or from a dealer.
  • Familiarize yourself with your rights regarding implied warranties, returning defective vehicles, and legal recourse.
  • Stay on top of routine maintenance to keep your used car running smoothly.

 

By thoroughly researching your options, inspecting vehicles, understanding regulations and paperwork, and knowing your rights as a buyer, you can feel confident finding and purchasing a high-quality used car in British Columbia.

Common Questions About Buying a Used Car in BC

Before buying a used car in British Columbia, do your research to find a vehicle that matches your needs and budget. Inspect the vehicle thoroughly for any problems, get a vehicle history report to check for accidents or damage, and take it for a test drive with a mechanic to identify any issues. Make sure to check ownership documents for liens, verify service records, and examine the tires, brakes, fluids, belts and hoses. Consider extra fees like taxes, registration, insurance and financing costs. Ask if the vehicle was ever used as a rental, leased, imported from another country or written off as a total loss.

When buying a used car in British Columbia, you’ll need to sign a bill of sale, transfer/tax form (APV9T) and bring valid ID. The bill of sale should include the vehicle’s make, model, year, VIN, odometer reading, purchase amount and signatures of both parties. You’ll also need to show proof of insurance in your name before registering the vehicle. If financing, you’ll sign a loan agreement provided by the lender. Request all service records, ownership history and any warranties or guarantees from the seller in writing as well.

When buying a used vehicle in BC, fees and taxes include:

 

– PST (Provincial Sales Tax) – Ranges from 7% to 20% depending on the vehicle’s price

 

– GST (Goods and Services Tax) – Only charged if buying from a GST registrant dealer

 

– Registration fee – $40 to transfer ownership into your name

 

– Inspection fee – $50 for cars over 5 years old

 

– Tire recycling fee – $7

 

There may also be dealer documentation fees. Use an online sales tax calculator to estimate costs based on the vehicle’s selling price. Fees are lower when buying private instead of from a dealer.

When purchasing a used car in British Columbia, there are a few ways to check its history and records:

 

– Purchase a vehicle history report from CarProof or Carfax using the VIN. This will show accident history, liens, location history and odometer discrepancies.

 

– Contact the seller and request service records, ownership history and details on any major repairs or damage.

 

– Search the vehicle’s VIN on the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to uncover salvage/junk history or stolen vehicle reports

 

– Take the car to a trusted mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. They can assess the vehicle’s condition and flag any issues.

 

Checking a used vehicle’s history helps avoid buying a lemon and verifies details provided by the seller.

When registering a used car in BC, you’ll need to provide:

 

– Completed transfer/tax form (APV9T)

 

– Bill of sale with purchase details

 

– Your valid driver’s license

 

– Previous registration if registered in BC before

 

– Safety inspection certificate if vehicle is over 5 years old

 

– Proof of valid BC insurance

 

– Odometer reading disclosure statement

 

– Any lien documents if financing

 

– PST receipt showing sales tax was paid

 

Having all paperwork ready speeds up the registration process. Make sure to register the vehicle within 10 days of buying to avoid late penalties.

When test driving a used car, check for:

 

– Smooth acceleration and braking

 

– Proper steering responsiveness with no vibrations

 

– Quiet ride without strange noises when turning or changing speeds

 

– All interior functions like lights, radio, seat adjustments working

 

– Warning lights working and proper gauge readings

 

– Good visibility from all seats

 

– Functioning wipers, signals, brake lights and headlights

 

– Tires with even tread wear and adequate pressure

 

– No pulling, drifting or shaking issues

 

Test driving allows you to experience how the car truly drives and helps identify problems the seller may not mention. Take your time and don’t feel rushed.

Key questions to ask a private seller when purchasing a used vehicle in British Columbia include:

 

– How long have you owned the car and where did you buy it originally?

 

– Why are you selling the vehicle?

 

– Has the car ever been in an accident or had major repairs?

 

– Are there any existing problems or things needing repair soon?

 

– What is the average fuel usage per kilometer/mile?

 

– Have all scheduled maintenance and service been done? Can you provide records?

 

– Is there anything else I should know about the history of the car?

 

– How does the car handle in the rain or snow?

 

Asking thorough questions helps determine how well the vehicle has been maintained and if the seller is transparent about its history. This allows for detecting issues early.

