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How to Buy a Used Car in Ontario

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Buying a used car can be an exciting yet daunting experience. With so many makes, models, and options to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, armed with the right information and preparation, you can find the perfect used car at the right price in Ontario.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of buying a used vehicle in Ontario, from creating your budget to signing on the dotted line. We’ll provide tips on how to research the market, inspect a vehicle thoroughly, check its history, negotiate the best deal, and complete the purchase smoothly.

Follow this guide, and you’ll avoid the common mistakes that many buyers make. You’ll end up with a reliable used car that fits your needs and budget, alongside the peace of mind that comes with making an informed purchase. Let’s begin!

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Determine Your Budget

The first step in buying a used car in Ontario is determining your budget – how much can you realistically afford to spend on the car itself as well as associated costs like insurance, maintenance, and fees? Be sure to consider not just the purchase price but also:

 

  • Taxes – In Ontario, you’ll pay 13% HST on used vehicle purchases
  • Licensing fees – These include permit and potential license plate fees ($32-$59)
  • Insurance – Research rates based on the vehicles you’re considering to get an estimate
  • Interest if financing – Determine payments you’re comfortable with over the loan term
  • Fuel – Estimate based on mileage and gas prices in your area
  • Maintenance and repairs – Older used cars tend to cost more in upkeep

 

Add up all these costs to determine your total budget. It’s better to overestimate expenses rather than finding yourself strapped for cash down the road. And don’t forget to factor in savings for any unexpected repairs that may come up.

Setting a clear used car budget before you start shopping will help narrow your options to affordable vehicles that fit both your transportation needs and financial situation.

 

Research the Market

Once you determine your budget, the next step is researching the market to find the right used car for you. There are many factors to consider when comparing different makes and models:

 

Compare Models

Look at different models that fit your needs and budget. Compare things like size, fuel economy, performance, cargo space, tech features, reliability ratings, safety ratings, and resale value. Sites like AutoTrader, Kijiji Autos, and CarGurus allow you to easily compare specs, prices, reviews, ratings, and listings for various makes and models side-by-side.

 

Reliability

Review predicted reliability ratings from consumer resources like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. Japanese and Korean brands like Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Hyundai, and Kia tend to score better than American and European brands. Check recalls too. Vehicles with lots of recalls tend to continue having issues down the road.

 

Ownership Costs

Factor in both purchase price and estimated ownership costs over the years you plan to own the vehicle. Ownership costs include fuel, insurance, maintenance and repairs. More complex luxury and performance cars tend to cost more to insure and maintain. Simple basic transportation cars are often cheapest to own long-term.

 

Find Your Car

Once you know your budget and the type of vehicle you want, it’s time to start searching for that perfect used car. There are several places you can look to find used vehicles for sale:

 

Online Ads

Sites like Autotrader, Kijiji, and Craigslist allow individuals and dealers to post used car ads. You can search by make, model, year, price, and other factors to find options in your area. Online ads provide lots of photos and details upfront so you can get an idea if a vehicle may be right for you.

 

Dealerships

Many car dealerships have a used vehicle department with pre-owned models for sale. Shopping at a dealership provides a larger selection in one place. Dealerships will often inspect and recondition used cars before selling. However, dealer prices tend to be higher than private sales.

 

Auctions

Government, police, and some private auctions sell used vehicles to dealers and the public. Auctions can occasionally yield good deals but don’t allow test drives or vehicle inspection. Do your research to understand the auction process and risks before buying this way.

 

Private Sellers

Buying from a private seller is common for used cars. Online ads, your network of family and friends, or simply seeing a “for sale” sign in a vehicle’s window are ways to connect with private sellers. Pricing may be more negotiable than a dealership. However, private sales take more effort to ensure the vehicle’s condition.

 

Test Drive It

The test drive is one of the most important steps when buying a used car in Ontario. This is your chance to get behind the wheel and get a feel for the vehicle before making any commitments. Approach the test drive seriously and pay attention to these key factors:

 

Feel

How does the vehicle feel to drive? Is the steering tight and responsive or loose and floaty? Do the brakes feel sharp and grabby or soft and spongy? Are the gas and clutch pedals positioned comfortably? Does the seat provide adequate support? Overall, the car should feel solid, stable and inspire confidence.

 

Mechanics

Listen for any unusual engine or transmission noises. The engine should run smoothly without knocking, pinging or sputtering. Gear changes should be smooth and quiet. Check that all accessories and features like lights, wipers, radio etc. are functioning properly.

 

Comfort

Is the driver’s seat adjustable and comfortable over a longer drive? Do you have good visibility out the front, sides and rear? Is the steering wheel and pedal position optimal? Are cabin noise and road vibration well suppressed? This will impact your day-to-day enjoyment.

 

Features

Test out all the features and technology like cruise control, parking assist, infotainment system etc. Make sure you understand how to operate them and are satisfied with their performance. Don’t make assumptions – if unsure, request an explanation from the seller.

Taking it for a lengthy test drive on a mix of roads will reveal a lot about the vehicle. Don’t feel rushed; drive it as you would day-to-day. Head home feeling confident you’ve thoroughly put it through its paces.

 

Inspect Thoroughly

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time for an in-depth inspection of the vehicle. Don’t rely solely on a test drive and owner assurances – you need to verify the car’s condition yourself before committing to a purchase.

 

Engine

Pop the hood and take a close look at the engine bay. Look for any leaks, damage, corrosion or excessive dirt and grime. Check all fluid levels including engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant. Fluids should not be cloudy or have particles in them. Note the condition of belts, hoses and accessories like the alternator, water pump and power steering pump.

 

Body

Do a walk around, inspecting every inch of the exterior. Check for body damage, misaligned panels, scratches, dents, rust or paint issues. Look at the lines where doors, hood and trunk close – large gaps can indicate damage. Inspect the windshield and other glass for cracks or chips. Examine the tires’ tread depth and wear. Look under the car for rust, leaks or damage.

 

Interior

Check the interior thoroughly. Look for excessive wear, stains, tears or damage on the seats, carpets, headliner and door panels. Make sure all controls, buttons and electrical components function properly. Verify heat and AC blow hot and cold. Check seat adjustments and seat belts. Ensure dash warning lights illuminate properly when ignition turned on. Confirm stereo, speakers and any onboard tech works correctly.

 

Mechanics

In addition to test driving, have a mechanic put the car on a lift and inspect the underside. They’ll check the brakes, suspension, steering, driveline and exhaust system. This professional inspection can reveal issues not apparent in a test drive. They can provide an objective assessment of any repairs or maintenance needed.

 

Check History

One of the most important steps when buying a used vehicle is thoroughly checking its history. This helps uncover any past issues or problems with the car that could affect its safety, value and reliability down the road.

There are a few key things you’ll want to research about the used car’s history:

 

Accidents

Run a vehicle history report to see if the car has been in any reported accidents. Even minor accidents can cause underlying damage that’s not visible. Knowing the details of any past collisions will give you a better sense of potential repairs needed.

Watch for signs of accident repairs like mismatched paint or body panels that don’t quite line up. Test drive carefully and listen for any unusual noises that could indicate accident damage.

 

Ownership History

Request records showing the number of previous owners. More owners can mean more wear and tear, but it’s not necessarily bad if the mileage was low. One meticulous long-term owner is ideal.

Ask the seller for maintenance records from previous owners. This shows the car was properly cared for.

 

Repair History

Maintenance records will also indicate any major repairs or issues. Things like recurring engine problems or transmission repairs will give you insight into potential weak spots.

Look into recalls as well – are there any outstanding ones that haven’t been addressed? This could be a negotiation point for getting repair work done.

A thorough history check protects you from buying someone else’s problem car. Spend the time upfront doing research, so you can feel confident in your used car purchase.

 

Negotiate

Negotiating the price of a used car is often expected, especially when buying privately. Come prepared with a target price based on your research. When making an offer, start lower than your maximum budget, but keep it realistic. The seller likely researched similar models too.

If your offer is too low, be ready to come up a bit. But don’t go above your predetermined ceiling. Explain how you arrived at your number by referencing mileage, condition, demand, and other market listings of the same vehicle.

Point out any flaws or issues discovered during the test drive and inspection to politely ask for a discount. But avoid an adversarial approach. Keep negotiations friendly and focus on finding middle ground.

Both parties want the best deal. Don’t get emotionally attached as negotiations require some give and take. Make sure any agreed discounts or inclusions like a set of winter tires are documented in writing before finalizing the sale.

With patience and persistence, you can bargain your way into an affordable used car without compromising. Test different strategies and numbers to determine what motivates the seller to agree on a fair price.

