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Buying a Used Vehicle in Ontario?

Good used vehicles are in demand. With careful shopping and some research, you can find a vehicle to fit your needs but even a well-made vehicle deteriorates if it is not properly maintained. Do not be blinded by the reputation of a particular make or model.

  • Always inspect a vehicle in the daylight.

  • Carefully check for extreme wear of the upholstery, seats, brake and accelerator pedals. New pedals may signal the car has had a lot of use.

  • Look closely at the exterior. Waves on the body could mean bodywork or that the vehicle has been in an accident.

  • Take it for a road test that includes driving at different speeds and on different road conditions. The test helps evaluate the steering, brakes, shock absorbers and front-end alignment.

  • Ask about the vehicle's accident history. If there have been accidents, get a written summary of the accident information.

  • Ask for the Used Vehicle Information Package.

  • Take the vehicle to your mechanic or to a diagnostic centre for a check-up before buying.

Note: Odometer tampering is a criminal offence. An average vehicle gathers 16,000 to 20,000 kilometres per year. Look out for odometers showing low kilometres for the vehicle's age and signs of wear. If you believe the odometer has been tampered with report it to the police.

A buyer's checklist 

Make sure the Vehicle Identification Number on the vehicle matches the Vehicle Identification Number on the vehicle permit 

  • If it does not match, seller must call ServiceOntario's Driver and Vehicle Contact Centre: 

  • Toronto area: 416-235-2999 

  • Toll free: 1-800-387-3445 (Canada wide)

Get the vehicle permit with the completed Application for Transfer from the seller.

Get the "Bill of Sale" from the seller. Make sure the seller fills out their name and signature, date, and purchase price.

Bring the plate portion of the vehicle registration permit. (if you are attaching your plate to the vehicle)

Ask to see the Used Vehicle Information Package. If you buy the vehicle, make sure the seller gives you the package.

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