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Buying A Vehicle - A Guide

Finding a car

There is a wide variety of cars available in Canada for purchase as new or second hand.

There are two “best time” periods to buy a car in Canada, at the end of December as dealers cut prices to increase year end sales figures and also from July through to October as dealers sell off cars to make room for the new models.

Canada has a wide variety of second-hand cars available and they are extremely well priced. There are several options available when looking for a car, depending upon the type of car you want, how much money you are willing to spend and how much you know about cars.  Also there are important differences in the way you go about buying a new or used car in each State or Territory.

Purchasing a car

If you are buying a new car you have to go through a dealership.  By buying from a dealer you are covered by all the State and Territory laws that dealers have to operate under.  You also get all the benefits of a full dealer warranty and the security of knowing where you can take your car if you do have a problem.

If you buy a used car it is advisable to check that there is no money owing on it and that the person selling the car actually owns it. 

When buying a used car privately the seller should show you a current registration certificate and a certificate of vehicle safety.  If purchasing at an auction, the auction house must give you a safety check report.

Other important details

LOCAL VARIATIONS - The regulations surrounding driver’s licensing differ between the different States and Territories of Canada.  As a new migrant you will need to approach the local Government authority for further details.

HEADLIGHTS - In 1989 Canada became the second country after Norway to require daytime running lights (DRLs) on all new passenger cars. This is to increase visibility and reduce collisions.

INSURANCE! - New immigrants should definitely bring their full insurance history with them. Without it, Canadian insurance companies are unlikely to recognise protected no claims policies, so you might have to start from scratch!

Useful Sites

The National Highway Safety Administration - http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ 

You may find this site of use as it details regular articles on safety advice, vehicle faults, recalls and safety research.


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