 

Finalize the Sale

Once you have negotiated a final price and are ready to complete the transaction, you will need the seller to sign over the ownership of the vehicle. This is done through a bill of sale. The bill of sale is an important legal document that provides proof that a sale has taken place and that the ownership of the vehicle has been transferred to you. Here are some key things to remember about the bill of sale:

 

  • It should contain key details about the transaction like VIN, make/model, year, mileage, names of buyer and seller, sale price, date of sale etc.
  • Review it carefully before signing to ensure all information is correct.
  • Both the seller and buyer should sign and each keep a copy.
  • It provides protection to both parties if any issues arise later.

 

For payment, it is best to avoid paying fully in cash if possible. Using a personal cheque, bank draft or etransfer provides a paper trail and protects you if anything goes wrong later. Make sure to get a receipt from the seller as well.

Once you have the signed bill of sale and receipt, the vehicle is yours! Just remember to officially register it and transfer the ownership into your name within 6 days in Ontario.

 

Register the Vehicle

Once you’ve purchased the used vehicle, you’ll need to transfer ownership by registering the vehicle under your name. This process needs to be completed within 6 days of purchasing the used vehicle in Ontario.

To transfer ownership, you’ll need to visit a ServiceOntario location. Bring the used vehicle, the signed vehicle registration, and photo ID. Pay the applicable registration fee – this will be $59 if you need new license plates, or $32 if you’re keeping the current plates.

During the registration process, ownership of the vehicle will be transferred to your name. You’ll receive a vehicle permit that must be displayed on the vehicle until the license plates arrive by mail within 4-6 weeks if you ordered new plates. Ensure you have valid insurance before driving the used vehicle. Keep the Bill of Sale and previous owner’s registration documents for your records.

Registering the used vehicle is a critical step to ensure legal ownership under your name. Take the time to properly transfer and register the vehicle with the government to avoid issues down the road.

 

Insure Your Vehicle

Once you’ve purchased the used vehicle, you’ll need to insure it before driving it away. You cannot legally drive an uninsured vehicle in Ontario. Check with your existing auto insurance provider to add the used vehicle to your policy. Provide them details like the VIN, year/make/model and your ownership information.

If getting a new policy, get quotes from multiple providers. Look for the coverage you need at the best available rate. Provide insurers with information about the used vehicle and your driving history. Consider discounts you may qualify for, like a bundle discount for having home and auto insurance together.

Make sure you have the minimum mandatory coverage in Ontario: $200,000 third-party liability, accident benefits, direct compensation property damage and uninsured auto. You may also want collision and comprehensive if your vehicle has significant value. Understand any exclusions, limitations or deductibles that apply.

Get either a paper insurance slip or electronic proof of insurance before driving away. You must be able to provide valid insurance documentation at any time when driving or law enforcement can request it. Fines for driving an uninsured vehicle can be over $5,000.

Getting insurance ahead of driving also provides peace of mind. You’ll know you and the vehicle are protected from day one in case an accident occurs shortly after purchase.

 

Safety Inspection

Before registering and licensing your used vehicle in Ontario, you’ll need to get a safety certificate known as a Safety Standards Certificate. This mandatory inspection checks that the vehicle meets Ontario’s minimum safety standards.

Safety inspections must be done at licensed Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations. Look for a station near you. The cost is around $100-$150 for the inspection.

The safety inspection will check the following:

 

  • Brake system
  • Lights and electrical system
  • Seatbelts
  • Tires
  • Suspension components
  • Steering
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • Speedometer
  • Windshield and windows
  • Horns
  • Mirrors

 

If your vehicle passes the safety inspection, you’ll get a Safety Standards Certificate that is valid for 36 days. This certificate is required to register and plate your used vehicle.

If your vehicle fails the safety inspection, you’ll need to get the issues fixed and re-inspected before getting the certificate. Make sure any identified issues are resolved before purchasing the used vehicle.

Getting a Safety Standards Certificate ensures your used car meets the safety requirements to be legally driven in Ontario. This protects you and other road users.

 

Celebrate Your Purchase

Congratulations, you did it! Buying a used vehicle in Ontario can seem daunting, but now that you’ve gone through the entire process and driven your new-to-you car off the lot, it’s time to celebrate. Pat yourself on the back for doing thorough research, asking the right questions, avoiding rushed decisions, and ending up with a reliable used car at a fair price. The hard work has paid off.

After finalizing all the paperwork, registering the car, and getting insurance, the new car excitement can finally set in. You’ve likely been dreaming about this day for a while. Now is the time to show off your new ride to friends and family, take it for an exciting first spin on the open roads, and start imagining all the adventures to come. Roll down the windows, crank up your favourite driving tunes, and soak up that new car feeling!

Owning a car is a big responsibility, but it also brings a sense of freedom, control, and maturity. This car represents your independence and transition into adulthood. You will make memories in this car, develop your confidence as a driver, and fully take ownership of your mobility. This milestone is a chance for building important life skills as well. Enjoy this important moment and the excitement that comes with your first car.

The hard work is behind you. For now, it’s time to celebrate this accomplishment. Your used car search is finally over. Time to start reaping the rewards of having your own set of wheels.

 

Maintenance Tips for Used Cars

Regular maintenance and upkeep is crucial for ensuring your used car lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips on keeping your used vehicle in good running condition:

 

Oil Changes

Get your oil changed regularly every 5,000-8,000 km. Check the vehicle manual for the recommended oil change interval. Use the right type of motor oil for your vehicle’s year, make and model. Have the oil filter changed at the same time.

 

Fluid Checks

Check all fluid levels on a monthly basis including engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant and windshield washer fluid. Top up any low fluids as needed.

 

Tire Maintenance

Inspect tire pressure and tread depth monthly. Tires wear faster when underinflated. Rotate tires every 8,000-12,000 km for more even tread wear. Replace worn tires for better fuel economy, traction and safety.

 

Brakes

Have brake pads and rotors inspected annually or every 20,000 km. Worn brake components reduce stopping power. Have them replaced before they damage the brake system.

 

Filters

Replace the engine air filter every 20,000 to 30,000 km or as needed. A dirty air filter restricts airflow and can reduce fuel efficiency. The cabin air filter should be changed every 40,000 km for cleaner air.

 

Tune-ups

Have a full tune-up every 50,000 km or as recommended. This includes new spark plugs, fuel filter, PCV valve and fuel injection cleaning if required. A tune-up optimizes performance and mileage.

 

Inspections

Take your vehicle for regular inspections by a trusted mechanic. They can spot potential problems early and advise on maintenance needs. Address issues promptly to avoid further damage.

With regular care and maintenance, your used vehicle can continue running smoothly and reliably for years to come. The effort is well worth it!

 

Conclusion

Buying a used vehicle in Ontario can be an exciting experience, but also requires some careful planning and research. By setting a realistic budget, thoroughly researching different brands and models, test driving your top choices, having a mechanic inspect the vehicle, checking the vehicle history report, negotiating a fair price, finalizing all paperwork, registering the vehicle properly, and getting adequate insurance, you will end up with a used vehicle that meets your needs and budget.

Once you have purchased your used vehicle, be sure to keep up with routine maintenance and repairs to keep it in good running condition. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and keep records of all services performed. Address any issues promptly to prevent small problems from turning into major repairs down the road.

With the right preparation and knowledge, purchasing a used vehicle in Ontario can be a smooth and satisfactory experience. Take the time to find the right vehicle for your needs and budget, and it will serve you well for years to come.

Common Questions About Buying a Used Car in Ontario

When budgeting for a used car purchase in Ontario, you’ll need to factor in the vehicle cost along with taxes and fees. Expect to pay 13% HST on the purchase price. You’ll also pay $32-59 for a used vehicle information package and vehicle permit fee when transferring ownership. Finally, budget for safety certification ($89), licensing fees if needed, and insurance costs. Get quotes beforehand so your total budget is accurate.

When buying a used car privately in Ontario, make sure to get a bill of sale and the used vehicle information package (UVIP) from the seller. The bill of sale records purchase details like VIN, price paid, date, and buyer/seller info. It serves as proof of sale. The UVIP confirms ownership, liens, branding history and more. Bring both when registering the car under your name at ServiceOntario.

Yes, a valid safety standards certificate is required when registering a used car purchase in Ontario, except for private sales of vehicles older than 36 years. The certificate confirms the vehicle meets safety requirements. If the used car you’re buying doesn’t have a valid certificate, you’ll need to get one done before registering the change of ownership, at a cost of $89.

Key questions to ask private sellers of used cars in Ontario include:

Why are you selling the car?