When purchasing a used private vehicle in British Columbia, watch out for:

 

– Seller refusing test drives, inspections or access to service records

 

– Car registered out-of-province recently

 

– Odometer tampering or mileage inconsistency

 

– Accident damage like crooked panels or overspray

 

– Rust underneath or on inner wheel wells

 

– Leaks under car from oil, coolant, power steering or transmission

 

– Check engine light illuminated

 

– Brand new parts that don’t match wear and tear

 

– Musty smells signalling water damage

 

– Worn out brake pads, cracked belts or damaged hoses

 

Take time to carefully inspect both inside and outside the vehicle before buying to avoid situations of odometer fraud or cars previously written off as total losses. Consider getting a used vehicle history report for added protection.

BC has strong legal protections when buying a used car including:

 

– Implied warranties – vehicles must be fit for purpose and free of defects

 

– Vehicle history must be disclosed including accidents over $2,000

 

– Seller legally responsible if odometer rolled back or inoperable

 

– Deposits must be returned if misrepresented details uncover issues

 

– Can file lawsuits if seller knew defects but didn’t disclose

 

– Dealers must repair existing defects found within 30 days or 1,500 km

 

Check BC consumer protection laws before buying. Consider legal options if the seller fails to provide details on vehicle history or hide mechanical defects.

When inspecting a used car on the dealership lot in BC, thoroughly check:

 

– Exterior condition – scan for scratches, scrapes, rust, mismatched paint or accident damage

– Tire tread depth, sidewall condition and matching brand/size

– All interior features – test power seats, windows, locks, sound system, lights

– Fluid levels – engine oil, transmission, brake fluid, washer fluid, coolant

– Undercarriage – check for collision damage, corrosion, leaks

– Mechanical components – belts, hoses, catalytic converter, muffler

– Test drive vehicle fully – acceleration, braking, steering, visibility

 

Don’t hesitate to ask questions on service history and point out any imperfections to the salesperson. Ensure problems get written on the purchase agreement before buying.

When purchasing a used vehicle in British Columbia, buyers should negotiate these fees:

 

– Documentation fee – Dealerships charge admin fees up to $800+; negotiate down or removal

 

– Dealer conveyance fee – Added charge for doing vehicle registration; have it removed

 

– Extra accessories – Don’t pay for tinted windows, fabric protection, rust proofing add-ons

 

– Freight delivery fees – Used vehicles already at lot; try getting this charge taken off

 

– Price protection plans – Extended warranties rarely worthwhile; say no

 

The vehicle sticker price, taxes, registration and government fees can’t be negotiated. Focus negotiations on what dealerships can control. Being aware of what fees are excessive prevents overpaying.

Used car financing options in BC include:

 

– Bank/Credit Union Loans – Pre-approval makes negotiation easier; known interest rates

 

– Dealer Financing – Often higher rates but convenient at dealership; negotiate rates/fees

 

– Personal Loans – Alternative when lacking auto credit history; shorter terms

 

– Credit Cards – Higher interest but smaller purchases get bonus rewards

 

– Family & Friends – Borrow from people you know; clear loan terms

 

Compare rates across multiple lenders. Weigh shorter term loans for lower total interest costs. Read all financing agreement details and avoid high pressure sales tactics pushing unnecessary extra products.

To determine reliability of a used car model in British Columbia:

 

– Research online reviews – Common issues for that make, model and year noted

– Check recall databases – Look for outstanding safety recalls requiring repair

– Verify service history – Consistent maintenance indicates reliability

– Have a mechanic inspection – Diagnose worn components needing replacement soon

– Consider Consumer Reports – Reliability scores measure used vehicle dependability

– Ask local mechanics – They know chronic problems for certain vehicles

 

Favouring used Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Subaru models in BC with detailed service records can improve chances of reliability. Checking multiple sources helps identify used vehicles likely to operate well.

Tips when importing a used vehicle to BC from the USA:

 

– Must be 15 years or older to avoid additional fees

– Get safety inspection done before importing

– Convert speedometer reading to metric

– Remove US license plates

– Pay applicable taxes at the border

– Get vehicle appraisal if higher value

– Register car in BC within 45 days

 

Research import rules, confirm car admissibility and check if modifications needed before purchasing vehicle. Ensure all import paperwork ready to avoid border delays and complications.

Tips when importing a used vehicle to BC from the USA:

 

– Must be 15 years or older to avoid additional fees

– Get safety inspection done before importing

– Convert speedometer reading to metric

– Remove US license plates

– Pay applicable taxes at the border

– Get vehicle appraisal if higher value

– Register car in BC within 45 days

 

Research import rules, confirm car admissibility and check if modifications needed before purchasing vehicle. Ensure all import paperwork ready to avoid border delays and complications.

