How to Buy A Used Car in Ontario?

Posted on October 5, 2021

Did you know that, according to, 84% of Canadians are car owners? Additionally, 37% of them own two or more vehicles, while 9% of Canadians want to own a car.

If you’re a Canadian who’s thinking of buying a used car in Ontario, then you might not be sure where to start. It can be stressful to go through the process of buying a used car.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide. In it, you’ll learn everything you need to as an Ontario-based Canadian looking to buy a used car.

Finally, you can find the right used car for you and drive it home knowing you’ve gotten the best deal possible.

What You Need to Do When Buying A Used Car in Ontario

Whether you’re buying a used car in Ontario from a dealer or from a private individual, there are several things you need to do to get started. First, you need to decide what your budget is. Then, you have to think about what vehicle you want that falls within this budget.

Once you have a list of possible vehicles, read reviews on each vehicle on your list. Eventually, you should settle on a specific model and make.

Buying A Car As Is in Ontario

When you’re buying a car as is in Ontario, you need to make sure that it’s the type of car that’s reliable. When doing your research in the above step, find out which cars are high quality and run well, even with high mileage or accident history.

This will help you find a model and make that will be a good choice even if you’re buying the car as-is and making some repairs or updates later.

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Steps to Buying A Used Car in Ontario

When you buy a used car in Ontario, there are several steps you have to take. Once you’ve done prep work by deciding on your budget and a make and model that works for you, you then have to start thinking about where you could buy the car from.

There are two options: buying a used car privately or from a dealer. We’ll go into those processes in a moment, but for now, you should focus on comparing prices. How do they compare to industry averages and each other?

Next, you’ll check the history of the vehicles you’re considering. If it checks out, you can contact the seller. Then, you’ll take the vehicle out for a test drive.

If everything seems to be working well, then you can have a licensed mechanic inspect it. Once the inspection has gone through and everything looks good, you can negotiate the price you’ll pay.

Finally, you’ll get car insurance for the car. Now, you can close the deal, after which ownership of the vehicle will be transferred to you.

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Buying A Used Car in Ontario from A Dealer

“Is it better to buy a used car from a dealership?” The answer is that it depends.

Generally, it’s a little safer to buy a used car from a dealership. You’re less likely to end up with a lemon. Additionally, they can give you assistance when it comes to financing.

When you’re buying a used car from a dealer, there are several things you need to do. First, call the dealership and find out if they have the model and make you’re looking for. If they do, make an appointment for a test drive.

You should also compare prices at different dealerships in your area.

In terms of your rights, these are usually protected because of the warranty packages that come with the vehicle. However, just to be safe, check out the reviews of the locations you’re visiting.

Buying A Used Car Privately in Ontario

When you’re buying a used car privately in Ontario, the process is a little different than when you go to a dealership. If there’s a car you’re interested in, you need to see the owner’s used vehicle information package. You need to look at the vehicle history very carefully.

In addition to reviewing the car’s history, you should go for a test drive and have a mechanic inspect it. This way, you’ll be protecting yourself when you buy a used car from a private seller.

If you decide that you want to buy the car, take the vehicle information package with you so you can have the bill of sale and vehicle permit.

You’ll need access to the plate part of the vehicle permit so the transfer of ownership process can be completed.

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When Is the Best Time to Buy A Used Car?

Car prices drop quite often. If you show up at a dealership at the end of the month, week, or day, the seller will have a greater sense of urgency when it comes to selling the car. As a result, you can negotiate for a lower price to buy a used car.

The best time to buy a used car in Ontario is the end of the year (December), or by the end of a fiscal year or quarter. You can also wait for when dealerships have sales.

Car prices are expected to go up in 2021, so knowing the best time to buy a used car this year is helpful. As for buying a used car close to the holidays, the best time to buy a used car in Canada is around Christmas.

It’s smart to take advantage of the Coronavirus Pandemic, during which there is less demand for cars. If you’ve been thinking of buying a car recently, it’s smart to do it now while the pandemic is still occurring.

The worst times to buy cars are at the beginning of the month, during the summer, and on Sundays. This is because more people are buying cars during these times and dealerships are in less of a rush to close sales.

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What Should I Look for When Buying A Used Car?

When you’re buying a car in Ontario, there are different things you should look for. Most importantly, you need to take a thorough look at both the interior and exterior of the car. You should look for any signs of prior damage, such as flooding.