How long have you had it and were you the original owner?

Has it been in any accidents?

What is the maintenance history – any major repairs?

Is everything in working order?

Do you have service records I can see?

How’s the gas mileage?

Can I take it for an inspection and test drive?

Be informed before negotiating or committing to buy.

When buying a used car in Ontario and registering it under your name, you’ll pay a vehicle transfer fee of $32 if keeping the current license plates or $59 if getting new plates. You’ll also owe 13% HST on the vehicle’s purchase price and a potential driver’s license fee if exchanging an out-of-province license. Shop insurance rates beforehand and expect additional driving record fees.

When you buy a used car from a dealership in Ontario, make sure you receive a bill of sale, safety standards certificate, ownership paperwork transferring the vehicle title to your name, warranty documents if applicable, and valid e-test documents if required. Review all paperwork thoroughly before finalizing the used car purchase.

Yes, getting a CARFAX or Carproof report is highly recommended when buying a used car in Ontario. These vehicle history reports uncover any accidents, liens, odometer rollbacks, U.S. history of the car, open recalls and more based on the VIN. They verify what the seller tells you and are essential for making an informed used car purchase.

Key questions to ask the seller when buying a used car include: Why are you selling the vehicle? How long have you owned it? Has it been in any accidents? What is the maintenance history and are there service records available? Have there been any major repairs? Is everything in working order? Why is it priced lower than similar models? Can I test drive it and have a mechanic inspect it? Asking the right questions helps avoid buying a lemon.

Buying a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) used car in Ontario typically provides more peace of mind compared to a non-certified vehicle. CPO cars pass rigorous inspections, often come with extended warranty coverage, roadside assistance, incentives and more. However they cost more than non-CPO vehicles. Review inspection reports, Carproof vehicle histories and test drive both to decide what offers the better value.

Tips for negotiating the best price when buying a used car in Ontario include: Research trade-in values beforehand on sites like Canadian Black Book to establish fair pricing. Determine the highest offer you can make while still getting a good deal. Test drive the car first before discussing numbers. Pitch your offer casually, then be patient. Mention competing vehicles if they refuse. Offer to pay cash or get your own financing. Suggest meeting halfway.

Exercising caution with private used car purchases in Ontario is key to avoiding scams and lemon vehicles. Have a mechanic inspect it first. Meet the seller at their home if possible and verify their identity. Test drive the car extensively. Get a CARFAX report to check for accidents, liens, odometer rollbacks and U.S. history. Ask to see maintenance records. Pay by certified cheque not cash. Take the car to ServiceOntario to register ownership under your name asap.

While a used car in Ontario with over 200,000 km will likely require more maintenance and repairs down the road compared to lower-mileage vehicles, it isn’t necessarily risky if the right precautions are taken. Have a trusted mechanic inspect it thoroughly first. Review all vehicle history and confirm regular maintenance was performed. The engine, transmission and other components may still have plenty of life left if properly cared for. Test drive it extensively before deciding.

Those buying a used vehicle from a private seller instead of a dealership in Ontario need to carefully inspect the car and ask the right questions to avoid problems. Look for body damage, check all functions and mechanical components during an extensive test drive, and scan for warning lights indicating issues. Ask why they’re selling, verify vehicle history, review maintenance records, and get a safety standards certificate. Don’t rely purely on someone’s word when making this large purchase.

When buying a used car in Ontario, checking for liens beforehand is crucial. A lien means the previous owner still owes money on the vehicle to a lender, meaning it could get repossessed from you. Insist on getting a used vehicle information package from the seller first, which will state any liens. Additionally, order a Carproof or CARFAX report, which uncover liens and other title issues via the car’s VIN number so you buy with confidence.

Used car dealerships usually offer perks like financing assistance, certified pre-owned models with warranties, and vehicles thoroughly checked over by mechanics. However private sellers generally sell the same used cars for much lower prices. Weigh factors like price and car history for private sales vs the convenience and assurances of dealerships. Get any used car independently inspected before finalizing a purchase.

When registering a used vehicle purchase under your name at an Ontario Service center, you’ll need to provide the used vehicle information package (UVIP) and bill of sale obtained from the seller, along with valid safety standards certificate, proof of insurance, driver’s license, and applicable vehicle transfer fees. Present a completed vehicle permit transferring ownership into your name as well to complete the car title transfer process smoothly.

Immediately after buying a used car from an individual seller instead of a dealer in Ontario, make registering the ownership transfer under your name at ServiceOntario and getting valid plates/sticker your top priority, along with insurance coverage for the vehicle. Ensure the bill of sale and UVIP ownership documentation from the seller match. Consider getting a post-purchase inspection for peace of mind even if you test drove the car. Celebrate your used car deal only after protecting yourself through proper registration!

Unfortunately, Ontario’s laws offer little protection if you discover problems with a used car after purchase. You don’t get an implied warranty. That’s why thorough inspections beforehand are crucial. If the seller lied or committed fraud by hiding defects they were aware of, you can sue in small claims court within two years. It’s difficult to prove though, so your best recourse is having any used car checked over by an independent mechanic without bias before buying.

Getting car insurance secured immediately after buying a used vehicle is essential for legally driving in Ontario, and rates can vary dramatically between providers. Use online insurance quotes generators to compare rates from various companies conveniently. Opting for higher deductibles or bundling your home insurance can make policies more affordable too. Maintaining good credit and a clean driving history will also keep used car insurance costs down.

The classified listings site Kijiji is one of the best places to find used cars for sale by their private owners instead of dealerships in Ontario. Facebook Marketplace also lists many individual seller vehicles. Sort search filters by distance to see private sale cars for sale closest to your location. Autotrader.ca, Craigslist.ca and CarGurus also display used vehicle private sale listings across Ontario to potentially save buyers money over dealer costs.

Uncovering the history of a used car for sale in Ontario is easy with online vehicle history report services like Carproof and CARFAX Canada. By simply entering the 17-digit VIN number of the used auto, these databases run over 300 checks digging into previous owners, odometer readings, accident reports, open recalls, Canadian/U.S. registration records, liens and more. Vehicle history reports bring peace of mind when car shopping.

 

Determine Your Budget

The first step in buying a used car in Ontario is determining your budget – how much can you realistically afford to spend on the car itself as well as associated costs like insurance, maintenance, and fees? Be sure to consider not just the purchase price but also:

 

  • Taxes – In Ontario, you’ll pay 13% HST on used vehicle purchases
  • Licensing fees – These include permit and potential license plate fees ($32-$59)
  • Insurance – Research rates based on the vehicles you’re considering to get an estimate
  • Interest if financing – Determine payments you’re comfortable with over the loan term
  • Fuel – Estimate based on mileage and gas prices in your area
  • Maintenance and repairs – Older used cars tend to cost more in upkeep

 

Add up all these costs to determine your total budget. It’s better to overestimate expenses rather than finding yourself strapped for cash down the road. And don’t forget to factor in savings for any unexpected repairs that may come up.

Setting a clear used car budget before you start shopping will help narrow your options to affordable vehicles that fit both your transportation needs and financial situation.

 

Research the Market

Once you determine your budget, the next step is researching the market to find the right used car for you. There are many factors to consider when comparing different makes and models:

 

Compare Models

Look at different models that fit your needs and budget. Compare things like size, fuel economy, performance, cargo space, tech features, reliability ratings, safety ratings, and resale value. Sites like AutoTrader, Kijiji Autos, and CarGurus allow you to easily compare specs, prices, reviews, ratings, and listings for various makes and models side-by-side.

 

Reliability

Review predicted reliability ratings from consumer resources like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. Japanese and Korean brands like Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Hyundai, and Kia tend to score better than American and European brands. Check recalls too. Vehicles with lots of recalls tend to continue having issues down the road.

 

Ownership Costs

Factor in both purchase price and estimated ownership costs over the years you plan to own the vehicle. Ownership costs include fuel, insurance, maintenance and repairs. More complex luxury and performance cars tend to cost more to insure and maintain. Simple basic transportation cars are often cheapest to own long-term.

 

Find Your Car

Once you know your budget and the type of vehicle you want, it’s time to start searching for that perfect used car. There are several places you can look to find used vehicles for sale:

 

Online Ads

Sites like Autotrader, Kijiji, and Craigslist allow individuals and dealers to post used car ads. You can search by make, model, year, price, and other factors to find options in your area. Online ads provide lots of photos and details upfront so you can get an idea if a vehicle may be right for you.

