Buying Your First Car in Toronto: A Step-by-Step Guide

One of the most exciting things in a young person’s life (or pretty much anyone’s life for that matter) is going out and buying that first car. Having that first vehicle gives you a sense of freedom, but there are all kinds of responsibilities that go along with that freedom. You also need to know how to protect yourself from getting a real lemon. There are a few things that you really should know about buying your first car when you live in Toronto.

10 tips to help you to get the car that is best for you

  1. 1

    Get a used car

    Any vehicle you get is going to depreciate, especially in the first year. If you want to sell it later on, you are not going to get nearly what you paid for it. You will be saving a lot of money if you get a used car that works well, and it isn’t going to cost nearly what a new car would. You can still get a really great car, but you really don’t need to have all the bells and whistles that go along with the more expensive models. (All those bells and whistles are more things that might run up some repair bills eventually).

  2. 2

    Shop smart

    Before you go out car shopping, whether in Toronto or anywhere else, do your research first. Know exactly what you are looking for, and have a good idea of what similar vehicles cost. Often, especially with used cars, you are buying “as is, where is”, so you need to make sure that you know what you are looking at before you actually make the purchase. It may even be a good idea to bring someone along who has more knowledge about cars than you do. Before you make your purchase, ask for a record of the car’s history to make sure that it hasn’t been fixed up to look pretty, but actually is a lemon.

  3. 3

    Don’t buy a car you need to work on

    Buying your first car in Toronto

    It doesn’t really make any sense to buy a vehicle that needs to have work done on it before you can even put it on the road. This could run you into a lot of money you don’t really have to spend, and you may not even be able to use your car if you can’t afford the work that needs to be done.

  4. 4


    There are things you are going to have to sign before buying your car, and you need to really look over all the paperwork before you sign anything. If you are buying a used car from a private party, make sure that you are not going to get a vehicle with a lien that could be taken away from you because the previous owner failed to make the payments. This can and does happen all the time to people who have purchased cars without doing the proper paperwork first.

  5. 5

    Get value for your money

    Just because a car is cheap doesn’t mean that you should necessarily buy it right away. Take it to a mechanic first, and make sure that everything is in tip-top shape. Otherwise, you may just be buying someone else’s problem. Once your mechanic gives the car a clean bill of health, then you can go about making the deal. Remember, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  6. 6

    Don’t spend more than you can afford

    Financing can be a great thing, but it can also be the devil in disguise. Many people finance expensive cars, only to find that they cannot afford the payments. Make sure that whatever car you buy, you can actually afford the payments, or better still, look for a car you can afford to buy without borrowing.

  7. 7

    You need to have insurance

    For one thing, it is mandatory that you have any vehicle on the road insured. This is going to protect you in the event of an accident, and if the accident is your fault, you will be able to cover any and all expenses without it coming out of pocket. Before you buy your car, find out exactly what the Toronto insurance requirements are. If you do not have insurance, you may face fines, and you can even lose your vehicle.

  8. 8

    You need to register your car in Toronto

    Before you can put your vehicle on the road, you will need to go to your nearest motor vehicle authority (most likely, an MTO office) and have it registered. If you do not have everything in order, just like insurance, you can be subjected to fines and even have your car impounded until you get the proper registration. Registration costs will vary, depending on the type of vehicle you purchase.

  9. 9

    Get that extended warranty

    If you do decide to get a new vehicle, it is wise to get the extended warranty that is usually offered with it. Usually, a warranty is for around three years, and then you are on your own. With the extended warranty, you will be saving a lot of money on future car repairs.

  10. 10

    Learn the Toronto streets

    This may seem like a strange piece of advice for buying a car, but it is useful. For example, if you decide that you want a great big truck, then you may find that you cannot take it into some parking garages, and some streets may be too narrow. You also need to look at parking, and decide what type of vehicle is going to be easiest to get into some of the tight Toronto parking spaces. Figure out where you will be taking your car, and then decide on which type would be best for city driving.

Once you have done all of your research, it is time to get out there and get your first car.

Remember, don’t take the first one you look at, and don’t let anyone talk you into anything you don’t want or need. Your first car should be something that gives you many happy memories for years to come.