Buying a car? Here’s how to make your next car a used car

The current state of the economy has Canadian consumers thinking twice about that new car smell. In fact, a recent survey revealed that under current economic conditions almost half of us would buy a used car instead of a new one.Getting a great deal on a used vehicle can be as simple as 1-2-3, but you’ll need to do your homework before you buy.
Step 1: Regardless of where you live, finding the best deals on pre-owned vehicles should start with online research. Many individual sellers, as well as dealerships offering used vehicles, will list their cars for sale on a classifieds website. Look for a website that has a large number of listings and offers local information. For example,, Canada’s most popular autos classified site, boasts more than 280,000 listings at any given time. The site also offers local listings for 67 cities across the country so it’s easy to find a car in your own neighbourhood.
Step 2: Learn about the vehicle by doing your research both offline and online. Call the seller and arrange to meet for a full inspection. Make sure to inspect the vehicle in daylight and take it for a test drive. It’s also a good idea to book an inspection with a licensed technician who will be able to tell you a lot about the car.

You will also want to learn about the vehicle and its history. Check out online resources like Transport Canada’s vehicle recalls database, crash ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Carfax or CarProof, which can uncover historical details using a Vehicle Information Number (VIN).

If you’re buying green, it’s also a good idea to visit Natural Resources Canada’s comprehensive list of vehicles ranked by fuel efficiency.

Step 3: Once you’ve settled on the right car, it’s time for the paperwork. Look for vehicle ownership transfer information on your provincial government’s website. Make sure you follow the appropriate steps to transfer the ownership and double-check to see if you qualify for any government fuel efficiency incentives. Many provincial governments give back to buyers who choose environmentally-friendly vehicles. Finally, complete the transaction in person. Don’t send money by mail or other electronic services.

More information and a listing of pre-owned vehicles in your neighbourhood can be found online at where you can click on “cars & vehicles.”