British Columbia’s Used Car Lemon Law holds vehicle dealers accountable when they sell defective used cars. If problems can’t be permanently fixed after 3 attempts, buyers can return the car for a full refund based on the following criteria:

 

– Purchased or leased from a registered BC dealer

– Has defects that would prevent someone from purchasing

– Driven less than 20,000 km at first issue discovery

– Owned for under 1 year

 

This Used Vehicle Sales Authority protects used car buyers from dealers selling vehicles with concealed defects. Exceptions exist for issues where visible damage is assumed.

 

In BC, insurance rates depend on the driver and vehicle factors below when buying used:

 

– Driving experience – New drivers pay much higher premiums

– Driving history – Tickets, crashes raise rates; clean records get discounts

– Car make/model – Sports cars cost more than family sedans

– Vehicle age – Newer cars have higher rates due to replacement value

– Location – Urban areas like Vancouver have the highest premiums

 

Besides legal minimum coverage, consider adding collision, comprehensive and underinsured protection. Purchase enough liability coverage in case of at-fault accidents. Compare quotes across insurers using similar coverage.

Used vehicles typically best holding their value for resale in British Columbia include:

 

– Toyota trucks, SUVs and hybrids

– Honda Civic and CR-V

– Subaru Outback and Forester

– Mazda3 and CX-5

– Nissan Altima and Pathfinder

 

Luxury brands like Lexus, Acura and Infiniti also have high resale value in BC. Checking Canadian Black Book values helps determine specific models that retain value well in the provincial used car market.

Common used car scams reported in BC to avoid include:

 

– Odometer rollback – Seller alters reading for profit

 

– Curbsiding – Unlicensed dealers pose as private sellers

 

– Title washing – Stolen identifying VINs placed on damaged cars

 

– Engine problems – Oil leaks or check lights ignored before sale

 

– Certification – Fake “certified” language used

 

Do test drives, Carproof reports and mechanic inspections to detect issues. Search seller names online for negative reviews. Ask specific questions and watch for vague answers. Trust your instincts walking away from deals seeming too good to be true.

 

Decide What Kind of Car You Need

Before you even start looking at ads or visiting dealerships, think about the type of car that would be best for your needs. Consider the following:

 

Type

Do you need something sporty like a coupe? Practical like a sedan or hatchback? Adventurous like an SUV? Capable like a truck? Identify the body style that aligns with your lifestyle.

 

Size

How much space do you need? Are you single or do you have a family to haul around? Consider your passenger and cargo needs when deciding between compact, mid-size and full-size vehicles. Measure your garage if needed.

 

Purpose

Will this be your primary vehicle for daily commuting and errands? Or a recreational vehicle for road trips and outdoor activities? Knowing your main usage will help determine priorities.

 

Features

Make a list of must-have features like all-wheel-drive, roof rack, towing capacity, heated seats, etc. Decide which features are essential versus just nice-to-have to help narrow your search.

Taking the time to decide what kind of used car fits your needs and preferences will make shopping easier and set you up for satisfaction down the road. Don’t get distracted by eye-catching ads before determining your ideal vehicle type.

 

Set Your Budget

Buying a used car is a major financial decision, so it’s important to determine your budget upfront. Consider both the total budget and monthly payments that work for your income.

Your budget should factor in these costs:

 

  • Down payment: Ideally 20% or more of the total vehicle cost to get the best financing terms
  • Monthly payments: Aim for no more than 10-15% of your monthly take-home income
  • Purchase price: Research prices online for the make/model you want so you know the approximate total budget
  • Taxes & fees: PST, registration, inspection, and documentation fees can add several hundred dollars
  • Insurance: Get quotes for models you’re considering; insurance varies by car
  • Loan interest: If financing, expect to pay 3-8% interest depending on your credit

 

Take your time shopping around, get pre-approved for financing, and negotiate the best deal while staying within your predetermined budget.

 

Search Listings and Online Resources

One of the first steps in buying a used car is searching through listings to find potential vehicles. Here are some of the best places to search for used car listings in British Columbia:

 

  • Autotrader – Autotrader.ca has a huge selection of used car listings from dealerships across British Columbia. You can search by make, model, price and more to narrow down options.
  • Craigslist – The Vancouver and British Columbia Craigslist sites have a used cars and trucks section with vehicles listed by owners.
  • Facebook Marketplace – Search locally listed vehicles in BC groups and Marketplace.
  • UsedVictoria – Specialized site for used car listings on Vancouver Island.
  • Kijiji – Another online classified site with used car ads in Vancouver and other BC cities.

