With common sense and making some careful observations to specific points of the car you want to buy, you will probably find the car you need.


Always inspect the car at daylight.

Verify the excessive wear in the car interior, brake and accelerator. New pedals may indicate that have been too used, exterior painted may indicate that the car has suffered accidents.

If you drive it, try all the transmission points, to evaluate aligning, direction, brake and eventual noises, especially in the tires axes.

Verify that the car is not leaking oil below the engine or transmission. Look carefully below the car, and if it is possible, leave a paper there for a while.

Look carefully for oxidation traces. The salt used during winter to dissolve ice, many cars has strong signs of oxidation.

Pay especial attention if there is much smoke in the smoking pipe. If the smoke is blue, the engine will soon need an expensive repair.

If the direction goes to one side while you are driving, it will soon need alignment.

Verify kilometre meter, a car runs an average of 20.000 to 25.000 km per year.

If you smell smoke or burn oil odour inside the car DO NOT BUY this car. (See AUTHOR’S


RECOMMENDATION at the end of this chapter). After driving several minutes, look for any strange smell or burn oil odour, with doors and windows closed. Then with the fan in different positions.


Before closing the deal, ask a mechanic to revise the car.


Once you close the deal, you will have 6 days to register yourself as the new owner at the Ministry of Transport or Drive and Vehicle License Issuing Office, where you have to bring the UVIP (Used Vehicle Information Package). Buyer must pay taxes calculated over the price and pay for the identification of the vehicle.  You must present the Certificate of Drive Clean Program and the Liability Insurance Certificate.



CAR PLATES: The identification for the vehicle (car plate) is issued to the owner (not to the car) and he may use it in the future in other cars. When a car is sold to other owner, the identification shall change according to the new owner. In Canada you have the possibility of PERSONALIZED your identification, to ask it with a special word, special combination of letters or numbers, with a maximum of 8 characters. Example: “MYCAR”, “CANADA42”, “15151515”, etc... When this car is sold, you can maintain your identification and you can use it again in your new car. 





Don’t buy cars from USA which may come from flow zones. These cars are offered at low prices, but they might be under flows and electric and electronic components may fail.


 In Ontario and other regions of Canada, even though winter is cold, summer is very hot, with weeks in June, July and August with temperatures over 30 C and thermal sensation near 40 C due to high humidity. If you can afford it, search a car with air conditioning and verify it works. This recommendation is very important, especially if you have kids








Use Public Service whenever it is possible. You will save fuel, and you will avoid pollution.


Car Manual To obtain efficiency, change the speeds quickly, and drive always at the highest possible speed (4 or 5) Even at 60 km/h it is possible to drive at the highest gear speed. You will spend much less gasoline.


In your trunk. Do not load unnecessary things, like salt, sand or water bags.


In the Highway Close carefully the windows to have a better aerodynamic impact and save fuel. Avoid loading the roof of the car, it affects air resistance.


Air Conditioning Minimize the air conditioning use in summer, to save fuel. In the cities, open the windows.


Plan your trips Always consult a map when you are going to places new for you. Plan your trip looking for the quicker ways first and then the shorter. Shorter ways not always are the quickest. Have maps of your area in you car.


Time Plan your trip with enough time and hear the radio to be informed about the status of the roads, to avoid congested ones.


Acceleration. Avoid constant and intense acceleration and brake. That was the most expensive way of driving a car, since the fuel consumption and wear of the car are increased. The efficient option is to accelerate smoothly and maintain a stable speed.


Buying Gasoline: By observation and experience, I came to know that many Gas Stations in Ontario have lower costs at night, after 7.00 pm. You may save up to 10 % buying at night. Avoid buying in the morning, especially on Mondays, when it is more expensive.


High Speed When you are driving in a highway with a maximum speed of 100 km/h take into account the following: If you increase from 100 km/h to 120 km/h, you will increase consumption in 20 %. If you reduce from 100 km/h to 90 km/h you will save 10 % in fuel expense (even it will take longer to arrive at your destiny).


● Tire pressure During winter, it is better to have the pressure of the tires below normal (20 to 25 psi), for safety reasons and brake easily. But with temperatures over 0, you have to increase the pressure of the tires to normal values (30-35 psi) with efficiency purposes, which will save 10 % in fuel consumption. Verify periodically the pressure of the tires.









If you decide to buy a used car, look for a brand and model of known quality, with a maximum of 200.000 km, 4 to 6 years old and with recent certification and emission test approved. You will find a wide offer of vehicles with those conditions at a reasonable price. 


Don’t look only to the years or kilometres; try to find a car with known reputation better than a cheap one, with not many kilometres, but of a good brand.  Remember that together with the engine status, another important factor that you must look is that it is not excessively OXIDIZED, which is very common in Canada, when cars were not taken care carefully and were used constantly in winter. A car with oxidation traces loose its value immediately.


It is better to buy a car with some kind of guarantee, than buying one “as is” which means, in the state it is (very likely, in a very bad state). Usually dealers sell those cars at a lower price, but they don’t assume any responsibility, nor grant any guarantee and accept no return. Remember that a very used and cheap car generally needs spare parts (brake, electric parts etc) which are expensive; the same as repair shops ($70-85 /hour).


In the case of older cars (more than 250.000 km) the status of the car shall depend more on the care and maintenance received from the prior owner than from the original quality of the brand and model. Experience teaches us that with $4000 to $9000 (the higher the better), with a good analysis and time to see different alternatives, you have to get a decent car to solve your transportation problem in Canada.





If you are thinking of buying a used car make the following test: Turn on the car and make a normal route using all the transmission points, to evaluate aligning, direction, brake and eventual noises, especially in the tires axes. At the end of this route and in a fresh place with no contamination, with the engine still running, close all the windows and verify during some minutes that there is no smoke or burnt oil odour. Test the fan in all positions, but always with doors and windows closed. If you smell smoke or burn oil odour inside the car DO NOT BUY this car.


If you still think it is a good deal and you decide to buy it, it is URGENT to fix that problem The mechanic solution generally is to see the engine and change the seals from which the oil is leaking. When the seals fail, the oil escapes and falls over the hot tubes where it is partially burnt generating smokes of different chemical compositions and odours.


When you drive a car in this condition, you are exposed to a high risk and your health is in danger. If you breathe these smokes and gases constantly during a long period they may cause severe problems to your lungs like emphysema or even cancer. (An average Canadian driver stays 300 hours per year in his vehicle) Keep in mind that during the winter season, with temperatures below 0 C, usually you cannot lower the window glasses of your car, and there is no air an oxygen change within the car.


This problem is common in cars that, even with low kilometers, were exposed to bad driving, long continuous journeys or used in very congested cities, with long periods of over warming of the engine.








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