Buying a Used Car: 8 Golden Rules

Are you buying a used vehicle and do not have a “tank-loving” uncle to help you? No problem. We have compiled a little guide for you.

1. Identify your needs

Will you travel around the city or will you have to go bravely on the dirt roads? Do you have to carry heavy loads? Will you be expanding your family soon?

“You do not have to lie to yourself and convince yourself that you need an SUV because you occasionally go to the hardware store,” believes Jesse Caron, an automotive expert at CAA-Quebec.

He adds that for special occasions like family trips, there is always a way to rent a wider vehicle for a few days.

2. Create a budget

Now that you have determined the type of vehicle you need, you need to set a budget.

Frédérick Goupil, car broker at Auto Imprest, believes that sometimes it is better to spend a little more when buying.

“If you buy a tank for $ 5,000, you may have to pay $ 2,000 or $ 3,000 for repairs in the next two years and it will be depreciated. “It’s not a good investment,” he explains.

In addition to monthly payments and gasoline, Mr. Caron adds that there are costs we did not think of at first. He suggests using the CAA-Quebec Cost Calculator to get a better idea.

“We can decide the mileage we will cover and estimate fuel costs. “It also calculates depreciation, the average cost of insurance for a typical profile, registrations … It really gives a good picture”, he says.


Buying a Used Car: 8 Golden Rules

3. Choose your vendor

Now you need to choose your type of vendors. First, there are the big resellers and sellers.

The advantage of representation? They are maintained to the highest standards, so major repairs are likely to have already been made. Although they offer financing, however, you should expect to pay more than if you buy from an individual.

If you choose a private individual, it will be necessary to make sure the owner has kept the maintenance bills and find out the history of the car, but we will get back to that.

“A trusted trader will do more work, while buying from an individual requires more time and effort,” thinks Stephan Lalonde, national group and Quebec director at CARFAX.

We should also mention that cars purchased by individuals do not benefit from the protection of consumer protection law.

“If the engine ever swells after two weeks, there is no guarantee,” warns Frédérick Goupil.

Moreover, the latter recalls that it may also be interesting to use the services of a car broker.

“The advantage is that it is neutral and does not lean towards a certain brand. “He will offer you the right product for the budget you have,” he argues.


Buying a Used Car: 8 Golden Rules

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4. Choose the right model

To make the best choice, you need to put aside your prejudices.

“We have often heard that before [voitures] the Japanese were good, the Americans were bad, and the Europeans would be expensive. “You can not be so cut and dry,” explains Jesse Caron.

It also happens that some well-reputed brands have bad harvests.

“There are always models and years that you can not touch. “The Honda Ridgeline, for example, has long been known for its transmission problems.” Goupil.

For more information, it is best to consult the graphs like that of JD Power which gives a reliability index after 3 years.

“You also have to be careful about high-end cars that have a lot of electronic relay. With age, these relays can fail. “They are often expensive to repair and not all mechanics can do it.”


Buying a Used Car: 8 Golden Rules

bizoo_n – stock.adobe.com

5. Create the story

Have you targeted what looks like a good offer? Now we have to “do our homework,” says Stephan Lalonde.

“There are two things that determine the price of a vehicle, its average value, but also its unique history,” he explains.

To determine the average value of the selected model, several evaluation tools are available for free online.

Then, we are interested in the history of the vehicle. We determine if there were several owners, if they were involved in an accident or if they were subject to withdrawals. For about $ 50, CARFAX can provide you with a detailed report.

Take a test drive

That’s all: now you have to try the car, but not anyway. Start by defining a representative path of the uses you will make, ideally an itinerary that is familiar to you.

“You have to see how the car behaves in the city or on the highway, test the brakes and accessories, inspect the inside and the outside,” advises Stephan Lalonde.

“You should not be ashamed to take your time trying out the vehicle. “There are vendors who are sometimes in a hurry, but a good half hour is not much,” recommends Jesse Caron.


Buying a Used Car: 8 Golden Rules

7. Inspect the vehicle

If there is one thing that all experts insist on, it is for the vehicle to be inspected by a trusted mechanic, regardless of whether you buy it from an individual or from a dealership. It detects mechanical problems that may allow you to negotiate the price down or simply drop the purchase.

“An inspection costs an average of $ 150. It’s $ 150 that can save you a lot, Mr. Caron believes. If you are refused an inspection, something bad is probably happening. »

Mr. Goupil also adds that it is better to avoid cars that have problems with the engine, i.e. with the engine or transmission.

8. Finalize the sale

Have the previous steps been successful? All you have to do is negotiate the final price with the seller if the inspection has revealed mechanical problems.

If you are buying from an individual, you will need to go to a SAAQ branch to register the vehicle in your name. Remember: as long as this is not done, it is the seller who will be held responsible if you commit a breach or if you have an accident.

Finally, you will need to think about vehicle insurance. In Quebec, it is mandatory to have insurance for a minimum amount of $ 50,000. If you are withdrawn by the police without insurance, your driver’s license may be suspended and you may pay a large fine.

With this, drive calmly in your new used car!

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