 

When inspecting potential vehicles, bring along the used car checklist from ICBC to identify any issues. Review maintenance records if possible to get an idea of the vehicle history.

For pricing information on specific makes and models, consult Canadian Black Book. This can help you determine if the asking price seems fair compared to the vehicle’s value.

It’s also a good idea to research common mechanical issues, recalls, or problems reported by other owners for any used car you’re interested in buying. Check forums and see if there are any buyer’s guides online specifically for that vehicle.

 

Inspect the Car Thoroughly

One of the most important steps when buying a used car in British Columbia is thoroughly inspecting the vehicle before making a purchase. This involves taking the car for an extensive test drive and having a certified mechanic do a comprehensive inspection. It also means running a vehicle history report to check for any accident history or other problems.

 

Test Drive

You’ll want to test drive the car under different conditions to get a feel for how it handles. Drive on highways, back roads, hills, and in stop-and-go traffic. Listen and feel for any unusual sounds, vibrations, or handling issues. Make sure all features and controls are functioning properly. Take at least 15-20 minutes to properly assess the car.

 

Mechanical Inspection

Have a trusted mechanic do a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s major systems and components. This includes checking the engine, transmission, brakes, suspension, electrical system, etc. They will be able to spot any issues or signs of wear and tear. This professional evaluation is invaluable for identifying potential problems or maintenance needs.

 

Accident History

Run a vehicle history report using the car’s VIN number to uncover any accident damage, collisions, major repairs, or other issues. CarProof and CarFax are two reputable vehicle history report services in Canada. This will reveal important information about the condition and past of the used car you are considering.

 

Check Vehicle History Reports

One of the most important steps when buying a used vehicle is to check the vehicle history report. In British Columbia, the most commonly used service for this is CARFAX Canada. Their detailed reports can provide valuable information on a vehicle’s background that can impact your decision to purchase.

CARFAX gets its data from sources like police and government agencies, service and repair facilities, and insurance companies. Their reports can show important details including:

 

  • Accident and damage history – Any reported collisions, damages, or insurance claims
  • Odometer readings – Alerts you to any potential odometer rollbacks or issues
  • Open recalls – Safety recalls that haven’t been addressed yet
  • Registration history – How many owners the car had and where it was registered
  • Service history – Maintenance and repairs performed
  • Import records – Shows if the vehicle was imported from another country

 

Having the CARFAX report gives you peace of mind that the vehicle doesn’t have significant prior damages or a questionable history. It also arms you with valuable information to negotiate a fair price with the seller. Always get the report before buying a used vehicle in British Columbia.

 

Negotiate the Price

When it comes time to negotiate the price of a used car in British Columbia, there are some strategies you can use to get the fairest deal. The listed price is often not the lowest a seller will go, there is usually some wiggle room in the price. Here are some tips for negotiating effectively:

– Research the market value. Use resources like Canadian Black Book to find the average price for that make, model, year and mileage of vehicle for your area. This gives you a baseline for a fair price.

– Make a fair offer below asking price. Offer 10-15% below the list price to start negotiations. That gives room to compromise to a fair market price.

– Point out flaws or needed repairs. Note any issues you found during the inspection to ask for a lower price. You can use repair estimates to justify a lower offer.

– Negotiate other perks if needed. If you want additional items such as new tires or a warranty, use that as leverage in the negotiation.

– Set a maximum budget and be ready to walk away. Know the highest price you will pay and stick to it.

– Consider timing. End of month or year the seller may be more motivated to make a deal. But avoid buying under pressure.

By researching the true market value, making fair offers, and employing some negotiating tactics, you can often get a better price when buying a used vehicle in BC.

 

Have an Independent Inspection

Once you’ve done your own inspection and test drive of the used vehicle, the next crucial step is to have a professional pre-purchase inspection done. This should be performed by an independent mechanic, not one recommended by the seller. A thorough inspection by an objective third party can uncover issues that you may have missed or that the seller did not disclose.

A pre-purchase inspection will check all major systems and components, including the engine, transmission, drivetrain, suspension, brakes, electrical systems, and more. The mechanic will be able to identify any problems, defects, or signs of wear and tear. This professional evaluation gives you a much clearer picture of the vehicle’s true condition and may enable you to negotiate a lower price if issues are found.

