GUIDE TO BUY AND DRIVE A CAR IN
it is necessary to have a reliable and safe car, and probably
you will need one so you will think to have your own in the near
future. Nevertheless, there are different important technical
and economical aspects which you should know to make a good
choice for your first car in
The main objective of this chapter is to give you information related to the
technical aspects and costs of the cars in
Canada. According to my experience and
academic studies as Mechanical Engineer, I have included some technical and
economic analysis that may help you in your safety and economy. No doubt
that some factors are new for you, as the tires for extreme seasons of hot
and snow, winter driving, transit rules and precautions, etc.
If you take the necessary time, you may learn to distinguish between
different offers and market possibilities and you will finally find the most
suitable for your needs.
Nevertheless, as immigrant in
you must have in mind the costs associated to drive your own car.
In the case of newcomers in
Canada, the most important monthly cost of
the car is insurance price, which you must have to drive it. Insurance costs
may be even higher than the monthly payment of a new car.
FACTORS TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN THE CAR
NEW OR USED ??
There is a huge offer in
of new and used cars. When you buy a new car you also pay the right of first
user and its fresh aroma. It depends of how much money you want to invest
in your first car.
A new car looses its price very quickly in North
America. In fact, once it is out of the store, the car will cost
$1000 or $2000 less . By the end of the third year, its commercial value
shall be between 60 and 70 % of what you paid, and it will gradually loose
value at a rate of 10 / 15% per year. See the following example prepared to
visualize the typical normal depreciation of a car of $16.000 (new car
value) in Canada:
This is a table calculated only to have a general
vision of the typical depreciation of a car in
Canada. The cost and kilometers
are taken from the average used by car dealers. But it has to be
taken into account that when you sell your car to a dealer, he
will pay to you $1000+ less of the average value, and then he
will try to send it at $1000+ above average value.
If you are thinking of buying a new car you have to take into account the
Your investment shall be more secure, but you will also have
to pay higher insurance costs.
To buy a new car it doesn’t mean that you will not have any
problem. Sometimes, car manufacturers announce design problems, which are
solved by them within the warranty.
Warranty of new cars are different depending on the
manufacturer, usually between 4 and 5 years or 50.000 to
When you buy a new car you can choose the one that fits
better according to you families needs and your technical expectations.
If you are thinking of buying a used car you have to take into account the
You will pay less for your car, but you will have to invest
some money to solve normal problems of the used cars.
Try to get the advice of a friend expert in vehicles.
In Canada is very important to take a look in detail to the
car before buying it, especially below the car. The most common problem is
the high corrosion of the metal bodywork and chassis, caused by the salt
used during the winter to dissolve the snow in the roads.
To buy a
used car always implies a greater risk. You will have no guarantee that the
car had no accidents, that the kilometers are true and that the owner have
done to the car the due maintenance. Especially in automatic cars, there is
no practical way of knowing the wear of internal pieces in the transmission
or the problems in the engine which cannot be detected when you drive the
As newcomer in
Canada, it is predictable that
you will find some difficulties in getting a loan to buy a new
car. That is because you don't have a credit history. On the
other side, probably you will find dealers of used cars that
will help you in getting credit, to sell you a car. Be careful,
because in that situation you may end buying a low quality car
at a high price, just because they granted credit (usually at a
very high interest rate).
Some cars are safer than others in case of a crash. Some people in
North America feel safer driving bigger cars, like vans or USV
(Utility Sport Vehicles). Nevertheless, there is no perfectly safe car,
especially in the super speed highways of
Some cars offer especial characteristics and devices to help avoid accidents.
compare the results of safety tests in different cars, you can consult the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
website with information related to safety in cars, crash tests, statistics
and related technical information.
SaferCar.gov - Crash Tests made to
some models by NHTSA. .
IIHS –Website of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety where you
can compare the results of the frontal and lateral crashes. You can also
find in this site figures and statistics of damages, collisions, stolen cars
and accident victims by car commercial brand.
Some brands and models are more reliable than others, like the Japanese and
German cars. Not all the cars are equally reliable. Some models are well
known for their frequent problems.