 

Dealerships

Many car dealerships have a used vehicle department with pre-owned models for sale. Shopping at a dealership provides a larger selection in one place. Dealerships will often inspect and recondition used cars before selling. However, dealer prices tend to be higher than private sales.

 

Auctions

Government, police, and some private auctions sell used vehicles to dealers and the public. Auctions can occasionally yield good deals but don’t allow test drives or vehicle inspection. Do your research to understand the auction process and risks before buying this way.

 

Private Sellers

Buying from a private seller is common for used cars. Online ads, your network of family and friends, or simply seeing a “for sale” sign in a vehicle’s window are ways to connect with private sellers. Pricing may be more negotiable than a dealership. However, private sales take more effort to ensure the vehicle’s condition.

 

Test Drive It

The test drive is one of the most important steps when buying a used car in Ontario. This is your chance to get behind the wheel and get a feel for the vehicle before making any commitments. Approach the test drive seriously and pay attention to these key factors:

 

Feel

How does the vehicle feel to drive? Is the steering tight and responsive or loose and floaty? Do the brakes feel sharp and grabby or soft and spongy? Are the gas and clutch pedals positioned comfortably? Does the seat provide adequate support? Overall, the car should feel solid, stable and inspire confidence.

 

Mechanics

Listen for any unusual engine or transmission noises. The engine should run smoothly without knocking, pinging or sputtering. Gear changes should be smooth and quiet. Check that all accessories and features like lights, wipers, radio etc. are functioning properly.

 

Comfort

Is the driver’s seat adjustable and comfortable over a longer drive? Do you have good visibility out the front, sides and rear? Is the steering wheel and pedal position optimal? Are cabin noise and road vibration well suppressed? This will impact your day-to-day enjoyment.

 

Features

Test out all the features and technology like cruise control, parking assist, infotainment system etc. Make sure you understand how to operate them and are satisfied with their performance. Don’t make assumptions – if unsure, request an explanation from the seller.

Taking it for a lengthy test drive on a mix of roads will reveal a lot about the vehicle. Don’t feel rushed; drive it as you would day-to-day. Head home feeling confident you’ve thoroughly put it through its paces.

 

Inspect Thoroughly

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time for an in-depth inspection of the vehicle. Don’t rely solely on a test drive and owner assurances – you need to verify the car’s condition yourself before committing to a purchase.

 

Engine

Pop the hood and take a close look at the engine bay. Look for any leaks, damage, corrosion or excessive dirt and grime. Check all fluid levels including engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant. Fluids should not be cloudy or have particles in them. Note the condition of belts, hoses and accessories like the alternator, water pump and power steering pump.

 

Body

Do a walk around, inspecting every inch of the exterior. Check for body damage, misaligned panels, scratches, dents, rust or paint issues. Look at the lines where doors, hood and trunk close – large gaps can indicate damage. Inspect the windshield and other glass for cracks or chips. Examine the tires’ tread depth and wear. Look under the car for rust, leaks or damage.

 

Interior

Check the interior thoroughly. Look for excessive wear, stains, tears or damage on the seats, carpets, headliner and door panels. Make sure all controls, buttons and electrical components function properly. Verify heat and AC blow hot and cold. Check seat adjustments and seat belts. Ensure dash warning lights illuminate properly when ignition turned on. Confirm stereo, speakers and any onboard tech works correctly.

 

Mechanics

In addition to test driving, have a mechanic put the car on a lift and inspect the underside. They’ll check the brakes, suspension, steering, driveline and exhaust system. This professional inspection can reveal issues not apparent in a test drive. They can provide an objective assessment of any repairs or maintenance needed.

 

Check History

One of the most important steps when buying a used vehicle is thoroughly checking its history. This helps uncover any past issues or problems with the car that could affect its safety, value and reliability down the road.

There are a few key things you’ll want to research about the used car’s history:

 

Accidents

Run a vehicle history report to see if the car has been in any reported accidents. Even minor accidents can cause underlying damage that’s not visible. Knowing the details of any past collisions will give you a better sense of potential repairs needed.

Watch for signs of accident repairs like mismatched paint or body panels that don’t quite line up. Test drive carefully and listen for any unusual noises that could indicate accident damage.

 

Ownership History

Request records showing the number of previous owners. More owners can mean more wear and tear, but it’s not necessarily bad if the mileage was low. One meticulous long-term owner is ideal.

Ask the seller for maintenance records from previous owners. This shows the car was properly cared for.

 

Repair History

Maintenance records will also indicate any major repairs or issues. Things like recurring engine problems or transmission repairs will give you insight into potential weak spots.

Look into recalls as well – are there any outstanding ones that haven’t been addressed? This could be a negotiation point for getting repair work done.

A thorough history check protects you from buying someone else’s problem car. Spend the time upfront doing research, so you can feel confident in your used car purchase.

 

Negotiate

Negotiating the price of a used car is often expected, especially when buying privately. Come prepared with a target price based on your research. When making an offer, start lower than your maximum budget, but keep it realistic. The seller likely researched similar models too.

If your offer is too low, be ready to come up a bit. But don’t go above your predetermined ceiling. Explain how you arrived at your number by referencing mileage, condition, demand, and other market listings of the same vehicle.

Point out any flaws or issues discovered during the test drive and inspection to politely ask for a discount. But avoid an adversarial approach. Keep negotiations friendly and focus on finding middle ground.

Both parties want the best deal. Don’t get emotionally attached as negotiations require some give and take. Make sure any agreed discounts or inclusions like a set of winter tires are documented in writing before finalizing the sale.

With patience and persistence, you can bargain your way into an affordable used car without compromising. Test different strategies and numbers to determine what motivates the seller to agree on a fair price.

 

Finalize the Sale

Once you have negotiated a final price and are ready to complete the transaction, you will need the seller to sign over the ownership of the vehicle. This is done through a bill of sale. The bill of sale is an important legal document that provides proof that a sale has taken place and that the ownership of the vehicle has been transferred to you. Here are some key things to remember about the bill of sale:

 

  • It should contain key details about the transaction like VIN, make/model, year, mileage, names of buyer and seller, sale price, date of sale etc.
  • Review it carefully before signing to ensure all information is correct.
  • Both the seller and buyer should sign and each keep a copy.
  • It provides protection to both parties if any issues arise later.

 

For payment, it is best to avoid paying fully in cash if possible. Using a personal cheque, bank draft or etransfer provides a paper trail and protects you if anything goes wrong later. Make sure to get a receipt from the seller as well.

Once you have the signed bill of sale and receipt, the vehicle is yours! Just remember to officially register it and transfer the ownership into your name within 6 days in Ontario.

 

Register the Vehicle

Once you’ve purchased the used vehicle, you’ll need to transfer ownership by registering the vehicle under your name. This process needs to be completed within 6 days of purchasing the used vehicle in Ontario.

To transfer ownership, you’ll need to visit a ServiceOntario location. Bring the used vehicle, the signed vehicle registration, and photo ID. Pay the applicable registration fee – this will be $59 if you need new license plates, or $32 if you’re keeping the current plates.

During the registration process, ownership of the vehicle will be transferred to your name. You’ll receive a vehicle permit that must be displayed on the vehicle until the license plates arrive by mail within 4-6 weeks if you ordered new plates. Ensure you have valid insurance before driving the used vehicle. Keep the Bill of Sale and previous owner’s registration documents for your records.

Registering the used vehicle is a critical step to ensure legal ownership under your name. Take the time to properly transfer and register the vehicle with the government to avoid issues down the road.

 

Insure Your Vehicle

Once you’ve purchased the used vehicle, you’ll need to insure it before driving it away. You cannot legally drive an uninsured vehicle in Ontario. Check with your existing auto insurance provider to add the used vehicle to your policy. Provide them details like the VIN, year/make/model and your ownership information.

If getting a new policy, get quotes from multiple providers. Look for the coverage you need at the best available rate. Provide insurers with information about the used vehicle and your driving history. Consider discounts you may qualify for, like a bundle discount for having home and auto insurance together.

Make sure you have the minimum mandatory coverage in Ontario: $200,000 third-party liability, accident benefits, direct compensation property damage and uninsured auto. You may also want collision and comprehensive if your vehicle has significant value. Understand any exclusions, limitations or deductibles that apply.

Get either a paper insurance slip or electronic proof of insurance before driving away. You must be able to provide valid insurance documentation at any time when driving or law enforcement can request it. Fines for driving an uninsured vehicle can be over $5,000.

Getting insurance ahead of driving also provides peace of mind. You’ll know you and the vehicle are protected from day one in case an accident occurs shortly after purchase.