A pre-purchase inspection typically costs $100-$150. While not mandatory, it is highly recommended before buying any used vehicle. The investment upfront could potentially save you thousands in unanticipated repairs down the road. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing you did your due diligence before making a major purchase.

 

Review Sales Documents Thoroughly

When buying a used car in British Columbia, it is essential to carefully review all sales documents before signing anything. This includes the bill of sale, financing terms, warranty information, and any other paperwork involved in the transaction.

 

Bill of Sale

The bill of sale contains key details about the vehicle such as the VIN, make, model, year, selling price, date of sale, and information about the seller. Review this carefully to ensure all information is accurate. The bill of sale must be signed by both buyer and seller.

 

Financing Terms

If you are financing the used car purchase, scrutinize the financing terms in the contract. This includes the interest rate, length of the loan term, monthly payments, any balloon payments, and early repayment fees. Make sure you understand all the costs involved before signing the financing agreement.

 

Warranty Information

Used vehicles typically come with some type of warranty from the dealer, whether it is the remainder of the factory warranty or a dealer warranty. Review the warranty coverage details carefully so you understand exactly what is and isn’t covered. This includes length of coverage, mileage limits, exclusions, deductibles, and anything else relating to the warranty.

Carefully going over these key sales documents protects you as the buyer and ensures you fully understand the transaction. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and clarify any points – a major purchase like a used car warrants time spent reviewing the fine print.

 

Transfer Registration and Insurance

Once you’ve purchased the used vehicle, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to officially transfer ownership and register the car in your name.

First, you must notify ICBC of the sale within 10 days of purchasing the used car. As the buyer, you are responsible for transferring the registration. Bring the signed transfer/tax form, bill of sale, and your drivers license to an Autoplan broker. The broker will process the paperwork and provide you with a new registration and license plates for the used car.

There is a $18 transfer fee when registering a used vehicle purchased from a private seller. If purchased from a dealer, the fee is $28. In addition, you will need to pay any applicable PST or GST taxes if they were not paid on purchase.

You’ll also need to purchase Autoplan insurance for the used car, which must be done in the name of the registered owner. Bring the used car’s registration to get proof of insurance.

Finally, cancel the insurance on your old car if you are transferring coverage to the used vehicle. Notify your insurance provider of the change right away.

 

Understand Tax Implications

When purchasing a used vehicle in British Columbia, it’s important to understand the tax implications, especially the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and Goods and Services Tax (GST).

If you buy a used vehicle from a private seller in BC, you will not pay GST but you will need to pay PST when you register the vehicle with ICBC. The PST rate can vary depending on the vehicle’s sale price:

 

  • 7% PST on vehicles less than $55,000
  • 8% PST on vehicles priced from $55,000 to $55,999.99
  • 9% PST on vehicles priced from $56,000 to $57,499.99
  • 10% PST on vehicles priced from $57,500 to $61,499.99
  • 15% PST on vehicles priced from $61,500 to $67,499.99
  • 20% PST on vehicles priced $67,500 and above

 

The PST rate is calculated based on the greater of the vehicle’s average wholesale value or the actual purchase price. There are some exemptions, such as for vehicles transferred between certain family members.

If you buy from a registered GST dealer, you will pay GST on the full purchase price. The dealer will collect the GST and provide you with a GST rebate. You still need to pay the applicable PST amount to ICBC when registering the used vehicle.

Ensuring you calculate and pay the correct taxes will make the used car buying process smoother. Keep these tax implications in mind as you negotiate the sale price and complete the purchase.

 

Know Your Rights and Recourses

Buying a used vehicle comes with some inherent risks, so it’s important to understand your legal rights and options for recourse in British Columbia if issues arise after purchase. This can give you peace of mind and help ensure a smooth sales transaction.

Some key consumer protection laws in BC to be aware of include:

 

Legal Protections for Used Car Buyers

BC’s Sale of Goods Act provides protections when buying any consumer good, including used vehicles. It implies certain warranties into all sales contracts – namely, that the vehicle will be of merchantable quality, fit for the intended purpose, and match any description or sample shown.

If the used car you purchase does not live up to these warranties, you have options to return for a refund, replacement, or compensation within a reasonable timeframe after sale. Dealers must repair, replace or provide reimbursement if goods are not merchantable.