If you are going to buy a used car, probably it will not have the
manufacturer's warranty, in that case, is better to buy a reliable model
with good reputation. Nevertheless, it is very important to take into
account that the performance and duration of a used car depend especially of
the periodic maintenance and the correct driving.
read about models and manufacturer’s reliability, see the following
MSN Cars – Follow the line “Used cars” at the left of the navigation bar.
J.D. Power and Associates
Excellent website where you could find valuable information on models,
prices, efficiency, prices etc.
Prices of fuel in North America have been
constantly increasing since 2005. You must know that there are free prices
for gasoline in Canada,
each station puts and changes prices at their will.
You will save much money if you chose an efficient and economic car. For
example, remember that engine economy depends on the cylinders. A car with
regular cylinders may represent saving of around $1200 to $1600 a year.
In order to achieve the most efficient gasoline consumption, cars
recommended must have cylinders from 1.4 to
(1400 to 1800 cm3). Besides, less fuel consumption results in less pollution
in the environment...
or Quebec there are no mountains or
highways with long hills to climb, as in Central and
South America, so it is not necessary to have very powerful cars
to climb that kind of surfaces.
To compare the economy in gasoline with different cars, search for
information in the following sites:
North American website with important information on consumptions and
The Auto$mart Program
Form the Canadian Environmental Ministry, with valuable information
regarding buying and driving a car in
BRAND AND MODEL
The most common question of someone who needs to buy a car is .. Which is
the most recommendable brand for the topography, roads and weather of
Canada? I personally believe that there is
no brand or model perfect for each user.
The best car is the one that better fits in your budget and
which does not represent extra expenditures. At least in theory, more money
invested in a recent model, less possibilities of failures in the car.
and Nissan different models have a very good perception among drivers in
Canada, based in reliability, gas economy,
quality and maintenance costs. Among the models, the most important are:
Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry,
Honda Odyssey, Honda CRV, Nissan Pathfinder and
In MSN Cars you will find an
excellent help to know and compare technical characteristics, gas
consumption and price of the different cars.
MANUAL OR AUTOMATIC TRANSMISION
These cars are cheaper, use less gasoline and they are a little bit more
powerful that the same model in the automatic version. Besides, standard
transmission is more reliable and long-lasting that the automatic one.
Nevertheless, driving a car with standard transmission is more difficult,
especially for beginners, although with the practice it can be achieved.
near 80% of the cars have automatic transmission. The main reason is that
there are easier to drive, especially in cities with congested traffic.
On the other side, automatic transmission is a mechanism very susceptible of
wear and tear. To repair these transmissions is very expensive. As far as
gasoline economy, these cars consume up to 30 % more gasoline that the same
model with standard transmission.
Your wife shall need to drive a car in
(85% of adult women have driver license) to go shopping; pick up
the children, work, etc. If she does not know and needs to
learn, it is recommendable to do it in a car with automatic
transmission. This is a very important aspect and should be
taken into account by the time of taking a decision about the
GASOLINE OR DIESEL
Cars with diesel engines consume almost half of the fuel of the same car
with gasoline engine. In
Canada, main model of diesel cars are
Volkswagen Golf, Jetta and Passat.
On the other hand, diesel cars are much noisy and the odor of the gases
stronger that those of the gasoline engines. Also the maintenance const of
the diesel cars is higher, since they require synthetic oils.
- FOUR / SIX CYLINDERS
In general, cars with four cylinders use less gasoline. Besides, when they
have four valves per cylinder, as in Japanese cars, they are more efficient.
The 6 or 8 cylinders are more powerful, compared with only 4 cylinders, and
they consume more gasoline.
SYSTEM IS IT NECESSARY?
Brake system ABS is a device designed to help maintain control and direction
during a violent brake in a slippery condition. The ABS system works in the
four wheels of the car, it works as follows: When you brake the car in a
slippery road, the system allows turning the wheels several times during the
brake, at short intervals. So the car shall not slip without control on the
floor. As the tires shall run in intervals, you will have the control on the
wheel and the car shall not change direction. The final result is that the
car stops with control and in a shorter space.
In many parts of Canada,
winter and snow season may last more than 5 months, during that time roads
and highways are slippery due to the snow and frozen rain. The ABS braking
system, also known as “anti-block brake system” is very useful in these
conditions, especially when the driver has no much experience in this kind
of weather circunstances.
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