Buying a used car can be a daunting experience. Between deciding on the private seller versus dealership route, which brand to go with, what year is best, is a warranty important, it doesn’t leave much time to actually get excited about your new car. We’ve compiled 3 tips when buying a used car in Canada that we hope will make this process a little easier, hopefully even enjoyable!
1) Search the market to get a sense of a fair price (range)
Whether this is your first car or your fourth, knowing the fair market price or range of your desired vehicle is important. You don’t want to fall in love with something too soon if it’s going to be way out of your budget. Understanding market price can also help you in the negotiation stage. Check out marketplace websites like autotrader.ca or cargurus.ca in your research. These sites aggregate data from all their listings and can be a good place to start figuring out the average price.
2) Check out certified pre-owned programs for high quality used vehicles
Most car brands have a certified pre-owned program where dealerships will recondition a vehicle to required standards by the car manufacturer. The value of participating in a pre-owned program includes unlocking better interest rates, receiving a guaranteed standard of inspection, as well as ensuring that replacement parts of your used vehicle are genuine parts from the car manufacturer. Off the back of certified pre-owned programs, there typically is the option to also add warranty to offset the slightly higher costs of these vehicles.
3) Understand the maintenance and repair history
Knowing what you’re getting into with a used car is important and will influence how much you can expect to pay long-term in owning the vehicle in terms of future maintenance. When considering or researching ask to see the vehicle history report. You can easily do so with a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and get one yourself a report on carfax.ca. Carfax reports will help tell you if the vehicle has been in an accident before and specify the damage. Be sure not to write off a car that has an accident report, just ensure the required repairs were completed and if other items are due for maintenance.
We hope these tips are useful for you in your used car shopping. If you do your research and ask the right questions, you can limit your risk substantially when buying a used car and help ensure you get the best deal.