Buying a Car in Ontario, Canada

Buying a Car in Ontario
Buying a Car in Ontario

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When you buy a vehicle, it can be a long process. You'll have a lot of decisions to make, such as whether to buy a new or used car, what type or brand of car you want, and whether to lease or finance the purchase. You'll also have to navigate the process itself and all the different steps, laws, and paperwork involved. We created a handy guide to cover all of these things, so you can be prepared and make the process easier so you get the best possible deal on the car you want!

Buying a New Vehicle in Ontario

The process for buying a new vehicle in the province is pretty straight forward. There are a number of steps involved but in general, the basics boil down to:

  • Set your budget
  • Research ideal vehicles
  • Compare and review models
  • Inspection and test drive
  • Finalize the purchase and paperwork
  • Get car insurance
  • Register ownership

You can view our in-depth guide to buying a new car in Ontario here.

Buying a Used Vehicle in Ontario

Buying a used car works almost the exact same as buying a new car. There are some differences, however, mostly to do with the different sources of used vehicles and the nature of pricing, payment, and condition. Things like:

  • Payment Options — you can almost never lease a used vehicle unless it's Certified Pre-Owned
  • Pricing — prices are not set by manufacturer but by the seller
  • Condition — have to worry about the vehicles condition and history
  • Sources of Inventory — can buy from private sellers and auctions as well as from a dealership
  • Documents — there are unique documents relevant to purchasing and registering ownership a used vehicle

We have an in-depth guide that delves into all the different details involved with buying a used car in Ontario here.

Useful Tip! Buying a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle is a great way to get a car only a few years old, so it is still close to brand new, sometimes still under warranty, comes with fully documented service history and is much cheaper since new cars depreciate by thousands of dollars in the first few years of ownership.

Used Vehicle Information Package

One of the most important documents involved in the used car buying process is the Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP). It contains all the important details and information about the vehicle's history, including:

  • Basic Vehicle Information —  the year, make, model, colour, body type, etc.
  • Registration History —  list of previous and current owners and their information
  • Application of Transfer —  the seller and buyer must both sign to transfer ownership
  • Bills of Sale —  section that the seller must fill out to establish the date of purchase and selling price
  • Lien Information —  if there is still an existing loan remaining on the vehicle that the buyer might inherit on purchase

If you are buying a used vehicle make absolutely sure that the seller has and shows you the UVIP to look through before you even think of finalizing the purchase because it is against the law if they don't.

Did You Know? It is illegal in Ontario to sell a used vehicle without a Used Vehicle Information Package. A UVIP costs $20 and can either be ordered online or purchased from a ServiceOntario Centre.

How to Buy a Vehicle as a First-Time Buyer

If you have recently immigrated into Ontario and want to buy your first car here, there are a few things you will encounter in the process that you might not know about.

  • No Credit or Credit Card —  it will be difficult to get any lease or loan when you buy a car since as a new arrival you will have little to no credit history
  • Insurance —  all drivers in Ontario legally MUST have a valid insurance policy
  • Driver's License — if you had a driver's license in your home country then you might be eligible to fully exchange it or get credit for your experience

All of these are necessary for you to buy a car in Ontario, so if you want to know more about them and how they impact you as a recent immigrant you can read our full new Canadian car buying guide here.

Useful Tip! There are over 30 different new car brands and hundreds of models to buy from in Canada. You can use one of the many online comparison tools online to help pick the perfect car that you want. Pick the year, make and model for two or more vehicles, and see the price range, fuel economy, average rating and other important information for each car next to each other.


When buying a car, there are a number of things to consider: whether you want to buy a new or used car, what the best time is to buy a car, and what steps you will encounter during the whole process. We've written a number of guides on each topic to help you be prepared to go into your shopping experience. Good luck!