 

Returning “Lemons”

BC also has specific legislation allowing buyers to return a used vehicle or receive compensation if it meets the definition of a “lemon” – having recurring problems that cannot be fixed after 3 separate repair attempts, that impact the vehicle’s use, safety or value.

This lemon law provides recourse if you’ve purchased a used dud, without having to go to court. You must report problems within specified timeframes and follow proper process.

additionally, dealers must disclose major defects upfront, and you may be able to cancel a sale contract if undisclosed problems are discovered later on inspection.

Having full information on your rights as a buyer will protect you if issues emerge down the road. Do your homework before purchase so you can buy confidently.

 

Maintenance Tips

Taking good care of your used vehicle will help ensure it continues to run smoothly and reliably. Here are some tips for proper maintenance:

 

Follow the Recommended Service Schedule

The owner’s manual that comes with your used car outlines the recommended service schedule based on the vehicle’s age and mileage. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, fluid flushes, and major services. Stick to this schedule as closely as possible.

 

Keep Records of All Service Work

When you get any maintenance or repairs done, ask the shop for invoices and receipts detailing the work. Keep these records so you have proof of maintenance for future buyers.

 

Address Issues Proactively

Pay attention to your vehicle and address any minor issues before they become major repairs. For example, fluctuating fluid levels, strange noises, pulling, vibrations, and warning lights all indicate areas to look at more closely.

 

Inspect and Replace Worn Parts

Closely inspect parts like tires, brakes, belts, hoses, and fluids. Replace them as needed or according to manufacturer recommendations. Worn parts can lead to breakdowns or unsafe driving conditions.

 

Clean and Protect Surfaces

Keep your used vehicle clean inside and out to prevent corrosion and deterioration. Use protectants on exterior surfaces and vacuum the interior frequently to remove grit and debris.

 

Conclusion

Buying a used car in British Columbia can feel complicated, but breaking the process down into clear steps makes it much more manageable. The most important things to remember are:

 

  • Research extensively to find the right car for your needs and budget.
  • Thoroughly inspect any car you’re considering inside and out.
  • Get a vehicle history report to uncover any past issues or accidents.
  • Have a trusted mechanic do an independent inspection before purchase.
  • Review all sales documents carefully before signing.
  • Make sure registration and insurance are properly transferred into your name.
  • Understand the tax implications based on the car’s price and whether you’re buying privately or from a dealer.
  • Familiarize yourself with your rights regarding implied warranties, returning defective vehicles, and legal recourse.
  • Stay on top of routine maintenance to keep your used car running smoothly.

 

By thoroughly researching your options, inspecting vehicles, understanding regulations and paperwork, and knowing your rights as a buyer, you can feel confident finding and purchasing a high-quality used car in British Columbia.

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Common Questions About Buying a Used Car in BC

Before buying a used car in British Columbia, do your research to find a vehicle that matches your needs and budget. Inspect the vehicle thoroughly for any problems, get a vehicle history report to check for accidents or damage, and take it for a test drive with a mechanic to identify any issues. Make sure to check ownership documents for liens, verify service records, and examine the tires, brakes, fluids, belts and hoses. Consider extra fees like taxes, registration, insurance and financing costs. Ask if the vehicle was ever used as a rental, leased, imported from another country or written off as a total loss.

When buying a used car in British Columbia, you’ll need to sign a bill of sale, transfer/tax form (APV9T) and bring valid ID. The bill of sale should include the vehicle’s make, model, year, VIN, odometer reading, purchase amount and signatures of both parties. You’ll also need to show proof of insurance in your name before registering the vehicle. If financing, you’ll sign a loan agreement provided by the lender. Request all service records, ownership history and any warranties or guarantees from the seller in writing as well.

When buying a used vehicle in BC, fees and taxes include:

 

– PST (Provincial Sales Tax) – Ranges from 7% to 20% depending on the vehicle’s price

 

– GST (Goods and Services Tax) – Only charged if buying from a GST registrant dealer

 

– Registration fee – $40 to transfer ownership into your name

 

– Inspection fee – $50 for cars over 5 years old

 

– Tire recycling fee – $7

 

There may also be dealer documentation fees. Use an online sales tax calculator to estimate costs based on the vehicle’s selling price. Fees are lower when buying private instead of from a dealer.

When purchasing a used car in British Columbia, there are a few ways to check its history and records:

 

– Purchase a vehicle history report from CarProof or Carfax using the VIN. This will show accident history, liens, location history and odometer discrepancies.

 

– Contact the seller and request service records, ownership history and details on any major repairs or damage.

