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Car Buying Tips

10 tips to take the stress out of buying a used vehicle

(NC)-Thinking of buying a used vehicle, but you're not sure what you should be looking for? Keep these tips in mind as you search for your next dream vehicle.

1. Consider carefully where you buy the vehicle.

There are many places to purchase a used vehicle today. A reputable car dealership, a manufacturer's certified pre-owned lot, a newspaper ad, an online ad, a private individual - there are many options, but you may be more comfortable dealing with one option over another.

2. Check that the paperwork seems to be in order.

Does the Vehicle Identification Number on the dash match the one on the door and the registration records? Are the Vehicle Registration forms the original ones and not copies? If the seller is a private individual, ask them to show photo ID to verify the name is the same as on the vehicle's paperwork.

3. Ask to see all repair receipts for the vehicle.

Review all records to identify any potential future problems and to ensure the car has been properly maintained. Keep in mind that stolen vehicles generally don't come with repair records.

4. Ask to see or purchase a vehicle history report.

A vehicle history report will tell you the car's complete history. This information can be the most important you will receive in your decision making process, giving you complete peace of mind about the vehicle you are buying or saving you thousands of dollars in unexpected repair costs down the road. CarProof Vehicle History Reports is a Canadian company that offers the most comprehensive report available. More information is available online at

5. Look carefully at the vehicle in the daylight.

Does the vehicle look like it's been properly maintained? Is there any visible damage? Is the paint an even colour all over the vehicle? Is there extreme wear and tear anywhere or does anything seem brand new?

6. Take the vehicle for a test drive.

Forget how fast it goes, how does it really feel as you are driving it? Does it pull to one side? Does it seem to smoke or do the brakes squeal? All these could mean expensive repairs.

7. Check the odometer.

Does the number of kilometres seem appropriate for the age and reported use of the vehicle? The average is 16,000-20,000 kms a year. Does the rest of the vehicle show more wear and tear than expected for its age?

8. Ask for a written statement about any accidents the vehicle has been in.

A recent survey conducted for CarProof Vehicle History Reports found that the biggest concern for 64 per cent of Canadians when buying a used vehicle was that it may have been damaged in an accident.

9. Get the car checked by a mechanic before the sale is finalized.

A qualified mechanic will be able to detect if the vehicle has hidden repairs, includes welds that were not done at the factory. They will also be able to determine if the vehicle is in proper working condition.

10. If something about the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The car could have been rebuilt after being declared a complete write-off after an accident, or it could be stolen. Walk away if you are not completely comfortable making the purchase.

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