Buying a vehicle is probably one of the things on your list of things to do when you arrive in British Columbia. Many people choose to buy a new car at this stage, but there are good reasons to consider a second hand, used car.
Firstly they are cheaper. The depreciation that hits all new cars has already had it’s evil way. You might also find it easier to buy a cheap used car than to get the credit to buy or lease new.
If you do go for a used vehicle here are a few tips.
1. Dealerships sell used vehicles of all makes. They will be newer and more expensive than from a private seller but you can expect them to have been checked over and have some kind of warranty.
2. Private sellers advertise in a variety of places, most usually craigslist, but also even by putting a sign on the car and parking it at a visible location.
3. Research vehicles before you start looking at them in earnest, especially if you’re new to the country. Buying something too big, or too small, too expensive to run or lacking something you later find you need (4 wheel drive say) can be costly.
5. Look at the vehicle history. In B.C. where we have ICBC as the mandatory provider of basic insurance you can get a pretty full history of any vehicle that has been in B.C. for its life. ICBC offers two reports: a claims history or a CarProof report that looks at private insurers and other factors. At about $20 and $70 respectively they are an inexpensive way of verifying the vehicle’s history.
6. Get a full mechanical inspection done. This can be done at Canadian Tire, via BCAA or at most garages. At under $200 these are really worth doing. I recommend that you ask the seller to pay for the report.
7. Test drive the vehicle. Obvious but I had someone interested one of our cars and she never drove it – I simply drove her around the neighbourhood. (Perhaps my driving put her off because she did not buy it!)
8. Negotiate. Don’t be afraid to ask for money off for whatever defects you find or simply because it is usually a buyer’s market!
9. When it comes to transferring the vehicle into your name, go to an Autoplan Broker with the seller. Beforehand agree on the price you’re declaring – you, as the buyer, will pay tax on this value. If the vehicle is cheap enough the seller can gift it to you.