 

– Search the vehicle’s VIN on the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to uncover salvage/junk history or stolen vehicle reports

 

– Take the car to a trusted mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. They can assess the vehicle’s condition and flag any issues.

 

Checking a used vehicle’s history helps avoid buying a lemon and verifies details provided by the seller.

When registering a used car in BC, you’ll need to provide:

 

– Completed transfer/tax form (APV9T)

 

– Bill of sale with purchase details

 

– Your valid driver’s license

 

– Previous registration if registered in BC before

 

– Safety inspection certificate if vehicle is over 5 years old

 

– Proof of valid BC insurance

 

– Odometer reading disclosure statement

 

– Any lien documents if financing

 

– PST receipt showing sales tax was paid

 

Having all paperwork ready speeds up the registration process. Make sure to register the vehicle within 10 days of buying to avoid late penalties.

When test driving a used car, check for:

 

– Smooth acceleration and braking

 

– Proper steering responsiveness with no vibrations

 

– Quiet ride without strange noises when turning or changing speeds

 

– All interior functions like lights, radio, seat adjustments working

 

– Warning lights working and proper gauge readings

 

– Good visibility from all seats

 

– Functioning wipers, signals, brake lights and headlights

 

– Tires with even tread wear and adequate pressure

 

– No pulling, drifting or shaking issues

 

Test driving allows you to experience how the car truly drives and helps identify problems the seller may not mention. Take your time and don’t feel rushed.

Key questions to ask a private seller when purchasing a used vehicle in British Columbia include:

 

– How long have you owned the car and where did you buy it originally?

 

– Why are you selling the vehicle?

 

– Has the car ever been in an accident or had major repairs?

 

– Are there any existing problems or things needing repair soon?

 

– What is the average fuel usage per kilometer/mile?

 

– Have all scheduled maintenance and service been done? Can you provide records?

 

– Is there anything else I should know about the history of the car?

 

– How does the car handle in the rain or snow?

 

Asking thorough questions helps determine how well the vehicle has been maintained and if the seller is transparent about its history. This allows for detecting issues early.

When purchasing a used private vehicle in British Columbia, watch out for:

 

– Seller refusing test drives, inspections or access to service records

 

– Car registered out-of-province recently

 

– Odometer tampering or mileage inconsistency

 

– Accident damage like crooked panels or overspray

 

– Rust underneath or on inner wheel wells

 

– Leaks under car from oil, coolant, power steering or transmission

 

– Check engine light illuminated

 

– Brand new parts that don’t match wear and tear

 

– Musty smells signalling water damage

 

– Worn out brake pads, cracked belts or damaged hoses

 

Take time to carefully inspect both inside and outside the vehicle before buying to avoid situations of odometer fraud or cars previously written off as total losses. Consider getting a used vehicle history report for added protection.

BC has strong legal protections when buying a used car including:

 

– Implied warranties – vehicles must be fit for purpose and free of defects

 

– Vehicle history must be disclosed including accidents over $2,000

 

– Seller legally responsible if odometer rolled back or inoperable

 

– Deposits must be returned if misrepresented details uncover issues

 

– Can file lawsuits if seller knew defects but didn’t disclose

 

– Dealers must repair existing defects found within 30 days or 1,500 km

 

Check BC consumer protection laws before buying. Consider legal options if the seller fails to provide details on vehicle history or hide mechanical defects.

When inspecting a used car on the dealership lot in BC, thoroughly check:

 

– Exterior condition – scan for scratches, scrapes, rust, mismatched paint or accident damage

– Tire tread depth, sidewall condition and matching brand/size

– All interior features – test power seats, windows, locks, sound system, lights

– Fluid levels – engine oil, transmission, brake fluid, washer fluid, coolant

– Undercarriage – check for collision damage, corrosion, leaks

– Mechanical components – belts, hoses, catalytic converter, muffler

– Test drive vehicle fully – acceleration, braking, steering, visibility

 

Don’t hesitate to ask questions on service history and point out any imperfections to the salesperson. Ensure problems get written on the purchase agreement before buying.

When purchasing a used vehicle in British Columbia, buyers should negotiate these fees:

 

– Documentation fee – Dealerships charge admin fees up to $800+; negotiate down or removal

 

– Dealer conveyance fee – Added charge for doing vehicle registration; have it removed

 

– Extra accessories – Don’t pay for tinted windows, fabric protection, rust proofing add-ons

 

– Freight delivery fees – Used vehicles already at lot; try getting this charge taken off

 

– Price protection plans – Extended warranties rarely worthwhile; say no

 

The vehicle sticker price, taxes, registration and government fees can’t be negotiated. Focus negotiations on what dealerships can control. Being aware of what fees are excessive prevents overpaying.

