How to Get the Best Deal on a Used Car in Ontario

The bad news about purchasing a new vehicle may have already reached your ears. When you consider that a new car loses about 10% of its value the moment you drive it off the lot and another 40% to 60% in the first five years, you can see why they aren't always a good investment. That's why a lot of people think buying a used car is the smarter move.  

You can save a lot of money on a like-new car if you let the previous owner take the hit instead of you. So, if you are in the market for a pre-owned vehicle in the province of Ontario, don't go spending blindly. Consider these suggestions as you shop for a used car.

Buying a Used Car in Ontario: What You Need to Know

When it comes to buying a pre-owned vehicle, the province of Ontario is no different than any other in this respect. Therefore, you should get to know these specific rules to limit personal and tax liability and to safeguard yourself against curbsiders, scams, and other untrustworthy or dishonest sellers.

Buy a Used Car in Ontario

Budgetary Factors

There are specific tax considerations for purchasers in the province of Ontario when purchasing a used vehicle. If you have never bought a car before, the following summary should help you understand these fees (and avoid sticker shock when you see the final price of the car).

The Ministry of Finance will assess your vehicle's tax based on its Red Book value. You can also find the Red Book value in the seller's UVIP, or Used Vehicle Information Package.  

Even if your purchase price was below the vehicle's Red Book value, the latter will be used to calculate your tax liability.  

Whether you're buying from an individual or a dealership, the final price of a motor vehicle is subject to a 13% harmonized sales tax (HST) upon purchase.

Watch out for those Curbsiders!

Unlicensed car salesmen, known as "curbsiders" in Ontario and the rest of Canada, are a major problem. In addition to passing themselves off as private sellers, these people frequently lie about the vehicle's mechanical condition or change the mileage.  

Always make sure the used car dealer you're dealing with has an Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) license, as buying a car from a curbsider can cost you thousands. It's important to be careful when dealing with private sellers, so it's smart to check the vehicle's history with a service like CarProof or Carfax.  

Records That You Ought To Have

Multiple forms must be presented before you can legally purchase a used vehicle in Ontario. Some of these are required by law, but others aren't. But if you ask for them, you can head off potential issues.

  • The Ministry of Transportation mandates that all private sellers include an UVIP with their transactions. This document includes information such as the wholesale value of the vehicle, the vehicle's history, the VIN, and a bill of sale. You can get a UVIP from ServiceOntario if you need one when purchasing from a dealer.
  • Although not required by law when purchasing a vehicle, a Safety Standards Certificate (SSC) confirms that the vehicle meets minimum safety requirements. In order to register your vehicle with ServiceOntario, you will need this. You can get one at any MVI that has been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
  • Although not mandated by law, a CarProof or Carfax report can provide valuable insight into the history of a vehicle and some peace of mind.

When you buy a car from Clutch, you can relax knowing that every vehicle has been inspected for safety and that you will receive a free Carfax report.

The Ontario Vehicle Registration Process

Buying a car privately? You'll need to get it registered with ServiceOntario within six days. To finish the procedure, please bring:

  • A valid driving permit from Canada
  • After all data collection is complete, the UVIP will
  • Documentation of the transaction's legitimacy, like a bill of sale
  • Auto registration form
  • When transferring a license plate, you must fill out the plate portion of the permit.
  • Official documentation attesting to the vehicle's compliance with safety standards; also known as an "SSC"
  • Budget for governmental expenditures

You can forget about waiting in line at Service Ontario because Clutch will take care of the registration for you before we deliver the vehicle.

Please take note that emission testing for light passenger vehicles is no longer mandatory in Ontario as of 2018.  

Registering a Car in Ontario

Safety-Net Provider for Your Automobile

When shopping for a used car, it's important to factor in not only the car's value but also the insurance premiums and coverage levels you'll need. This will assist you in establishing a reasonable monthly expenditure, and it will also assist you in determining an appropriate amount to insure your vehicle at without having to pay a hefty sum out of pocket.

As per mandates from Ontario's Ministry of Transportation, all insurance companies must offer the same minimum coverage.  

The need for or desire for additional insurance coverage may arise in certain circumstances. The aforementioned rules and regulations include:

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Dangerous Events (such as floods, fires, acts of God, etc.) )
  • Substitutional Cost
  • Gap insurance (which covers the difference between the car's current market price and the outstanding loan balance) is a type of credit insurance.

Once again, you get to decide for yourself how much insurance you actually need. Don't forget to factor in any out-of-pocket costs and make sure you have enough to cover them.

Tips for Choosing the Right Used Vehicle

It's not a one-size-fits-all scenario when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. Whether you're looking for a practical commuter car to get from Pickering to Toronto's Financial District or a sporty ride to impress your coworkers, your choice of a used car should reflect your individual preferences and needs.  

If you want to make the best choice for your needs, you'll need to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each option and prioritize your priorities. When shopping for a used car in Ontario, here are some key considerations.  

