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GUIDE TO BUY AND DRIVE A CAR IN ONTARIO

IMPORTANT

In Canada 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 Ontario.

 

- INTRODUCTION

 

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 Ontario 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 Canada 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:

 

 

YEARS

KILOMETERS

(Around)

COMMERCIAL VALUE

(Around)

0

0

$ 16.000

1

25.000

13.500

2

50.000

12.000

3

75.000

10.500

4

100.000

9.200

5

125.000

8.000

6

150.000

6.700

7

175.000

5.400

8

200.000

4.200

9

225.000

3.000

10

250.000

1.800

 

  

NOTE: 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.

 

  

NEW CAR If you are thinking of buying a new car you have to take into account the following factors:

 ● 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 90.000 km.

When you buy a new car you can choose the one that fits better according to you families needs and your technical expectations.

 

USED CAR If you are thinking of buying a used car you have to take into account the following factors:

 

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 car.

 

 

IMPORTANT:

 

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).

 

   

- SAFETY

 

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 Canada and USA.

 

Some cars offer especial characteristics and devices to help avoid accidents. To compare the results of safety tests in different cars, you can consult the following websites:

 

NHTSA - 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.

 

- RELIABILITY

 

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. 

 

 To read about models and manufacturer’s reliability, see the following websites:

 

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.


- FUEL CONSUMPTION

 

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 1.8 liters (1400 to 1800 cm3). Besides, less fuel consumption results in less pollution in the environment...

 

In Ontario 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:


 
FuelEconomy North American website with important information on consumptions and models.

The Auto$mart Program Form the Canadian Environmental Ministry, with valuable information regarding buying and driving a car in Canada.

  

- 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.

 

Honda, Toyota 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 Toyota 4Runner.

 

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

 

● Standard Transmission (Manual)

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.

 

Automatic Cars

 

In Canada 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.

 

RECOMMENDATION:

  Your wife shall need to drive a car in Canada (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 car.

 

  - 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.

 

- ABS 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, including Ontario, 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.

 

 

 

IMPORTANT !

    

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