Signs of flooding include corrosion, strange smells, and faulty fabrics.

First of all, you need to take a look at the kilometres. The best mileage should be between 15,000 to 20,000 kilometres yearly.

You should also think about the reputation of the car, its condition and age, and whether the seller is reliable. To determine whether a seller is reliable, read reviews of the dealerships you're visiting.

Remember to do a vehicle history check using the car’s VIN number. This way, you can find out if there are any issues with liens, recalls, or accidents. CARFAX Canada offers history checks.

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You’ll also want to look out for signs of a bad engine. These include the engine stalling, strange odours, odd noises, and a decrease in gas mileage.

The sweet spot for buying a used car is one that doesn’t have any issues, checks out with an inspection, and falls within your budget.

The car brand that has the least problems is Toyota. This is because of the reliable build and high-quality manufacturing. The cars that last the longest are the Honda Accord and Toyota Land Cruiser.

 The worst used cars include the 2016 Porsche Cayenne, 2015-2016 Volkswagen Golf, 2013 Tesla Model S, 2008 Ford F-350, 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman, 2016 Toyota Tacoma, and 2010 Dodge Challenger. They also include the 2015-2016 Cadillac Escalade, 2008 Mazda 5, 2011 BMW Series 3, and 2012 Jeep Wrangler. These cars are all more likely to need repairs after having been used a long time, so they aren't a great used car choice. Mileage really starts to take a toll on them.

What Types of Questions Should I Ask When I Buy A Used Car?

One of the questions to ask when you buy a used car from a private seller is “Why are you selling the car?” You should also ask about any accidents, modifications, or repairs. Additionally, ask about the car’s fuel efficiency (the gas mileage on the car).

Questions are a little different when you’re buying privately than when you’re buying from a dealer. When you go to a dealer, additional questions you should cover are: 

  • How many owners the car has had?
  • Whether there is a warranty for the car
  • Whether the car is certified pre-owned
  • If the car is certified pre-owned, whether you can see the inspection report

To negotiate the best price, ask if you can get a lower price if you pay in cash. Additionally, find out if a dealer will accept a trade-in. This way, you can trade in your car and pay less for your next vehicle. To negotiate properly you need to know:

  • The vehicle’s current market value
  • Factors that impact price (such as damage or extras)
  • Your budget

When you’re buying a car from a salesman, there are several things you should not say. First of all, don’t say anything emotional; you should be rational during the vehicle buying process. You also shouldn’t say “Yes” right away. Feel free to counteroffer or walk away.

Is the Insurance on A Used Car More Expensive?

Usually, insuring a used car is cheaper than insuring a new one. However, this can vary on the car type and where you’re based. It probably isn’t worth having full insurance on a used car since its value has gone down since it was first manufactured.

For this reason, older cars are cheaper to insure. You also shouldn’t have full coverage on a car that’s 10 years old. Collision insurance makes sense if you can’t afford to buy a new car if you end up in an accident.

However, you should get third-party liability insurance, as this is required by Ontario law. In Ontario, the average price for full coverage on a used car is $1,528.

If you’re wondering which insurer has the cheapest full coverage car insurance, this depends on the car and where you’re based.

The used cars that are cheapest to insure in 2021 are the 2009 Dodge Journey SXT 2WD, 2011 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew 4x4, and 2010 Toyota Matrix.

Even though there are myths out there that colour has an effect on your insurance, it doesn’t.

What Is the First Thing You Should Do After Buying A Used Car?

After buying a used car, you should visit a mechanic to fix any issues with the car. You should also check that the tires are in a good state and replace the car’s air filters. Finally, change as many of the fluids in the car as you can. Get an oil change.

How to Drive A Used Car Home

When it comes to how to drive a used car home, you first need to make sure that you have the license plate affixed to the car. You are legally required to drive in Ontario with license plates if you’re driving on a public road.

You also need insurance. If you’ve done all this, then you can drive your car home.

As for whether your car needs to be registered, regardless if purchased from a dealership or privately, it needs to be registered within six days of you having made the purchase.

Need More Information?

Now that you know all about buying a used car in Ontario, you're ready to get out on the road. However, you might need more information. Maybe you want to learn more about car insurance or need help budgeting for your used car.

Whatever information you need, at Insurdinary, we can help. We’re experts when it comes to helping you make financial decisions. To learn more about how we can help you with your car insurance, contact us now.

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