Any vehicle purchase is an expensive investment. Many people spend a great amount of time and energy searching for that perfect used vehicle, but always worry if the particular car they are buying was well cared for and free of nasty surprises. Here are some helpful hints to follow when purchasing a used vehicle.
1) Don't shop by price. Very often a vehicle is priced less than other similar vehicles for a very good reason..it's not as good as the other vehicles. It may have been owned by a smoker, been involved in an accident (a Carfax Report doesn't always record an accident repair, especially when it wasn't repaired under insurance), may require costly scheduled maintenance or repairs or just may have been owned by an abusive driver. Find a good car, then negotiate the price you think is fair.
2) Don't shop by mileage. A well maintained higher mileage vehicle usually runs better than a lower mileage, poorly maintained vehicle and is usually much cheaper to buy. Look for service records, good quality tires (drivers that don't take care of cars usually buy cheap tires), worn driver's seat, steering wheel & shift knob (again, if they're not careful getting in and out of their car, they usually are not careful in how they drive their car)
3) Tell the salesperson that you insist on a third party vehicle inspection. If they don't allow it, walk away and find another dealer.
Don't get talked into buying the car and have it inspected later, you can however agree to a small refundable deposit. Once the deal is done, it's almost impossible to get your money back, even if the car turns out to have issues. Many times our technicians discover items that need attention, and these items can be brought to the dealer's attention to get fixed as part of the sale, or the price re-negotiated.
4) If you are buying a vehicle privately (not through a registered
dealer) insist on seeing the Used Vehicle Information Package from the Ministry of Transportation before negotiating the price. This package is not required when purchasing a vehicle from a registered dealer, but can still be useful in determining previous owners, whether they were private owners, banks or finance companies. This package can be purchased from any Ministry of Transportation office for $20.00 and is mandatory for all private sales. Look at who owned the vehicle and for how long. For example: If the vehicle was owned by a dealer for 1 day, another dealer for 3 days, followed by another dealer, the vehicle may have been traded from dealer to dealer; this is standard practice in the industry. On the other hand, if the vehicle had been owned by a auto repair shop, body shop or insurance company, the vehicle may have been damaged in an accident, then rebuilt. Look to see that the last owner recorded in the package is the same person who is selling the car. Some times, the car was sold to a dealer or to another person and was never registered with the Ministry of Transportation, then offered up for sale . This trick is used is to bypass taxation rules as private sales are only charged PST. If you buy this car from a dealer, they can collect both taxes from the buyer but might only remit one tax to the Ministry. If you seek recourse later, the vehicle is considered a private sale and the Used Car Dealers Association has very little power to help you with a dispute.
5) Finally, have the vehicle thoroughly inspected. An experienced technician can determine the condition of the vehicle and any needed repairs or maintenance. If the car was recently washed, they can also examine the body and paint work for previous accident damage or body work. The technicians at Nihon Automotive Specialists have been trained in the the inspection process, and can determine what condition the car is in. The complete inspection takes about an hour, but should be arranged at least one day ahead.
Following this advice can save a lot of money and aggravation during a used vehicle purchase. For more information and a list of what is checked on a Used Vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspection, look in our SPECIAL PROMOTIONS section of our website.