Buying a used car is a tough task but with enough research and preparation you should be able to go out there with confidence and find the best deals. Here, we will give you some tips that will help you with your preparation.
1. Ensure the seller has the vehicle registration certificate
The registration certificate legally determines a car’s rightful ownership. If the document is lost, the registered owner must procure a notarized copy. The proof of vehicle registration typically certify these details:
- Owner name
- Owner’s address
- VIN, make, model and others
- Purchase price
- Lienholder (if there is a lien)
- License plate number
- Vehicle status and brand, e.g. normal, salvage, rebuild, etc.
2. Ensure there are no liens on the vehicle
Check with PPSA and review your vehicle documents. Once the lien is satisfied, the lienholder must release the original ownership copy and notify the registration office about it.
3. Secure the sales tax clearance
Most registration agencies impose sales tax on newly-sold cars. Upon payment, a copy of receipt will be issued to you. Keep it as proof that the tax has already been settled.
1. Find out the fair market value of the car
The factors that will affect the vehicle’s value are:
2. Calculate the cost of ownership
The number on the price tag is only the tip of the iceberg. In reality here are the factors that will determine the true cost of the car:
- Point of sale price.
- Cost to finance – The amount of interest paid over five years.
- Taxes and fees – The total of all sales tax, fees and registry costs each year.
- Insurance premiums
- Fuel cost
- Maintenance cost
3. Secure financing
Acquire financing by doing these steps:
- Check your credit score from Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada
- Get pre-approved for financing quotes from entities like CIBC.com
- Calculate how much you have to pay for a specific loan term
4. Estimate your insurance costs
Gather quotations from leading insurance companies and find out which one stands out. Visit insurancehotline.com to compare insurance policies.
Vehicle Inspection and Test DriveInspecting the car will help you determine its existing condition and can also highlight potential issues that could arise after purchase.
Having it completely checked, you’ll either feel more confident that you’re making a great investment or you’ll discover hidden flaws that could give you more leverage to knock the price down.
1. Check the body for dents and scratches
Violent collisions may render cars unsafe to drive. Beware of these red flags:
- Misaligned seams and frames
- Chassis with inadequate welding
- Awkward dents
- Uneven bodylines
2. Check the tires
Check the wear on the tires, make sure the depths of the thread are still good. Tires can tell alot about the car. Not enough depth means you will have to replace it soon, half a fingernail will last a while.
3. Check the odometer
Bang on the dash. If the numbers didn’t remain straight, it might have been tinkered. If you are checking a car with a digital odometer, it will be difficult to see physical signs of tampering. You can only know by dismantling the instrument cluster to see if the odometer has been desoldered. Compare the odometer to the service sticker to check for consistency.
4. Check the fluids
Look at the fluids for any signs of a serious problem:
- Look at the engine oil fluid using a dipstick and a piece of cloth. Brown/yellow tinted indicates it was well maintained.
- Check the brake fluid. Yellow tint is good. Condensation may turn it reddish but it’s still fine.
- Check the coolant fluid. Look into the pressurized reservoir. Lime green color for a properly maintained car.
- Transmission fluid. It is reddish for properly maintained cars. If there are creamy residue floating, that means there’s an issue.
- Check the power steering fluid. It is red or clear if it was properly maintained. Any color aside from this means there’s an issue.
- Check the battery. Corrosion around the battery can cause problems especially during winter. Make sure that the hose and belt are still firm. Make sure that it is not worn and brittle.
5. Check the engine
Look at the check engine light make sure that it will not stay on when you start the vehicle. If it stays on that means that the engine has a problem. Look underneath the vehicle to spot leaks.
6. Check the interior
If you find any signs of damage, degradation or malfunction, bring it to the seller’s attention. They can be leveraged to lower the price. Things to check on the interior:
- Air conditioning
- Wiper blades
- Cruise Control
- Dash and rear cams
- Underneath the seats and carpet
7. Check the electrical circuits
Start by inspecting the wiring physically. Follow the path to how it was laid out and check if anything is loose or not properly attached. You do that to check the obvious like missing, disconnected and worn out wires. Second, you should check if it is flowing properly. This is done by performing a grounding test using a multimeter or voltmeter. How to perform a quick grounding test:
- Place the test lead to the battery, make sure negative is place to the negative pole and positive to positive.
- Take note of the result.
- Then remove the negative test lead and test the engine. Take note of the result. If it shows the same numbers then you do not have an issue.
- Do the test again while the engine is running.
Vehicle HistoryAs a consumer, you can reduce your risk of being defrauded, either intentionally or unintentionally, by getting a vehicle history report before purchasing. It contains important information about a used vehicle’s past.
1. Get a vehicle history report
You can get a vehicle history report from VinAudit Canada. VinAudit Canada offers comprehensive reports using official data sources at an affordable cost.