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Used Car Buying FAQs

Used Car Buying FAQs

There's a lot to think about when buying a used car. As well as researching the features and qualities of individual makes and models, there are also several important general points to bear in mind when buying any used car from a dealership or private seller. Here are the answers to six common questions to help guide you through the maze.


1) Do Used Cars Have Sales Tax?


Yes, all used cars bought from a dealership incur both federal and provincial sales taxes, as with any other product. However, for private sales the situation varies from province to province, with some charging higher levels than others, and some charging none at all. Be sure you know the situation in your province before buying privately.


2) Do Used Cars Come with a Warranty?


Relatively new used cars are often still covered by the manufacturer's original warranty, with many now providing coverage for five years or even longer. The remaining warranty will transfer to you along with the car once you complete the paperwork. Older cars may or may not be sold with a warranty, depending on the dealership, so it's important to ask first so you know your position before buying.


3) Do Used Cars Come with a License Plate?


No, in most cases the license plates are registered to the vehicle owner rather than the vehicle itself, and you should fit your own license plates to any used car you buy within ten to 14 days depending on the local regulations.


4) Can You Lease a Used Car?


Although the vast majority of lease vehicles are new, it's actually possible to lease a used car. You'll probably save quite a lot of money on the monthly payments compared to leasing a new car, but unless the package includes a warranty you might find that you're hit with repair bills.


5) Should I Buy a Used Car from a Dealership?


The cartoon image of an untrustworthy used car dealer is well and truly out of date. Today, buying a used car from a dealership is generally safer than buying from a private seller. Whether or not the car is sold with a warranty, any reputable dealership will have thoroughly inspected the car before putting it on sale, and you'll have more comeback if something does go wrong. Any dealership which provides poor service and bad vehicles will quickly go out of business, so buying from an established dealership makes a lot of sense.


6) What is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?


Lastly, before buying any used car make sure it has a valid vehicle identification number (VIN) that's readily supplied. Each vehicle produced has a unique VIN that it keeps throughout its life, and you can use it to check whether the car has been involved in any accidents, safety recalls, or other incidents you might want to know about. You can also check the ownership history of a car using the VIN, which is useful for making sure you're buying from a legitimate seller.

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