Transportation Fuel Economy: Taking the 401 or Driving Downtown

One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a used car is its gas mileage. The price per gallon and range per tank are both determined by this factor.  

In general, a lower L/100km is preferable for families and commuters, but if you're not concerned about the additional cost compared to more efficient vehicles, go for it. Keep in mind that fuel economy for SUVs, trucks, all-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive vehicles will be lower than that of two-wheel drive cars.

Carrying Capacity

Carrying Capacity = Useful Features A larger cargo capacity is great if you are the undisputed Carpool King or Queen at your child's school, the designated errand runner, or you work on a construction site. A two-seater Nissan 370Z or other sports car with no rear seats but a large trunk could serve your needs if you're a single person.

Power of the Engine

Can you never get enough of racing at breakneck speeds? If so, perhaps you'd enjoy driving a turbocharged V-6 or V-8. But this also improves gas mileage. Either you compromise on power to travel farther in each tank, or you find a happy medium. Check the fuel economy and power ratings (top speed and acceleration) of competing vehicles.

Estimates of Risk

Within the last five years, high-tech safety features like automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist have become standard equipment on virtually all new vehicles. However, many of these safety features may not be present in older vehicles.

Consider the car's safety features before making a purchase. Check the NHTSA and IIHS safety ratings as well.


The odometer reading is a crucial component of a vehicle's wholesale and retail value. While acceptable mileage can vary widely between vehicles, Japanese automobiles have a reputation for being among the most durable in the world.

Furthermore, you should examine the possibility of rollbacks. The term "rollback" refers to the illegal practice of reducing the total number of kilometers displayed on an odometer in order to increase the selling price of a vehicle. Compare the odometer reading on the vehicle with the readings on the Carfax report, lien status, or any other document to see if there has been a rollback.

What mileage you ultimately settle on is also heavily influenced by cost. In spite of technically experiencing less wear and tear, low-mileage vehicles typically cost more. It's important to think about things like the vehicle's upkeep in addition to that, though.  

Generalizing, a yearly mileage of 20,000 kilometers is considered par for the course. It would be reasonable to expect a five-year-old car to have about 100,000 kilometers on the odometer.  

Details about the Interior and Extras

There's no need to rule out buying a used base model car. It's minimal, but if you value efficiency above all else, it could be the best choice.  

However, the little extras matter if you enjoy listening to Justin Bieber or Rush on a Bose sound system or need a GPS to find your way around Quebec. Don't forget to check out these options if you want to maximize your satisfaction and save money on replacement and assembly costs.

Fashion Statement

While it's true that the aforementioned factors should be considered, you shouldn't let them prevent you from putting your own stamp on your used car purchase. You shouldn't buy a used car if it fails your inspection or isn't comfortable for you to drive. Because of this, you'll have to balance fashion with function. Try a test drive or check out some reviews if you're having trouble deciding.

Used Car Buying Checklist

The Ultimate Checklist for Purchasing a Pre-Owned Vehicle

If this is your first time buying a used vehicle in Ontario and you're not sure where to begin, read on for some suggestions.

  • Public Auctions vs. Private Sales Even though you can save money by purchasing a car privately, dealerships typically provide additional security in the form of a warranty or guarantee.
  • Do your homework and find the best car at the lowest price possible by reading reviews and reports from organizations like Consumer Reports.  
  • Plan ahead: When creating a spending plan, don't just think about the price tag. Include everything from sales tax and HST to registration and maintenance costs and a Carproof or Carfax report (even if the seller provides it for free).
  • Values for trade-ins can be determined by consulting resources like Kelley Blue Book.
  • When shopping for auto insurance, you'll need to choose between liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage.
  • Putting your mind at ease is our top priority, so we perform a comprehensive 210-point inspection on every clutch we sell. If you decide to purchase a vehicle from a private party, however, you should have a certified mechanic inspect both the inside and outside of the vehicle before you commit to the purchase.
  • Inquire about details that aren't included in the Carproof or Carfax report, such as the reason for the sale. Are there any issues that you've had to deal with before? Who's regular driver was, and where did they take it, (Young motorists are typically rougher on the road than their grandparents. )
Buy a used car online in Ontario

What You Get Out of Purchasing a Clutch-Equipped Vehicle

When looking for a used car in Ontario, the process may seem overwhelming. The process of buying a used car can be simplified if you are aware of the rules that apply and the features to seek out. You can also make use of Clutch, which offers a number of benefits over conventional methods of purchasing a car, such as:

  • A Value Calculator for Your Trade-In
  • The price is the price, period
  • Autobiography of a Car
  • You can return it within 7 days and get your money back.
  • Warranty period of 90 days or 6,000 kilometers

Thanks to all these features, Clutch makes it easy for car shoppers to find their ideal vehicle. Plus, there are a plethora of options available to suit your specific preferences, financial constraints, and practical requirements. So, you can relax knowing that you won't have to deal with the typical headaches of buying a used car, such as the fine print and other annoyances. In all likelihood, that's a position you'll support.

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