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Aug 9, 2018

6 min. read

Buying a second-hand vehicle can sometimes feel like an overwhelming process. Even if you’ve spent hours selecting the type of car that’ll squarely fit your needs, there are so many variables that can make you wonder if the whole process is worth it. Fortunately, CAA is here to help.

Approval needed.

No, this isn’t just a phrase uttered by those self-checkout machines at the supermarket when they fail to correctly scan your purchase. There are plenty of services available to shoppers that provide a glimpse into the history of a used car; some of these services are free and some aren’t. Pro tip: the good ones usually aren’t.

Services like Carfax or CarProof (for which all CAA Members receive a discount) will tell prospective buyers about a car’s ownership history and incidences of crash repair. A check of the car’s title will reveal if the odometer reading is accurate, if it has suffered and reported damage, and even if it has been branded a ‘salvage’ vehicle. The cost of these background checks, a fraction of the vehicle’s purchase price, is certainly money well spent.

Value play.

Despite being an industry seemingly more shrouded in mystery than the Dark Arts in Harry Potter, it is possible to determine a rough estimate on how much that zoomy blue coupe should actually cost. Here’s a hint: it’s probably less than its advertised price.

CAA Auto Advice is here to help. Our team of automotive experts can provide information and procedures for selling/buying used vehicle in Ontario. When purchasing a used vehicle, we can provide pricing using the Canadian Red and Black Book information. This is very useful when determining a reasonable selling price for your vehicle, or recognizing if a prospective purchase is reasonably priced.

Inspection time.

After finding the a reasonably-priced car that meets your needs and ensuring its history is clean, you should take the step of bringing the vehicle to a third-party mechanic for an inspection. CAA’s 139-point Vehicle Inspection Service is a thorough, affordable, and objective way to spot potential problems not readily apparent to the average car shopper.

Qualified technicians can provide an unbiased safety inspection and computer scan, including a complete written report and explanation of the results. The advantage of utilizing this type of service is that it should be devoid of any high-pressure repair pitch.

CAA has partnered with many approved facilities to offer these types of inspections. Generally taking about two hours, it will covers everything from the engine and exhaust to the wipers and lights. Each vehicle is then road tested to check for abnormal noises or performance issues. Every inspection comes with a full report with comprehensive notes and comments on each point inspected. Both CAA members and non-members can make an appointment, with current CAA members receiving a discount. Emissions tests can be booked as well.

A man and woman looking at the engine of a car.

Smart decision.

Choosing to buy a used car can be a wise decision if approached smartly. We encourage CAA Members to make full use of your membership by using these resources.

The CAA Auto Advice team provides Members with free automotive advice. If you have questions about car care, buying a new or used vehicle, auto repairs, vehicle inspection, driving costs and more, contact us by phone at: 1-866-464-6448 or email: autoadvice@caasco.ca 

Written by: Matthew Guy

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