Buying Tips

Knowing what it's worth

Once you've picked out the type of vehicle you want, this is when the fun starts. We recommend that you compare the prices of several similar vehicles in your vicinity to get a feel for the prices ranges and to make sure that the vehicle you are looking at falls within the ballpark. If you don't know much about car prices, find a price guide. Spend the couple bucks for the price guide and you might save hundreds or even thousands when buying a car. One well respected price guide is the Canadian Red Book which is now available to the public and can be ordered online.

Used Cars

Wholesale prices are also available from the Canadian Black Book. You can access Canadian Black Book consumer vehicle values online.

"Now Canadians can access Canadian Black Book trade-in values online as well - as long as they know where to look. Surprisingly, you won't find them at www.canadianblackbook.com, although you can purchase the Canadian Black Book Consumer Guide, a print edition of Black Book which is sold to the general public. This guide contains both average trade-in and average retail prices for used vehicles. These prices are what you can expect to get from a dealer for your old car. Select a year, make, model, options and current kilometres and the pricing engine returns a value range. A dealer may offer you a price within this range - after deducting for repairs or reconditioning that would be required to sell the old car."

There are several reasons why knowing the vehicle's history is crucial. The more informed you are about the vehicle you're considering for purchase, the more confident you'll be with your purchase decision. As a buyer, you have a right to know the complete history of the vehicle for sale.

Has it been written-off, junked, salvaged, scrapped or destroyed? Was it rebuilt or stolen? Is the mileage accurate or has the odometer reading been tampered with? Could it be a lemon? Was it a rental car or a taxi? According to a recent Consumer Reports Special Report, about half of the annually estimated 2.5 million vehicles totaled each year in North America are sold at salvage auctions, rebuilt and put back on the road.

An CarProof vehicle history report combined with a thorough mechanical inspection provides the answers, gives you peace of mind, and can help you avoid problem cars. Order your CarProof vehicle history report here.

2. Have the vehicle inspected by a professional

A proper inspection can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Sometimes it takes more than just kicking the tires or checking under the hood to see if a car is in good shape. Be sure that you get the inspection done by a reputable and honest service / inspection station. Have them lift the vehicle up on a hoist and look for any signs of accident damage and leaks, this could uncover any unreported damages and wear that may not appear on a vehicle history report.

3. Odometer rollback and how to spot it

Unfortunately this is surprisingly common problem. Throughout the U.S. and Canada, as many as 1 in 10 vehicles have some kind of "distance discrepancy", suggesting that their odometers had been turned back.

It is one of the oldest dodges in the book. Buy a high mileage car, wind the odometer back and sell the car for a useful profit. In the past such shenanigans were carried out in a back street garage and involved removing the entire dashboard from the car. But new technology has meant that today's crooks don't even need to scrape their knuckles. No wrenches are needed and neither is a shop. Instead, roaming rogue technicians armed with a laptop can visit you at home and rapidly increase your car's value while you wait.

Choosing the right vehicle

Choosing the type of vehicle you want and need is a very personal decision. Sport utility? Truck? Family Sedan? Sport Coupe? Convertible? Performance? There are several very good buying guides and magazines available to help you make that decision. One of our favorites is Canadian Driver. They have a good section of used car reviews from selected manufacturers dating as far back as 1991. We will also soon have used car reviews available on the Auto Facts site; bookmark us and check back often. It's always a good idea to do your homework and do some research on the type of vehicle your looking for.

A proper inspection can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Sometimes it takes more than just kicking the tires or checking under the hood to see if a car is in good shape. Be sure that you get the inspection done by a reputable and honest service / inspection station. Have them lift the vehicle up on a hoist and look for any signs of accident damage and leaks, this could uncover any unreported damages and wear that may not appear on a vehicle history report.

Protection & Security for you and your vehicle

After you've taken all the necessary steps to ensure that you make the right buying decision and you have full confidence in your purchase, we recommend that you protect your new investment. Any vehicle could at any time suffer from breakdowns and is vulnerable to theft.

These days the prices for automobile repairs have skyrocketed making it a virtual necessity to have extended warranty coverage. There are a lot of companies offering various extended warranty plans, some are good and some are not so good.

While a good extended warranty can save you thousands in the event of a breakdown, it cannot protect your vehicle from theft. Law enforcement agencies and insurance companies agree that one of the best anti-theft protection systems is the proven window etching system.

Are there any outstanding recalls?

For you and your passengers safety, it's always a good idea to find out if there are any outstanding recalls on your vehicle. General recall information can be found at this Transport Canada website. This database has recall information of all vehicle makes and models in Canada, but it's not VIN specific. To find out if any of these recalls apply specifically to your vehicle, check with your dealership.