 

Safety Inspection

Before registering and licensing your used vehicle in Ontario, you’ll need to get a safety certificate known as a Safety Standards Certificate. This mandatory inspection checks that the vehicle meets Ontario’s minimum safety standards.

Safety inspections must be done at licensed Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations. Look for a station near you. The cost is around $100-$150 for the inspection.

The safety inspection will check the following:

 

  • Brake system
  • Lights and electrical system
  • Seatbelts
  • Tires
  • Suspension components
  • Steering
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • Speedometer
  • Windshield and windows
  • Horns
  • Mirrors

 

If your vehicle passes the safety inspection, you’ll get a Safety Standards Certificate that is valid for 36 days. This certificate is required to register and plate your used vehicle.

If your vehicle fails the safety inspection, you’ll need to get the issues fixed and re-inspected before getting the certificate. Make sure any identified issues are resolved before purchasing the used vehicle.

Getting a Safety Standards Certificate ensures your used car meets the safety requirements to be legally driven in Ontario. This protects you and other road users.

 

Celebrate Your Purchase

Congratulations, you did it! Buying a used vehicle in Ontario can seem daunting, but now that you’ve gone through the entire process and driven your new-to-you car off the lot, it’s time to celebrate. Pat yourself on the back for doing thorough research, asking the right questions, avoiding rushed decisions, and ending up with a reliable used car at a fair price. The hard work has paid off.

After finalizing all the paperwork, registering the car, and getting insurance, the new car excitement can finally set in. You’ve likely been dreaming about this day for a while. Now is the time to show off your new ride to friends and family, take it for an exciting first spin on the open roads, and start imagining all the adventures to come. Roll down the windows, crank up your favourite driving tunes, and soak up that new car feeling!

Owning a car is a big responsibility, but it also brings a sense of freedom, control, and maturity. This car represents your independence and transition into adulthood. You will make memories in this car, develop your confidence as a driver, and fully take ownership of your mobility. This milestone is a chance for building important life skills as well. Enjoy this important moment and the excitement that comes with your first car.

The hard work is behind you. For now, it’s time to celebrate this accomplishment. Your used car search is finally over. Time to start reaping the rewards of having your own set of wheels.

 

Maintenance Tips for Used Cars

Regular maintenance and upkeep is crucial for ensuring your used car lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips on keeping your used vehicle in good running condition:

 

Oil Changes

Get your oil changed regularly every 5,000-8,000 km. Check the vehicle manual for the recommended oil change interval. Use the right type of motor oil for your vehicle’s year, make and model. Have the oil filter changed at the same time.

 

Fluid Checks

Check all fluid levels on a monthly basis including engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant and windshield washer fluid. Top up any low fluids as needed.

 

Tire Maintenance

Inspect tire pressure and tread depth monthly. Tires wear faster when underinflated. Rotate tires every 8,000-12,000 km for more even tread wear. Replace worn tires for better fuel economy, traction and safety.

 

Brakes

Have brake pads and rotors inspected annually or every 20,000 km. Worn brake components reduce stopping power. Have them replaced before they damage the brake system.

 

Filters

Replace the engine air filter every 20,000 to 30,000 km or as needed. A dirty air filter restricts airflow and can reduce fuel efficiency. The cabin air filter should be changed every 40,000 km for cleaner air.

 

Tune-ups

Have a full tune-up every 50,000 km or as recommended. This includes new spark plugs, fuel filter, PCV valve and fuel injection cleaning if required. A tune-up optimizes performance and mileage.

 

Inspections

Take your vehicle for regular inspections by a trusted mechanic. They can spot potential problems early and advise on maintenance needs. Address issues promptly to avoid further damage.

With regular care and maintenance, your used vehicle can continue running smoothly and reliably for years to come. The effort is well worth it!

 

Conclusion

Buying a used vehicle in Ontario can be an exciting experience, but also requires some careful planning and research. By setting a realistic budget, thoroughly researching different brands and models, test driving your top choices, having a mechanic inspect the vehicle, checking the vehicle history report, negotiating a fair price, finalizing all paperwork, registering the vehicle properly, and getting adequate insurance, you will end up with a used vehicle that meets your needs and budget.

Once you have purchased your used vehicle, be sure to keep up with routine maintenance and repairs to keep it in good running condition. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and keep records of all services performed. Address any issues promptly to prevent small problems from turning into major repairs down the road.

With the right preparation and knowledge, purchasing a used vehicle in Ontario can be a smooth and satisfactory experience. Take the time to find the right vehicle for your needs and budget, and it will serve you well for years to come.

Common Questions About Buying a Used Car in Ontario

When budgeting for a used car purchase in Ontario, you’ll need to factor in the vehicle cost along with taxes and fees. Expect to pay 13% HST on the purchase price. You’ll also pay $32-59 for a used vehicle information package and vehicle permit fee when transferring ownership. Finally, budget for safety certification ($89), licensing fees if needed, and insurance costs. Get quotes beforehand so your total budget is accurate.

When buying a used car privately in Ontario, make sure to get a bill of sale and the used vehicle information package (UVIP) from the seller. The bill of sale records purchase details like VIN, price paid, date, and buyer/seller info. It serves as proof of sale. The UVIP confirms ownership, liens, branding history and more. Bring both when registering the car under your name at ServiceOntario.

Yes, a valid safety standards certificate is required when registering a used car purchase in Ontario, except for private sales of vehicles older than 36 years. The certificate confirms the vehicle meets safety requirements. If the used car you’re buying doesn’t have a valid certificate, you’ll need to get one done before registering the change of ownership, at a cost of $89.

Key questions to ask private sellers of used cars in Ontario include:

Why are you selling the car?

How long have you had it and were you the original owner?

Has it been in any accidents?

What is the maintenance history – any major repairs?

Is everything in working order?

Do you have service records I can see?

How’s the gas mileage?

Can I take it for an inspection and test drive?

Be informed before negotiating or committing to buy.

When buying a used car in Ontario and registering it under your name, you’ll pay a vehicle transfer fee of $32 if keeping the current license plates or $59 if getting new plates. You’ll also owe 13% HST on the vehicle’s purchase price and a potential driver’s license fee if exchanging an out-of-province license. Shop insurance rates beforehand and expect additional driving record fees.

When you buy a used car from a dealership in Ontario, make sure you receive a bill of sale, safety standards certificate, ownership paperwork transferring the vehicle title to your name, warranty documents if applicable, and valid e-test documents if required. Review all paperwork thoroughly before finalizing the used car purchase.

Yes, getting a CARFAX or Carproof report is highly recommended when buying a used car in Ontario. These vehicle history reports uncover any accidents, liens, odometer rollbacks, U.S. history of the car, open recalls and more based on the VIN. They verify what the seller tells you and are essential for making an informed used car purchase.

Key questions to ask the seller when buying a used car include: Why are you selling the vehicle? How long have you owned it? Has it been in any accidents? What is the maintenance history and are there service records available? Have there been any major repairs? Is everything in working order? Why is it priced lower than similar models? Can I test drive it and have a mechanic inspect it? Asking the right questions helps avoid buying a lemon.

Buying a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) used car in Ontario typically provides more peace of mind compared to a non-certified vehicle. CPO cars pass rigorous inspections, often come with extended warranty coverage, roadside assistance, incentives and more. However they cost more than non-CPO vehicles. Review inspection reports, Carproof vehicle histories and test drive both to decide what offers the better value.

Tips for negotiating the best price when buying a used car in Ontario include: Research trade-in values beforehand on sites like Canadian Black Book to establish fair pricing. Determine the highest offer you can make while still getting a good deal. Test drive the car first before discussing numbers. Pitch your offer casually, then be patient. Mention competing vehicles if they refuse. Offer to pay cash or get your own financing. Suggest meeting halfway.

Exercising caution with private used car purchases in Ontario is key to avoiding scams and lemon vehicles. Have a mechanic inspect it first. Meet the seller at their home if possible and verify their identity. Test drive the car extensively. Get a CARFAX report to check for accidents, liens, odometer rollbacks and U.S. history. Ask to see maintenance records. Pay by certified cheque not cash. Take the car to ServiceOntario to register ownership under your name asap.

While a used car in Ontario with over 200,000 km will likely require more maintenance and repairs down the road compared to lower-mileage vehicles, it isn’t necessarily risky if the right precautions are taken. Have a trusted mechanic inspect it thoroughly first. Review all vehicle history and confirm regular maintenance was performed. The engine, transmission and other components may still have plenty of life left if properly cared for. Test drive it extensively before deciding.