Used car financing options in BC include:

 

– Bank/Credit Union Loans – Pre-approval makes negotiation easier; known interest rates

 

– Dealer Financing – Often higher rates but convenient at dealership; negotiate rates/fees

 

– Personal Loans – Alternative when lacking auto credit history; shorter terms

 

– Credit Cards – Higher interest but smaller purchases get bonus rewards

 

– Family & Friends – Borrow from people you know; clear loan terms

 

Compare rates across multiple lenders. Weigh shorter term loans for lower total interest costs. Read all financing agreement details and avoid high pressure sales tactics pushing unnecessary extra products.

To determine reliability of a used car model in British Columbia:

 

– Research online reviews – Common issues for that make, model and year noted

– Check recall databases – Look for outstanding safety recalls requiring repair

– Verify service history – Consistent maintenance indicates reliability

– Have a mechanic inspection – Diagnose worn components needing replacement soon

– Consider Consumer Reports – Reliability scores measure used vehicle dependability

– Ask local mechanics – They know chronic problems for certain vehicles

 

Favouring used Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Subaru models in BC with detailed service records can improve chances of reliability. Checking multiple sources helps identify used vehicles likely to operate well.

Tips when importing a used vehicle to BC from the USA:

 

– Must be 15 years or older to avoid additional fees

– Get safety inspection done before importing

– Convert speedometer reading to metric

– Remove US license plates

– Pay applicable taxes at the border

– Get vehicle appraisal if higher value

– Register car in BC within 45 days

 

Research import rules, confirm car admissibility and check if modifications needed before purchasing vehicle. Ensure all import paperwork ready to avoid border delays and complications.

Tips when importing a used vehicle to BC from the USA:

 

– Must be 15 years or older to avoid additional fees

– Get safety inspection done before importing

– Convert speedometer reading to metric

– Remove US license plates

– Pay applicable taxes at the border

– Get vehicle appraisal if higher value

– Register car in BC within 45 days

 

Research import rules, confirm car admissibility and check if modifications needed before purchasing vehicle. Ensure all import paperwork ready to avoid border delays and complications.

British Columbia’s Used Car Lemon Law holds vehicle dealers accountable when they sell defective used cars. If problems can’t be permanently fixed after 3 attempts, buyers can return the car for a full refund based on the following criteria:

 

– Purchased or leased from a registered BC dealer

– Has defects that would prevent someone from purchasing

– Driven less than 20,000 km at first issue discovery

– Owned for under 1 year

 

This Used Vehicle Sales Authority protects used car buyers from dealers selling vehicles with concealed defects. Exceptions exist for issues where visible damage is assumed.

 

In BC, insurance rates depend on the driver and vehicle factors below when buying used:

 

– Driving experience – New drivers pay much higher premiums

– Driving history – Tickets, crashes raise rates; clean records get discounts

– Car make/model – Sports cars cost more than family sedans

– Vehicle age – Newer cars have higher rates due to replacement value

– Location – Urban areas like Vancouver have the highest premiums

 

Besides legal minimum coverage, consider adding collision, comprehensive and underinsured protection. Purchase enough liability coverage in case of at-fault accidents. Compare quotes across insurers using similar coverage.

Used vehicles typically best holding their value for resale in British Columbia include:

 

– Toyota trucks, SUVs and hybrids

– Honda Civic and CR-V

– Subaru Outback and Forester

– Mazda3 and CX-5

– Nissan Altima and Pathfinder

 

Luxury brands like Lexus, Acura and Infiniti also have high resale value in BC. Checking Canadian Black Book values helps determine specific models that retain value well in the provincial used car market.

Common used car scams reported in BC to avoid include:

 

– Odometer rollback – Seller alters reading for profit

 

– Curbsiding – Unlicensed dealers pose as private sellers

 

– Title washing – Stolen identifying VINs placed on damaged cars

 

– Engine problems – Oil leaks or check lights ignored before sale

 

– Certification – Fake “certified” language used

 

Do test drives, Carproof reports and mechanic inspections to detect issues. Search seller names online for negative reviews. Ask specific questions and watch for vague answers. Trust your instincts walking away from deals seeming too good to be true.

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