Are there any outstanding liens?

Conducting your due diligence by performing a lien search before buying a vehicle is no different than finding out if a house has a mortgage on it before purchasing it. Knowing if there is a secured 3rd interest on the vehicle is a definite must.

According to Ron Giblin, former vice president of the Insurance Crime Prevention Bureau (ICPB) and CEO of Lien Quest, "The stolen and embezzled vehicle industry costs the used vehicle industry about $1 billion a year in Canada." Any party with secured interest on the vehicle often has the right to collect by any means necessary, including repossession, no matter who the current owner is. When a vehicle is brought to another jurisdiction (sold to someone in another province or state), litigation can be quite costly to prove that it was purchased under the notion that no liens were outstanding.

Even then, the chances of getting the original perpetrator to pay off the lien are slim, "Someone is going to pay somewhere down the line," Giblin said. "The last guy on the totem pole gets stuck with the bill." For your own protection, always be sure to do a lien search before the purchase of any used vehicle. We'd recommend www.carproof.com for a complete and up to date lien check to any or all of the Canadian jurisdictions.

Insurance Shopping

As time passes and both you and your car age, you need to keep a close eye on your insurance coverage to get the best deal possible. It's worth the effort to shop for new insurance every couple of years (more frequently if you've got the gumption). The Internet makes this easier than ever, but be sure to check in with an agent or two. Often, the company that insures your home, life or business will also cover your car and sometimes at substantial savings over even the best deals you'll find on the Internet.

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Don't Waste

Every time you accelerate, you burn additional fuel, so to get the best possible mileage, accelerate up to cruising speed at a moderate pace. Creeping up to speed won't save significant fuel, since engines are actually more efficient with the throttle open to a point. Once you reach cruising speed, hold your throttle position as steady as possible. Endless cycles of acceleration and coasting are needlessly hard on your engine and on your fuel mileage.

Well where do I begin, Leasing is always best if the price and rates are the same as a finance, but your also protected and the manufacture takes the loss and that’s why they are not all offering leasing anymore…I could go on and on, but here are some simple thoughts…

  • If it gets repainted for whatever reason the resale goes down by a minimum of 25%
  • Do better things with your money then a deprecating asset
  • Markets change
  • You want to change vehicles before warranty runs out

And if at the end of the lease you can sell it or trade it in or buy it or release it; you have options not obligations

My old Jewish accountant once told me, Frank if the house across the street from you is $50,000 today and in 4 year from now it will be worth $20,000 would you buy it Frank? No I wouldn’t; well I feel the same holds true for a vehicle…

Frank Gucciardi | Help Me Buy A Vehicle

1-888-441-2332 (office) | 416-817-1663 (mobile)

frank@helpmebuyavehicle.com | www.helpmebuyavehicle.com

Canadian New Vehicle Buyers Checklist

5 Steps to a Great New Vehicle Deal

Buying a new vehicle is a big decision, but it doesn't have to be a difficult one. The average person will buy 5-8 vehicles in their lifetime. Preparing yourself and doing your homework is the key to being able to make these decisions with total confidence. Buying the right Vehicle at a fair price does have its challenges, but here are some helpful tips and things to be aware of, to help you make the process as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

1 Do your homework

Research that new vehicle; view different models on line and familiarize yourself with what is available. In doing so, you may discover a particular model that you may not have known about. There are many good automotive magazines. You can search by make, model, style, type etc. It provides excellent information about the vehicle's engine and transmission, including standard, optional and safety features, as well as price comparisons and more. They also have a huge library of road tests and reviews about virtually every make and model.

Don't narrow your vehicle selections down to one car, just yet. If you become set on buying one particular car, you may lose a lot of potential negotiating power. This way, if you can't get a good deal on one car, you can negotiate on another.

Most manufacturers offer special low interest financing programs. These subsidized programs are very costly to the manufacturers. Therefore, quite often, they will offer a cash incentive to buyers who do not take advantage of their low rate financing. Explore your financing options outside the dealership realm, such as your bank or through a credit union. Note that although the dealer may offer a lower rate, arranging financing yourself may qualify you for a cash incentive that you wouldn't otherwise qualify for.

2 Choose to buy or lease

Leasing a vehicle was originally an option exclusively for the business owner. Over time it has become a way for anybody to drive a better car that might otherwise be unaffordable. If you regularly trade your car in every few years, or prefer the security of driving a new car every three or four years, you may want to consider a lease. Leasing allows you lower monthly payments compared to financing a new car purchase, which in turn will allow you to get the vehicle you may need or want, which would otherwise be out of your budget. If you plan to drive your car for a long time, leasing may not be for you.

