What It Takes To Buy A Used Car In Ontario

What It Takes To Buy A Used Car In Ontario

Written by DriveAxis.ca April 13, 2022

The process of buying a used car is fairly universal, but there are certain differences depending on which province you live in. Ontario residents need to be aware of specific regulations and laws when buying used vehicles, before they decide to go hunting for the perfect set of wheels.

These days, buying a used car seems more logical than ever, especially given the economic turmoil currently circling the globe. However, before the dealer hands you the keys, it’s best to run through all the important steps to make sure you’re getting the best deal for the dollar. Read on to learn the ins and outs of buying a used car in Ontario.


While there’s nothing inherently wrong with buying a car from a private seller, there are risks that you should be aware of. Licensed dealers in the province receive accreditation from the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council, which means they need to jump through a lot more regulatory hoops than a citizen trying to sell off a used car.

It’s best to ask a lot of questions when buying a used car from a private seller, including the vehicle’s service and maintenance history, as well as a CarProof/CarFax report. However, this is not always dependable. When in doubt, ask to take the car to a licensed mechanic that you trust, and have them give the car a once-over. The mechanic will be able to spot any issues rather quickly, as well as detect body damage from a previous accident that may have been repaired off the books.


Many Ontarians experience sticker shock when buying a used car, but from an unexpected source. The Ministry of Finance relies on the Black Book value of a used vehicle in order to determine the amount you’ll be taxed on. Therefore, if you managed to secure a deal on your used car that clocked in lower than the Black Book value, you’ll still pay tax on a higher amount.

As always, the pain of 13% HST lingers over your car purchase. The only question is how much you managed to skim off the asking price, and whether it’s enough to break even after you’re charged the Red Book value in taxes.


Once you’ve bought your used car, you’ll need to have it registered with ServiceOntario within 6 days, or else you could find yourself in some hot water. Thankfully, many used car dealerships offer registration as a convenience, which means you don’t have to take care of that task yourself.

However, if you’ve purchased the car from a private seller, you’ll need to do the legwork yourself. In order to properly register the vehicle, you’ll need a valid driver’s license, verification of purchase, a Safety Standards Certificate, a vehicle permit, and a UVIP with all applicable info filled out.

If you’re transferring a license plate, that requires an extra few steps as well, so be sure to ask a rep at ServiceOntario in order to make sure you haven’t missed any of the details.


When buying a used car, you should receive a number of documents to go along with it, all of which pertain to its history. The aforementioned UVIP includes the wholesale value of the car, plus an appropriate VIN number, bill of sale, and vehicle history.

You’ll also require a Safety Standards Certificate, which can be obtained by taking the car into a Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. This is to guarantee that the car is road-worthy, and will not cause risk to you, as well as other drivers sharing the road.

And finally, it pays to have a CarFax or CarProof report on hand, to keep track of the vehicle’s service and repair history. This isn’t a legal requirement, but sellers without one of these two documents deserve extra scrutiny before you decide to make a deal.


It should go without saying that you’ll need auto insurance before you can start driving around in your new vehicle. Don’t neglect this step, even for an instant, or the costs could be life-altering. Before purchasing the vehicle, be sure to shop around for the best insurance rates, and then decide which one you’re willing to go with. If the insurance elbows too closely against your overall budget, it may be worth considering another vehicle.

Depending on how you purchased your vehicle, you’ll need specific coverage to make sure you’re ready to go. For instance, banks that finance the purchase of automobiles typically require full insurance until you’ve made all your payments, in order to protect their investment. Once the vehicle is bought and paid for, you may decide which coverage best suits your vehicle. However, many insurance companies in Ontario will actually charge you more money if you start skipping particular coverages, so beware.


Buying a used car isn’t difficult, but it’s best to go in armed with all the knowledge we touched on above. The last thing you’ll want is to miss out on a key detail, and then have to deal with the headache. DriveAxis.ca is always on hand to help out when it comes to buying a used vehicle, and we invite you to get in touch with us so that we can help you choose your next ride, with peace of mind.

We also invite you to check out our past Blogs for more invaluable information about all things related to buying a vehicle.

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