Those buying a used vehicle from a private seller instead of a dealership in Ontario need to carefully inspect the car and ask the right questions to avoid problems. Look for body damage, check all functions and mechanical components during an extensive test drive, and scan for warning lights indicating issues. Ask why they’re selling, verify vehicle history, review maintenance records, and get a safety standards certificate. Don’t rely purely on someone’s word when making this large purchase.

When buying a used car in Ontario, checking for liens beforehand is crucial. A lien means the previous owner still owes money on the vehicle to a lender, meaning it could get repossessed from you. Insist on getting a used vehicle information package from the seller first, which will state any liens. Additionally, order a Carproof or CARFAX report, which uncover liens and other title issues via the car’s VIN number so you buy with confidence.

Used car dealerships usually offer perks like financing assistance, certified pre-owned models with warranties, and vehicles thoroughly checked over by mechanics. However private sellers generally sell the same used cars for much lower prices. Weigh factors like price and car history for private sales vs the convenience and assurances of dealerships. Get any used car independently inspected before finalizing a purchase.

When registering a used vehicle purchase under your name at an Ontario Service center, you’ll need to provide the used vehicle information package (UVIP) and bill of sale obtained from the seller, along with valid safety standards certificate, proof of insurance, driver’s license, and applicable vehicle transfer fees. Present a completed vehicle permit transferring ownership into your name as well to complete the car title transfer process smoothly.

Immediately after buying a used car from an individual seller instead of a dealer in Ontario, make registering the ownership transfer under your name at ServiceOntario and getting valid plates/sticker your top priority, along with insurance coverage for the vehicle. Ensure the bill of sale and UVIP ownership documentation from the seller match. Consider getting a post-purchase inspection for peace of mind even if you test drove the car. Celebrate your used car deal only after protecting yourself through proper registration!

Unfortunately, Ontario’s laws offer little protection if you discover problems with a used car after purchase. You don’t get an implied warranty. That’s why thorough inspections beforehand are crucial. If the seller lied or committed fraud by hiding defects they were aware of, you can sue in small claims court within two years. It’s difficult to prove though, so your best recourse is having any used car checked over by an independent mechanic without bias before buying.

Getting car insurance secured immediately after buying a used vehicle is essential for legally driving in Ontario, and rates can vary dramatically between providers. Use online insurance quotes generators to compare rates from various companies conveniently. Opting for higher deductibles or bundling your home insurance can make policies more affordable too. Maintaining good credit and a clean driving history will also keep used car insurance costs down.

The classified listings site Kijiji is one of the best places to find used cars for sale by their private owners instead of dealerships in Ontario. Facebook Marketplace also lists many individual seller vehicles. Sort search filters by distance to see private sale cars for sale closest to your location. Autotrader.ca, Craigslist.ca and CarGurus also display used vehicle private sale listings across Ontario to potentially save buyers money over dealer costs.

Uncovering the history of a used car for sale in Ontario is easy with online vehicle history report services like Carproof and CARFAX Canada. By simply entering the 17-digit VIN number of the used auto, these databases run over 300 checks digging into previous owners, odometer readings, accident reports, open recalls, Canadian/U.S. registration records, liens and more. Vehicle history reports bring peace of mind when car shopping.

 

Determine Your Budget

The first step in buying a used car in Ontario is determining your budget – how much can you realistically afford to spend on the car itself as well as associated costs like insurance, maintenance, and fees? Be sure to consider not just the purchase price but also:

 

  • Taxes – In Ontario, you’ll pay 13% HST on used vehicle purchases
  • Licensing fees – These include permit and potential license plate fees ($32-$59)
  • Insurance – Research rates based on the vehicles you’re considering to get an estimate
  • Interest if financing – Determine payments you’re comfortable with over the loan term
  • Fuel – Estimate based on mileage and gas prices in your area
  • Maintenance and repairs – Older used cars tend to cost more in upkeep

 

Add up all these costs to determine your total budget. It’s better to overestimate expenses rather than finding yourself strapped for cash down the road. And don’t forget to factor in savings for any unexpected repairs that may come up.

Setting a clear used car budget before you start shopping will help narrow your options to affordable vehicles that fit both your transportation needs and financial situation.

 

Research the Market

Once you determine your budget, the next step is researching the market to find the right used car for you. There are many factors to consider when comparing different makes and models:

 

Compare Models

Look at different models that fit your needs and budget. Compare things like size, fuel economy, performance, cargo space, tech features, reliability ratings, safety ratings, and resale value. Sites like AutoTrader, Kijiji Autos, and CarGurus allow you to easily compare specs, prices, reviews, ratings, and listings for various makes and models side-by-side.

 

Reliability

Review predicted reliability ratings from consumer resources like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. Japanese and Korean brands like Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Hyundai, and Kia tend to score better than American and European brands. Check recalls too. Vehicles with lots of recalls tend to continue having issues down the road.

 

Ownership Costs

Factor in both purchase price and estimated ownership costs over the years you plan to own the vehicle. Ownership costs include fuel, insurance, maintenance and repairs. More complex luxury and performance cars tend to cost more to insure and maintain. Simple basic transportation cars are often cheapest to own long-term.

 

Find Your Car

Once you know your budget and the type of vehicle you want, it’s time to start searching for that perfect used car. There are several places you can look to find used vehicles for sale:

 

Online Ads

Sites like Autotrader, Kijiji, and Craigslist allow individuals and dealers to post used car ads. You can search by make, model, year, price, and other factors to find options in your area. Online ads provide lots of photos and details upfront so you can get an idea if a vehicle may be right for you.

 

Dealerships

Many car dealerships have a used vehicle department with pre-owned models for sale. Shopping at a dealership provides a larger selection in one place. Dealerships will often inspect and recondition used cars before selling. However, dealer prices tend to be higher than private sales.

 

Auctions

Government, police, and some private auctions sell used vehicles to dealers and the public. Auctions can occasionally yield good deals but don’t allow test drives or vehicle inspection. Do your research to understand the auction process and risks before buying this way.

 

Private Sellers

Buying from a private seller is common for used cars. Online ads, your network of family and friends, or simply seeing a “for sale” sign in a vehicle’s window are ways to connect with private sellers. Pricing may be more negotiable than a dealership. However, private sales take more effort to ensure the vehicle’s condition.

 

Test Drive It

The test drive is one of the most important steps when buying a used car in Ontario. This is your chance to get behind the wheel and get a feel for the vehicle before making any commitments. Approach the test drive seriously and pay attention to these key factors:

 

Feel

How does the vehicle feel to drive? Is the steering tight and responsive or loose and floaty? Do the brakes feel sharp and grabby or soft and spongy? Are the gas and clutch pedals positioned comfortably? Does the seat provide adequate support? Overall, the car should feel solid, stable and inspire confidence.

 

Mechanics

Listen for any unusual engine or transmission noises. The engine should run smoothly without knocking, pinging or sputtering. Gear changes should be smooth and quiet. Check that all accessories and features like lights, wipers, radio etc. are functioning properly.

 

Comfort

Is the driver’s seat adjustable and comfortable over a longer drive? Do you have good visibility out the front, sides and rear? Is the steering wheel and pedal position optimal? Are cabin noise and road vibration well suppressed? This will impact your day-to-day enjoyment.

 

Features

Test out all the features and technology like cruise control, parking assist, infotainment system etc. Make sure you understand how to operate them and are satisfied with their performance. Don’t make assumptions – if unsure, request an explanation from the seller.

Taking it for a lengthy test drive on a mix of roads will reveal a lot about the vehicle. Don’t feel rushed; drive it as you would day-to-day. Head home feeling confident you’ve thoroughly put it through its paces.

 

Inspect Thoroughly

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time for an in-depth inspection of the vehicle. Don’t rely solely on a test drive and owner assurances – you need to verify the car’s condition yourself before committing to a purchase.

 

Engine

Pop the hood and take a close look at the engine bay. Look for any leaks, damage, corrosion or excessive dirt and grime. Check all fluid levels including engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant. Fluids should not be cloudy or have particles in them. Note the condition of belts, hoses and accessories like the alternator, water pump and power steering pump.

 

Body

Do a walk around, inspecting every inch of the exterior. Check for body damage, misaligned panels, scratches, dents, rust or paint issues. Look at the lines where doors, hood and trunk close – large gaps can indicate damage. Inspect the windshield and other glass for cracks or chips. Examine the tires’ tread depth and wear. Look under the car for rust, leaks or damage.

 

Interior

Check the interior thoroughly. Look for excessive wear, stains, tears or damage on the seats, carpets, headliner and door panels. Make sure all controls, buttons and electrical components function properly. Verify heat and AC blow hot and cold. Check seat adjustments and seat belts. Ensure dash warning lights illuminate properly when ignition turned on. Confirm stereo, speakers and any onboard tech works correctly.

