5 Steps to Buying a Used Car in Toronto: A Car Buying Guide

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5 Steps To Buying A Used Car In Toronto: A Car Buying Guide

car salesman make a deal and hand over the key

Buying a used car can be your wisest decision, especially when executed properly. You will secure your dream car in no time and get the best value for your money. 

However, this bright idea can be a nightmare if you do not know how to successfully acquire the best used car dealership. Scammers and hidden car issues are issues that might happen.

It is a sad fact, but there’s no need to worry, as this article will save you from the headache and will provide you with the perfect step-by-step guide to buying a used car. Read on to discover…

  • How to not get scammed by car dealers
  • The 5 steps in buying a used car in Toronto
  • What to avoid when buying a pre-owned car
  • List of documents you need when buying a used car
  • 7 important things to check when buying a secondhand vehicle

What are the steps in buying a used car in Toronto?

The steps in buying a used car in Toronto starts by preparing your budget and knowing what your ideal vehicle is, researching the car’s information and listings, visiting the vehicle in person for inspection and test drive, then asking the seller the right questions, and lastly, legal ownership transfer.

What are the documents needed when buying a used car in Toronto?

There is a downside for sure in buying a used car. Dishonest car dealers may lie about the vehicle’s state by covering up physical and mechanical damages. Fortunately, there is one way to avoid this mishap from occurring and that is by asking the seller for proper documentation. 

The following documents are needed when you choose to buy a car in Toronto:

#1. Used Vehicle Information Package

Also known as UVIP, is the most important document you need to see when you buy used cars in Toronto. As the name itself says, it is a package of everything you have to know about the pre-owned vehicle. It includes…

  • Car’s registration history
  • Outline of the car’s market value
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Bill of Sale section for an easier legal transfer of ownership

Take note that the Used Vehicle Information Package is mandatory in Toronto for autosales. This means any legitimate used car seller should be able to present the buyer with a UVIP.

#2. Safety Standards Certificate

Like any other place, Toronto has its legal driving safety standards which adhere to Ontario’s safety inspection criteria. A used car for sale should have a Safety Standards Certificate or SSC to prove that the vehicle is safe to drive. 

SSC is required for you to put a license plate on a car and has only 36 days of validity upon inspection. A pre-owned vehicle can be certified by passing the minimum safety requirements at any authorized inspection station by the Ministry of Transportation. 

#3. Bill of Sale

This document is proof of the legal transfer of ownership. Make sure to secure a copy of the bill of sale when you purchase used cars in Toronto. 

As a buyer, it is best to demand to see the bill of sale ahead of your purchase. This will allow you to have enough time to carefully review the content before signing and putting down your money. 

For a hassle-free car valuation process, you may check out: Motori Vehicle Valuation Services 

5 practical steps to buying a used car in Toronto

Step 1. Prepare 

Proper preparation is the key to a smooth autosales transaction. Give plenty of time in planning what vehicle suits your preferences and budget. This will help you downsize your options and make a well-grounded choice for a car. 

To help you decide, try to think of how you can benefit from the vehicle by considering things such as…

  • Tax
  • City road
  • Insurance 
  • Depreciation
  • Licensing fee
  • Fuel economy 
  • Personal style
  • Car features necessities
  • Repair and maintenance

Step 2. Research 

There’s a couple of things you need to research when looking for a used car for sale. First thing to see is what your ideal vehicle’s worth by comparing it to other cars in the market. You may do this by consulting reliable websites like Car and Driver to weigh the pros and cons. 

In terms of your budget, searching for cheap used cars in Toronto doesn’t equal cheap quality. This time, focus on finding pre-owned vehicle listings and ads in your area. Believe me, an affordable car can look and perform like brand new with the right car dealer. 

Wondering where is the best place to buy used cars in Toronto? Check out the cars we’ve got for sale at Motori Autosales for exceptional quality, performance, and long-term reliability. 

Step 3. Personal Visit 

If you finally have an ideal car in mind, it’s time to visit the vehicle in person and do a test drive. See if it fits your liking and feels comfortable to drive. 

We also recommend that you bring your trusted mechanic to inspect the car with you. This way, you will have a reliable person to do an interior and exterior full car inspection. 

