Helpful Tips :: Buying a Used Car
Before you buy...
 

Buying a used car has many advantages, including lower insurance costs, lower taxes and fees, and lower purchase prices.  Unfortunately, unlicensed dealers and "curbsiders" sour many consumers with dubius practices.  With private sales, the dreaded "lemon" prevents many consumers from taking advantage of the tremendous value and savings to be had in a wise used vehicle purchase.

Following a few simple guidelines can lead to the purchase of a vehicle that meets your needs and budget, while minimizing or avoiding unexpected costs.  For an informed purchase, and for peace of mind, do the following BEFORE you buy...

 

1. Have the vehicle inspected
 
Car Care BannerEven the most knowledgable consumer can't know the true condtion of a vehicle without a thorough inspection. "Popping the hood" or "kicking tires" does not suffice.  Without putting the car up on a hoist, removing parts and testing systems, there is no telling what kind issues are present right now, let alone what the car will require down the road.  Knowing what to expect in terms of maintenance and repairs now, six months down the road and next year bears heavily on whether a used car, even a relatively new one, is a wise purchase. 

Book an appointment for a 300 Point Vehicle Inspection and we'll let you know if your intended purchase is worth the investment.  In addition to thoroughly assessing condition of a vehicle, McConville's 300 Point Vehicle Inspection incorporates all the requirements necessary to ensure the vehicle meets Ontario Safety Standards.  An Ontario Safety Standards Certficate is required to deem the vehicle fit for use and to attach Ontario licence plates. 

 

2. Determine the Drive Clean status
 
Drive Clean

Not only is the Ontario Drive Clean program an effective pollution control initiative, it is an excellent method of consumer protection.  While vehicle ownership can be transferred between individuals without a Drive Clean pass, a vehicle cannot be plated in Ontario by a new owner without a current Ontario Drive Clean pass certificate (a conditional pass is not adequate, see the Drive Clean section of our site or www.driveclean.com).  A Drive Clean Pass not only ensures that the vehicle isn't harmful to the environment, but also indicates that the emission controls are working and the engine is running efficiently.

Click this "Find your vehicle's emissions test history" link to determine the test history of a vehicle.  Simply type in the vehicle serial number (17 digit alpha-numeric sequence known as the VIN, found on the dash) to see if, and when, the vehicle last passed a test.  The pass date must be within the past twelve months to be valid to plate the vehicle.  NOTE: No VIN contains the letters "I" or "O".

If bringing a vehicle into Ontario from outside the province, an Ontario emission test will be required.  Out of province emission tests are not valid.

Spending $36.75 on an emission test to ensure the vehicle meets emission standards is a prudent investment compared to discovering hundreds must be spent to diagnose and repair a vehicle that doesn't meet emission standards.  McConville's is a fully accredited Drive Clean Test & Repair Facility. 

 

3. Note the Mileage and Corrosion
 
Krown banner

Mileage and corrosion are the two biggest factors in determining the value of a vehicle.  Don't get caught up in the age of a vehicle, an older vehicle with low mileage and low corrosion can be a better investment than a newer one with higher mileage and/or corrosion damage.  While the price of a car does indeed go down with age, spending more money on an older low-mileage car that has been well maintained may be the wiser investment. 

Due to the large amount of salt applied to roads in Eastern Ontario, a used vehicle that has been treated consistently with KROWN or other form of rust protection has a head start over other comparable vehicles. 

Contact us to learn more or set up an appointment.

 

4. Get an educated opinion about the vehicle
 
bruce balcony

Everyone around you will have an opinion about your prospective purchase.  Family and friends will eagerly share their experiences or third-party knowledge about any prospective vehicle purchase.  This advice may cary plenty of wisdom, however be sure to consult with a professional as well. 

The ideal professional to ask will...

1) Be knowledgable about vehicle maintenance and repair.

2) Have first-hand experience maintaining your vehicle make and model.

3) Have the ability to discuss your model in an open and unbiased manner.

These criteria make an independent garage the ideal partner when buying a used car because...

1) Independent shops work on a greater variety of vehicles more often than most dealerships, making them familiar with the strongest, and weakest, models. 

2) Independent shops repair vehicles from new until they are through their useful life; they know the specific challenges your vehicle will face over its entire useful life

3) An Independent shop can offer an unbiased opinion of a vehicle, as they are not obliged to maintain a higher opinion of a particular product.

At McConville's, we would be happy to share our experience of working on all makes and models for over twenty years.   Let our experience help you find a vehicle that meets your needs and budget, we're here to help!

 

5. Do your Research
 

A vehicle purchase is a large investment, checking a few facts can save huge amounts of time and money. 

When purchasing from a new or used dealer, ensure they are licensed members of OMVIC (Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council).  Buying and selling used vehicles is a very tightly regulated business, and with good reason.  Dealerships must be licensed and salespersons be members in good standing to legally sell vehicles.  An institution that doesn't possess, or can't retain, a dealership license is not one with which you want to do business.  Licensed dealerships are required to adhere to strict rules regarding advertising, vehicle disclosure, training, legislation, and insurance.  Also, consumers have added protection and recourse through OMVIC not available through unlicensed dealerships or private sales. To learn more about OMVIC, vist http://www.omvic.on.ca

When making a private purchase from an individual, be doubly vigilant and ensure you have your vehicle inspected by a professional.  Follow your gut instincts, an individual who refuses to allow the vehicle to be inspected or tested may be doing so for good reason.  Also, you may be dealing with a "curbsider", an unlicensed dealer posing as an individual.  Visit www.omvic.on.ca/info/public_awareness/avoid_curbsiders.htm for tips on how to avoid fraud in purchasing a vehicle privately.