 

Mechanics

In addition to test driving, have a mechanic put the car on a lift and inspect the underside. They’ll check the brakes, suspension, steering, driveline and exhaust system. This professional inspection can reveal issues not apparent in a test drive. They can provide an objective assessment of any repairs or maintenance needed.

 

Check History

One of the most important steps when buying a used vehicle is thoroughly checking its history. This helps uncover any past issues or problems with the car that could affect its safety, value and reliability down the road.

There are a few key things you’ll want to research about the used car’s history:

 

Accidents

Run a vehicle history report to see if the car has been in any reported accidents. Even minor accidents can cause underlying damage that’s not visible. Knowing the details of any past collisions will give you a better sense of potential repairs needed.

Watch for signs of accident repairs like mismatched paint or body panels that don’t quite line up. Test drive carefully and listen for any unusual noises that could indicate accident damage.

 

Ownership History

Request records showing the number of previous owners. More owners can mean more wear and tear, but it’s not necessarily bad if the mileage was low. One meticulous long-term owner is ideal.

Ask the seller for maintenance records from previous owners. This shows the car was properly cared for.

 

Repair History

Maintenance records will also indicate any major repairs or issues. Things like recurring engine problems or transmission repairs will give you insight into potential weak spots.

Look into recalls as well – are there any outstanding ones that haven’t been addressed? This could be a negotiation point for getting repair work done.

A thorough history check protects you from buying someone else’s problem car. Spend the time upfront doing research, so you can feel confident in your used car purchase.

 

Negotiate

Negotiating the price of a used car is often expected, especially when buying privately. Come prepared with a target price based on your research. When making an offer, start lower than your maximum budget, but keep it realistic. The seller likely researched similar models too.

If your offer is too low, be ready to come up a bit. But don’t go above your predetermined ceiling. Explain how you arrived at your number by referencing mileage, condition, demand, and other market listings of the same vehicle.

Point out any flaws or issues discovered during the test drive and inspection to politely ask for a discount. But avoid an adversarial approach. Keep negotiations friendly and focus on finding middle ground.

Both parties want the best deal. Don’t get emotionally attached as negotiations require some give and take. Make sure any agreed discounts or inclusions like a set of winter tires are documented in writing before finalizing the sale.

With patience and persistence, you can bargain your way into an affordable used car without compromising. Test different strategies and numbers to determine what motivates the seller to agree on a fair price.

 

Finalize the Sale

Once you have negotiated a final price and are ready to complete the transaction, you will need the seller to sign over the ownership of the vehicle. This is done through a bill of sale. The bill of sale is an important legal document that provides proof that a sale has taken place and that the ownership of the vehicle has been transferred to you. Here are some key things to remember about the bill of sale:

 

  • It should contain key details about the transaction like VIN, make/model, year, mileage, names of buyer and seller, sale price, date of sale etc.
  • Review it carefully before signing to ensure all information is correct.
  • Both the seller and buyer should sign and each keep a copy.
  • It provides protection to both parties if any issues arise later.

 

For payment, it is best to avoid paying fully in cash if possible. Using a personal cheque, bank draft or etransfer provides a paper trail and protects you if anything goes wrong later. Make sure to get a receipt from the seller as well.

Once you have the signed bill of sale and receipt, the vehicle is yours! Just remember to officially register it and transfer the ownership into your name within 6 days in Ontario.

 

Register the Vehicle

Once you’ve purchased the used vehicle, you’ll need to transfer ownership by registering the vehicle under your name. This process needs to be completed within 6 days of purchasing the used vehicle in Ontario.

To transfer ownership, you’ll need to visit a ServiceOntario location. Bring the used vehicle, the signed vehicle registration, and photo ID. Pay the applicable registration fee – this will be $59 if you need new license plates, or $32 if you’re keeping the current plates.

During the registration process, ownership of the vehicle will be transferred to your name. You’ll receive a vehicle permit that must be displayed on the vehicle until the license plates arrive by mail within 4-6 weeks if you ordered new plates. Ensure you have valid insurance before driving the used vehicle. Keep the Bill of Sale and previous owner’s registration documents for your records.

Registering the used vehicle is a critical step to ensure legal ownership under your name. Take the time to properly transfer and register the vehicle with the government to avoid issues down the road.

 

Insure Your Vehicle

Once you’ve purchased the used vehicle, you’ll need to insure it before driving it away. You cannot legally drive an uninsured vehicle in Ontario. Check with your existing auto insurance provider to add the used vehicle to your policy. Provide them details like the VIN, year/make/model and your ownership information.

If getting a new policy, get quotes from multiple providers. Look for the coverage you need at the best available rate. Provide insurers with information about the used vehicle and your driving history. Consider discounts you may qualify for, like a bundle discount for having home and auto insurance together.

Make sure you have the minimum mandatory coverage in Ontario: $200,000 third-party liability, accident benefits, direct compensation property damage and uninsured auto. You may also want collision and comprehensive if your vehicle has significant value. Understand any exclusions, limitations or deductibles that apply.

Get either a paper insurance slip or electronic proof of insurance before driving away. You must be able to provide valid insurance documentation at any time when driving or law enforcement can request it. Fines for driving an uninsured vehicle can be over $5,000.

Getting insurance ahead of driving also provides peace of mind. You’ll know you and the vehicle are protected from day one in case an accident occurs shortly after purchase.

 

Safety Inspection

Before registering and licensing your used vehicle in Ontario, you’ll need to get a safety certificate known as a Safety Standards Certificate. This mandatory inspection checks that the vehicle meets Ontario’s minimum safety standards.

Safety inspections must be done at licensed Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations. Look for a station near you. The cost is around $100-$150 for the inspection.

The safety inspection will check the following:

 

  • Brake system
  • Lights and electrical system
  • Seatbelts
  • Tires
  • Suspension components
  • Steering
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • Speedometer
  • Windshield and windows
  • Horns
  • Mirrors

 

If your vehicle passes the safety inspection, you’ll get a Safety Standards Certificate that is valid for 36 days. This certificate is required to register and plate your used vehicle.

If your vehicle fails the safety inspection, you’ll need to get the issues fixed and re-inspected before getting the certificate. Make sure any identified issues are resolved before purchasing the used vehicle.

Getting a Safety Standards Certificate ensures your used car meets the safety requirements to be legally driven in Ontario. This protects you and other road users.

 

Celebrate Your Purchase

Congratulations, you did it! Buying a used vehicle in Ontario can seem daunting, but now that you’ve gone through the entire process and driven your new-to-you car off the lot, it’s time to celebrate. Pat yourself on the back for doing thorough research, asking the right questions, avoiding rushed decisions, and ending up with a reliable used car at a fair price. The hard work has paid off.

After finalizing all the paperwork, registering the car, and getting insurance, the new car excitement can finally set in. You’ve likely been dreaming about this day for a while. Now is the time to show off your new ride to friends and family, take it for an exciting first spin on the open roads, and start imagining all the adventures to come. Roll down the windows, crank up your favourite driving tunes, and soak up that new car feeling!

Owning a car is a big responsibility, but it also brings a sense of freedom, control, and maturity. This car represents your independence and transition into adulthood. You will make memories in this car, develop your confidence as a driver, and fully take ownership of your mobility. This milestone is a chance for building important life skills as well. Enjoy this important moment and the excitement that comes with your first car.

The hard work is behind you. For now, it’s time to celebrate this accomplishment. Your used car search is finally over. Time to start reaping the rewards of having your own set of wheels.

 

Maintenance Tips for Used Cars

Regular maintenance and upkeep is crucial for ensuring your used car lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips on keeping your used vehicle in good running condition:

 

Oil Changes

Get your oil changed regularly every 5,000-8,000 km. Check the vehicle manual for the recommended oil change interval. Use the right type of motor oil for your vehicle’s year, make and model. Have the oil filter changed at the same time.

 

Fluid Checks

Check all fluid levels on a monthly basis including engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant and windshield washer fluid. Top up any low fluids as needed.

 

Tire Maintenance

Inspect tire pressure and tread depth monthly. Tires wear faster when underinflated. Rotate tires every 8,000-12,000 km for more even tread wear. Replace worn tires for better fuel economy, traction and safety.

 

Brakes

Have brake pads and rotors inspected annually or every 20,000 km. Worn brake components reduce stopping power. Have them replaced before they damage the brake system.

