“Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?”
— Robin Williams
Buying A Car
Every province has its own laws with regards to motor vehicle safety and the automobile market. Immigrants are advised to research the laws in their local province.
In Ontario, for example, the Canadian Provincial Government’s Ministry of Transportation can be contacted at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca . When buying a used vehicle, ask for a “Used Vehicle Information Package” (UVIP) upfront, it is worth every cent. The UVIP will give the history of the vehicle from the time it was registered in Ontario. If the Seller tells you that he had the vehicle for five years in Ontario, but the UVIP shows it has been in Ontario only for 1 year, something may be missing. Investigate further. The Motor Vehicle Industry Council in Ontario is responsible for ensuring that motor vehicle dealers in Ontario comply with the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act. If something goes wrong the consumer might have recourse through the Motor Vehicle Compensation Fund. If a newcomer buys a vehicle privately there is no recourse under the Act and through the Fund.
Purchasing A Car And Insuring It – a new rule from beginning of 2006
In order to purchase a vehicle and be insured in Ontario, one has to have an Ontario drivers licence (even though immigrants are permitted to drive on International licences and have 2 months to get a local licence). See more info regarding Ontario Licensing.
It is illegal to be working as a non-registered motor vehicle dealer. These people (known as “curbsiders”) are getting charged, fined and some even go to jail. However one is allowed to buy another citizen’s car privately. Up to twenty percent of used car advertisers in Toronto are curbsiders.
The Automobile Consumer Coalition receive about 50-60 calls a day about deals that have gone bad.
What should you do?
- Find a reliable and registered motor vehicle dealer – ask your friends or family.
If buying through a dealer ask for their registration certificate of the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Association. If you are in another province ask for a similar document, if it is required by provincial laws.
- Ask for a UVIP upfront, especially when buying privately. The UVIP is a Ontario document and other provinces might have other information packages for their vehicles.
- Avoid being pressured into a hurried decision.
- Avoid sellers that discourage you to check facts.
- Go to Autotrader (on the website or buy a hard copy) or any other website for second hand cars (see below) or buy a book about new cars (see below) and determine the value of similar vehicles.
- Ask the seller to put it in writing that there are no liens against the vehicle (no money owned on the vehicle).
- Have the car tested at a testing facility, such as Canadian Tire. Canadian Tire can do a complete vehicle check for about $100. When buying from an individual, tell the person that if everything is OK you will refund the cost of the Canadian Tire report. First contact Canadian Tire and ask the latest cost of the test and exactly what information it will include.
- Buy a book about used or new cars in Canada, it is worth every cent. For example certain car models might be known for weak air-conditioning or weak gearboxes. Make sure that these weak points are well investigated when the car is inspected. There are several books that can be considered in the Lemon-Aid series:
- Lemon Aid: Used Cars 2002 by Phil Edmonston ISBN 0773761829 Cost $26,99
- Lemon Aid: Used Cars & Minivans 2003 by Phill Edmonston ISBN 0773762795 Cost $ 26,99
- Lemon Aid: New Cars and Mini-Vans 2002 by Phil Edmonston ISBN 077376237X Cost $26,99
- Check the cost of insurance before a car is bought, because it could be as high as your monthly payments on the car.
Websites To buy Cars – (Second Hand and New):
carpages – for second hand or new cars
Trader – for second hand or “previously enjoyed” vehicles
Carsbynet – for second hand cars
Autonet – for second hand cars
Hebdo – for Quebec
Ford – new car prices
BMW – for new and used car prices
Toyota – for new car prices
Hyundai – for new car prices
Nissan – for new car prices
GM Canada – for Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick, GMC, Saturn, SAAB and Isuzu
Chrysler – for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep
Volvo – for new car prices