You may also consider checking the papers like the Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) and Safety Standards Certificate (SSC).

The perks of bringing a mechanic when inspecting used cars in Toronto are…

  • Knowing potential car problems
  • Checking hidden parts of the vehicle
  • Getting an honest perception of the car’s condition 
  • Giving unbiased insight if the car is worth buying or not

Step 4. Ask Questions

An informative conversation with the seller about the vehicle is a great factor in deciding your final purchase. Ask and you shall get answers, they say. However, you’ll only get the information you need if you ask the right questions. 

Here are some guide questions that may shed some light:

  • How long has the car been owned?
  • What is the car’s current condition?
  • Has the car been in any accidents?
  • Did the car have regular oil changes?
  • Who or where did you purchase the vehicle from?
  • Has anything on the car ever been replaced or upgraded?
  • Are there any mechanical problems I need to know about?

Step 5. Legal Documents Transfer

You’ll get to this step if you made the decision to finally purchase the car and seal the autosales deal. The last thing you need to do is legally transfer the vehicle’s ownership by…

  1. Getting the vehicle permit and signed Application of Transfer from the seller. 
  2. Secure the Bill of Sale from the USVP document. Check if the information is complete such as the name of seller and buyer, date of purchase, car’s selling price, and signature. 
  3. As a buyer or the new owner of the car, you have six days after your purchase to register the vehicle under your name. You may do this by taking all the documents you got from the seller to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office. Then pay the licensing fees and tax. 
  4. Present the Safety Standards Certificate (SSC) to get the vehicle’s license plate.

7 important things to check when buying a used car in Toronto

Inspecting a pre-owned car might sound like an intimidating task to do. But we’re going down the easy road, spot a valuable and reliable vehicle with this checklist before you buy used cars in Toronto. 

mechanic repairman checking a car engine car service

#1. Vehicle history 

Knowing the vehicle’s history will let you access detailed information about the car. You may use the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to check and find out the data you need.

#2. Accident history 

The car’s accident history will tell how much damage the vehicle has been through before and its current state. Find out and take note if there are parts that have been replaced. 

#3. Vehicle mileage 

A car with high mileage will have mechanical parts that are significantly worn out. To determine the car’s mileage, divide the odometer reading by the age of the car. 

#4: Car’s paperwork 

When you buy a car in Toronto, a legit car dealer will be able to provide complete legal vehicle documents. Specifically, the (UVIP) Used Vehicle Information Package and the (SSC) Safety Standards Certificate. 

#5. Signs of damage 

Inspect the vehicle with a careful eye when you buy a car in Toronto. Watch out for visible signs of tire issues, frame problems, trunk dents, and paint chips or rusty patches. 

You might also be interested in achieving a customized car design through Motori Auto Design

#6. Interior check 

The inside is as important as the outside in purchasing economical used cars in Toronto. Interior dashboard electronics must be taken into consideration. Checking for stains and fabric tears on the upholstery is also a must as it can cost a fortune to repair.

#7: Engine inspection 

Having your mechanic is the most helpful thing to do if you opt to buy used cars in Toronto. An engine inspection done by a professional you trust will help you understand the vehicle’s mechanical condition in a broader view. 

What to avoid when buying a used car?

Things you should avoid when buying a used car are purchasing without research, skipping through the vehicle history investigation, forgoing required legal papers, and inspecting the car’s engine without a mechanic.

Practice a careful pre-owned car purchase by avoiding obvious signs of car dealership scams. Be always vigilant and make sure to seek the help of a mechanical professional in inspecting the vehicle.

How can I avoid getting scammed for a used car?

You can avoid getting scammed for a used car by gathering legitimate information through research. Conducting a background check on your prospective car dealers might help you in choosing reputable sellers. Also, have your mechanic expert with you during the inspection for a fair and honest evaluation.


Watch out for red flags in auto sellers that may be used by scammers. Some of the signs are:

  • Existing lien
  • Too good to be true price
  • Lack of legal vehicle paperwork
  • Hidden fees in warranties and discounted rates
  • Tampered odometer causes inconsistency in mileage
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