 

Filters

Replace the engine air filter every 20,000 to 30,000 km or as needed. A dirty air filter restricts airflow and can reduce fuel efficiency. The cabin air filter should be changed every 40,000 km for cleaner air.

 

Tune-ups

Have a full tune-up every 50,000 km or as recommended. This includes new spark plugs, fuel filter, PCV valve and fuel injection cleaning if required. A tune-up optimizes performance and mileage.

 

Inspections

Take your vehicle for regular inspections by a trusted mechanic. They can spot potential problems early and advise on maintenance needs. Address issues promptly to avoid further damage.

With regular care and maintenance, your used vehicle can continue running smoothly and reliably for years to come. The effort is well worth it!

 

Conclusion

Buying a used vehicle in Ontario can be an exciting experience, but also requires some careful planning and research. By setting a realistic budget, thoroughly researching different brands and models, test driving your top choices, having a mechanic inspect the vehicle, checking the vehicle history report, negotiating a fair price, finalizing all paperwork, registering the vehicle properly, and getting adequate insurance, you will end up with a used vehicle that meets your needs and budget.

Once you have purchased your used vehicle, be sure to keep up with routine maintenance and repairs to keep it in good running condition. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and keep records of all services performed. Address any issues promptly to prevent small problems from turning into major repairs down the road.

With the right preparation and knowledge, purchasing a used vehicle in Ontario can be a smooth and satisfactory experience. Take the time to find the right vehicle for your needs and budget, and it will serve you well for years to come.

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Common Questions About Buying a Used Car in Ontario

When budgeting for a used car purchase in Ontario, you’ll need to factor in the vehicle cost along with taxes and fees. Expect to pay 13% HST on the purchase price. You’ll also pay $32-59 for a used vehicle information package and vehicle permit fee when transferring ownership. Finally, budget for safety certification ($89), licensing fees if needed, and insurance costs. Get quotes beforehand so your total budget is accurate.

When buying a used car privately in Ontario, make sure to get a bill of sale and the used vehicle information package (UVIP) from the seller. The bill of sale records purchase details like VIN, price paid, date, and buyer/seller info. It serves as proof of sale. The UVIP confirms ownership, liens, branding history and more. Bring both when registering the car under your name at ServiceOntario.

Yes, a valid safety standards certificate is required when registering a used car purchase in Ontario, except for private sales of vehicles older than 36 years. The certificate confirms the vehicle meets safety requirements. If the used car you’re buying doesn’t have a valid certificate, you’ll need to get one done before registering the change of ownership, at a cost of $89.

Key questions to ask private sellers of used cars in Ontario include:

Why are you selling the car?

How long have you had it and were you the original owner?

Has it been in any accidents?

What is the maintenance history – any major repairs?

Is everything in working order?

Do you have service records I can see?

How’s the gas mileage?

Can I take it for an inspection and test drive?

Be informed before negotiating or committing to buy.

When buying a used car in Ontario and registering it under your name, you’ll pay a vehicle transfer fee of $32 if keeping the current license plates or $59 if getting new plates. You’ll also owe 13% HST on the vehicle’s purchase price and a potential driver’s license fee if exchanging an out-of-province license. Shop insurance rates beforehand and expect additional driving record fees.

When you buy a used car from a dealership in Ontario, make sure you receive a bill of sale, safety standards certificate, ownership paperwork transferring the vehicle title to your name, warranty documents if applicable, and valid e-test documents if required. Review all paperwork thoroughly before finalizing the used car purchase.

Yes, getting a CARFAX or Carproof report is highly recommended when buying a used car in Ontario. These vehicle history reports uncover any accidents, liens, odometer rollbacks, U.S. history of the car, open recalls and more based on the VIN. They verify what the seller tells you and are essential for making an informed used car purchase.

Key questions to ask the seller when buying a used car include: Why are you selling the vehicle? How long have you owned it? Has it been in any accidents? What is the maintenance history and are there service records available? Have there been any major repairs? Is everything in working order? Why is it priced lower than similar models? Can I test drive it and have a mechanic inspect it? Asking the right questions helps avoid buying a lemon.

Buying a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) used car in Ontario typically provides more peace of mind compared to a non-certified vehicle. CPO cars pass rigorous inspections, often come with extended warranty coverage, roadside assistance, incentives and more. However they cost more than non-CPO vehicles. Review inspection reports, Carproof vehicle histories and test drive both to decide what offers the better value.

Tips for negotiating the best price when buying a used car in Ontario include: Research trade-in values beforehand on sites like Canadian Black Book to establish fair pricing. Determine the highest offer you can make while still getting a good deal. Test drive the car first before discussing numbers. Pitch your offer casually, then be patient. Mention competing vehicles if they refuse. Offer to pay cash or get your own financing. Suggest meeting halfway.

Exercising caution with private used car purchases in Ontario is key to avoiding scams and lemon vehicles. Have a mechanic inspect it first. Meet the seller at their home if possible and verify their identity. Test drive the car extensively. Get a CARFAX report to check for accidents, liens, odometer rollbacks and U.S. history. Ask to see maintenance records. Pay by certified cheque not cash. Take the car to ServiceOntario to register ownership under your name asap.

While a used car in Ontario with over 200,000 km will likely require more maintenance and repairs down the road compared to lower-mileage vehicles, it isn’t necessarily risky if the right precautions are taken. Have a trusted mechanic inspect it thoroughly first. Review all vehicle history and confirm regular maintenance was performed. The engine, transmission and other components may still have plenty of life left if properly cared for. Test drive it extensively before deciding.

Those buying a used vehicle from a private seller instead of a dealership in Ontario need to carefully inspect the car and ask the right questions to avoid problems. Look for body damage, check all functions and mechanical components during an extensive test drive, and scan for warning lights indicating issues. Ask why they’re selling, verify vehicle history, review maintenance records, and get a safety standards certificate. Don’t rely purely on someone’s word when making this large purchase.

When buying a used car in Ontario, checking for liens beforehand is crucial. A lien means the previous owner still owes money on the vehicle to a lender, meaning it could get repossessed from you. Insist on getting a used vehicle information package from the seller first, which will state any liens. Additionally, order a Carproof or CARFAX report, which uncover liens and other title issues via the car’s VIN number so you buy with confidence.

Used car dealerships usually offer perks like financing assistance, certified pre-owned models with warranties, and vehicles thoroughly checked over by mechanics. However private sellers generally sell the same used cars for much lower prices. Weigh factors like price and car history for private sales vs the convenience and assurances of dealerships. Get any used car independently inspected before finalizing a purchase.

When registering a used vehicle purchase under your name at an Ontario Service center, you’ll need to provide the used vehicle information package (UVIP) and bill of sale obtained from the seller, along with valid safety standards certificate, proof of insurance, driver’s license, and applicable vehicle transfer fees. Present a completed vehicle permit transferring ownership into your name as well to complete the car title transfer process smoothly.

Immediately after buying a used car from an individual seller instead of a dealer in Ontario, make registering the ownership transfer under your name at ServiceOntario and getting valid plates/sticker your top priority, along with insurance coverage for the vehicle. Ensure the bill of sale and UVIP ownership documentation from the seller match. Consider getting a post-purchase inspection for peace of mind even if you test drove the car. Celebrate your used car deal only after protecting yourself through proper registration!

Unfortunately, Ontario’s laws offer little protection if you discover problems with a used car after purchase. You don’t get an implied warranty. That’s why thorough inspections beforehand are crucial. If the seller lied or committed fraud by hiding defects they were aware of, you can sue in small claims court within two years. It’s difficult to prove though, so your best recourse is having any used car checked over by an independent mechanic without bias before buying.

Getting car insurance secured immediately after buying a used vehicle is essential for legally driving in Ontario, and rates can vary dramatically between providers. Use online insurance quotes generators to compare rates from various companies conveniently. Opting for higher deductibles or bundling your home insurance can make policies more affordable too. Maintaining good credit and a clean driving history will also keep used car insurance costs down.

The classified listings site Kijiji is one of the best places to find used cars for sale by their private owners instead of dealerships in Ontario. Facebook Marketplace also lists many individual seller vehicles. Sort search filters by distance to see private sale cars for sale closest to your location. Autotrader.ca, Craigslist.ca and CarGurus also display used vehicle private sale listings across Ontario to potentially save buyers money over dealer costs.

Uncovering the history of a used car for sale in Ontario is easy with online vehicle history report services like Carproof and CARFAX Canada. By simply entering the 17-digit VIN number of the used auto, these databases run over 300 checks digging into previous owners, odometer readings, accident reports, open recalls, Canadian/U.S. registration records, liens and more. Vehicle history reports bring peace of mind when car shopping.

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