3 Options - Think safety

Decide ahead of time, which features you want in your new car. Be aware that not every model has every feature you may be looking for. You may have to compromise by settling with one less feature or spending more and choosing the next model up. Consider safety options as your best bet: antilock brakes, traction control, side air bags etc. You may be offered a larger engine, but nine out of ten new cars perform just fine with the base engine and you'll save on fuel in the long run as well.

While extras like rust proofing, extended warranties and other assorted services, may be valuable. If you are interested in any of these extras, you may want to do some comparison-shopping first.

4 Take a good long test drive

Test-drive the vehicles. There is no better way for you to determine whether you will feel comfortable with a car than to take it for a test drive.

Narrow down your choice to two or three models and go out for as long as the salesperson will allow, ideally a minimum of 30 minutes. Some dealerships may have insurance restrictions and therefore will only allow you to go on a test drive with a sales representative. Ask to drive it yourself if possible.

Take a friend and or the kids along. Take the highway. Try to park. Move the seats. Work the switches. Load some cargo. In no time, the car's strengths and faults will become clear, helping you with the decision.

5 Negotiate from the driver's seat at home

'Dicker up' from the dealer invoice price rather than down from the (MSRP) Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.

Negotiate on the vehicle price itself, not the monthly instalments. Dealers will often ask you what you can afford to pay monthly. Be honest with yourself and the sales representative, regarding what payment level you can truly afford. This saves both parties from wasting time working on a vehicle that doesn't fit into your budget.

If you can't stand this part of the car buying experience, there is help and it's cheap. Certified Negotiators  do the dirty work for you. They will negotiate with 3 dealers that you choose from in your area and then they'll find a fourth to try to beat them all. You simply select the dealer that offers you the best overall deal and make the final arrangements to pick up your new car. It doesn't get any easier than this. The aggravation of buying a new car is totally eliminated.

Education is the key to confidence when buying a car

Being well informed will minimize any apprehensions you may have. If you follow this Canadian New Car Buyer's Checklist as a guideline, you will do your homework, price out vehicles on line, go on a few test drives, negotiate with confidence and have a satisfying and enjoyable new car buying experience. Enjoy the process and enjoy your new ride home!


Highly unlikely. Auto insurance rates vary considerably from company to company. In fact, each insurer's car insurance rates are so unique to them that it's pretty safe to say that no two are alike.

The last myth proves why shopping around to compare quotes is time well spent. Shop around for car insurance quotes to make sure you are getting the coverage you need at the best available price.

False. Too often, drivers think that only those with bad driving histories have to shop around. This is simply not true. Everyone, good drivers or bad, should shop around to make sure they're getting the best price for the coverage they need.

This one confuses many people. A deductible is the portion of an insurance claim you agree to pay; your insurance company picks up the rest. As a result, the more you're willing to take on at the time of a claim, the less you'll have to pay in premiums. Translation: The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

True and false: It's true, but it won't be covered for long. Most policies require that you notify your insurer within three to seven days of picking up your new wheels. Be certain, notify your insurer before you pick up your new car to make sure you have the coverage you need.

Unlikely. Where you live is one of the factors taken into consideration when determining your rate. When you move your premiums will likely change; for the lucky, it might mean paying less, for others, it might mean paying more.

Not necessarily. Auto insurance premiums are based on many factors including the car's accident frequency, repair costs, theft frequency, vandalism and safety ratings. When these factors are combined, a cheaper car could cost more to insure than a luxury model.

False. Where you live is just one component that affects your rate; there are many others like your driving experience, insurance history, the number of drivers in your home, and the number and type of vehicles you drive.

That depends. Your first minor speeding ticket (typically defined as being less than 50 km/h over the speed limit) may not affect your insurance rate; it will depend on your insurer. But, get two or three and you'll probably be paying more to be insured. A major speeding ticket (usually 50 km/h or more over the speed limit) and your rates go up for sure.

Parking tickets do not count against your insurance, but unpaid fines could affect your ability to renew your driver's licence or worse result in a licence suspension—which will affect your rate.

Not necessarily. People often think a 2-door car is sportier and thus more expensive to insure but insurance companies rate cars based on the claims history of that vehicle—not how many doors it has. They look at things like the car's accident frequency, repair costs, theft frequency, vandalism and safety ratings for each make and model. When these factors are combined, a 4-door could cost more to insure than a 2-door model.

Most people may not know it, but the insurance industry is colour-blind. It doesn't matter if your car is blue, red, silver, white, or black, your insurance rate for that make and model of car will be the same.

What colour is your car? See what the most popular car colours are.

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