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Best place to buy used cars in Ottawa

Whether you want to shop online or in person, learn about the most popular places to buy used cars in Ottawa.

The best place to buy used cars in Ottawa will vary based on what type of shopping experience you want. You can buy used cars from private sellers, car brokers, online car dealers, in-person dealerships and auction sites. Find out more about the best place to shop for a used car in Ottawa based on your unique set of needs.

At a glance: Where to find used cars in Ottawa?

You can buy used cars from a number of different providers in Ottawa. Learn more about each provider type and find out where you might be best placed to shop:

Place to buy a used carBest forExamplesProsCons
Online dealersBest for buying a car online from start to finish with at-home delivery optionsClutch, Canada Drives and CarDoor
  • “Test own” for 1 to 2 weeks
  • May come with warranty coverage
  • Less stressful
  • At-home delivery
  • More expensive than private sales
  • Prices are usually non-negotiable
  • Limited to the dealer’s own inventory
Private marketplacesBest for finding a used car from a private sellerCraigslist, Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace and Used Ottawa
  • Less expensive
  • Large inventory
  • Higher risk of fraud
  • No quality guarantees
  • Takes more time/effort
  • Harder to test drive
  • Difficult to get financing
Online car brokersBest for comparing vehicles to get the best priceAutoTrader and Carpages.ca
  • Large inventory of vehicles from individuals and dealerships
  • Easier to get financing
  • More expensive than private sales
  • Potential for hidden fees
In-person dealershipsBest for test driving multiple cars at onceOttawa Auto Sales, Hertz Car Sales, Global Auto Sales and many more
  • Room for negotiation
  • Some come with a warranty
  • Bad credit financing
  • More expensive than private sales
  • Have to deal with sales tactics in some cases
Auction sitesBest for finding a vehicle selling for below market valueRideau Auctions, GC Federal Surplus and Impact Auto Auctions
  • Cheaper than many other sellers
  • Visual inspections are allowed
  • Easy to place a bid
  • No test drives allowed
  • You could end up with a lemon
  • No returns

Compare different types of used car providers in Ottawa

From private marketplaces to auction sites, browse your options to find the best place to buy used cars in Ottawa for your unique situation.

Online dealers

Clutch logo

Clutch lets you buy your used car online for at-home delivery and is upfront about any damage to the vehicle right from the start. Just be aware that this service comes with some fees that other online dealers don’t charge.

  • How the car buying process works: Shop for a used car entirely online. You will typically pay with cash or financing and get it delivered to your front door.
  • Who’s it best for: Best for people who want a transparent car buying experience with the option for financing and home delivery.
  • What to watch out for: You won’t qualify for financing if your credit score is below 580,

Prequalify with no impact to credit

Canada Drives logo

Canada Drives lets you shop for and finance vehicles that come with a 7-day return policy and 30-day warranty coverage. It’s easy to get pre-approved for financing, and you can buy a car with a few clicks of your mouse and get it delivered to your home in a matter of days.

  • How the car buying process works: Shop for a used car entirely online. You will typically pay with cash or financing and get it delivered to your front door.
  • Who’s it best for: Best for people who want quick delivery and a decent level of free warranty coverage.
  • What to watch out for: Not ideal if you want an older or less expensive used car, and you won’t be able to test drive your vehicle before you buy.

    Picture not described

    CarDoor is another at-home car delivery service that works primarily in the Greater Toronto area (though you may be able to buy from Ottawa in some cases). This site comes with perks such as a money back guarantee, exchange program and free warranty.

    • How the car buying process works: Shop for a used car entirely online. You will typically pay with cash or financing and get it delivered to your front door.
    • Who’s it best for: Best for people who want longer-term warranty coverage and a solid customer service guarantee.
    • What to watch out for: Limited inventory and service is not typically offered outside of Toronto (though you may be able to shop from Ottawa in some cases).

    Our top pick for online car dealers

    Clutch is our top pick for the best place to find used cars in Ottawa in this category because it offers the largest inventory of vehicles out of the three with decent warranty and exchange coverage.

    Canada Drives vs Clutch vs CarDoor

    Private marketplaces

    Picture not described

    Craigslist is a platform that lets you shop for used cars online in Ottawa. It offers a user-friendly interface and anonymity while you shop. The main downside is that there are too many dealerships on the site and many cars are listed without prices.

    • How the car buying process works: Send a message to the user who posted the vehicle to arrange a meeting. You will typically pay by cash or e-transfer in most cases.
    • Who’s it best for: Best for people who want to shop for private sale vehicles online using a simple and user-friendly website that’s easy to access.
    • What to watch out for: Potential for unverified or fraudulent sellers, and the user experience can be frustrating due to excessive ads.

    Kijiji Autos logo

    Kijiji is an online marketplace dedicated primarily to private sale vehicles. This site offers anonymity while you shop and provides a lot of information upfront so it’s easy to compare your options. The main downside is that the site can be difficult to navigate.

    • How the car buying process works: Send a message to the user who posted the vehicle to arrange a meeting. You will typically pay by cash or e-transfer in most cases.
    • Who’s it best for: Best for people who want pricing and other detailed information upfront to compare private sale vehicles.
    • What to watch out for: Sponsored ads can diminish user experience, and it can be difficult to verify that sellers are legitimate.

    Facebook logo

    Facebook Marketplace is one of the best places to buy used private sale vehicles. This is because sellers are validated by their Facebook profile page, there are fewer dealership listings and the site is really easy to navigate.

    • How the car buying process works: Send a message to the user who posted the vehicle to arrange a meeting. You will typically pay by cash or e-transfer in most cases.
    • Who’s it best for: Best for people who are looking for a reliable used car in Ottawa from a trustworthy seller.
    • What to watch out for: You could still run into a fraudulent seller (even if it’s less likely), and you need a Facebook account to send messages about cars you want.

    Used.ca logo

    Used Ottawa is another easy way to buy private sale used cars in Ottawa. You can shop anonymously and use specific parameters to search for the car you want. The main downside is that the inventory of vehicles on this site is relatively small at times.

    • How the car buying process works: Send a message to the user who posted the vehicle to arrange a meeting. You will typically pay by cash or e-transfer in most cases.
    • Who’s it best for: Best for people who want to search by basic parameters on a very simple user interface.
    • What to watch out for: Small inventory compared to other private sale marketplaces.

    Our top pick for private marketplaces

    Facebook Marketplace is our top pick for the best place to buy used cars in Ottawa with private marketplaces. This is because this site lets you shop with verified sellers and provides a user-friendly platform that makes it easy to compare vehicles.

    Online car brokers

    AutoTrader logo

    AutoTrader is an auto broker that lets you find out if the car you want is below or above market value. It also allows you to set price alerts and apply for financing before you buy a vehicle. The main downside is that congested pages make it difficult to navigate the site.

    • How the car buying process works: Send a message to the dealership that listed the vehicle. You will typically pay by cash or get in-house financing.
    • Who’s it best for: Best for people who want to buy a dealership vehicle while getting a bit of help to find the best deals.
    • What to watch out for: Not ideal for shopping for private sale vehicles and sponsored ads can diminish user experience.

    Carpages logo

    Carpages.ca is an online broker that offers thousands of vehicles from multiple dealers across Ottawa. Simply find the car you’re interested in and visit the dealership in person to test drive or arrange at-home delivery options with some dealers.

    • How the car buying process works: Send a message to the dealership that listed the vehicle. You will typically pay by cash or get in-house financing.
    • Who’s it best for: Best for people who want an easy way to compare the prices and mileage of multiple dealership vehicles across Ottawa.
    • What to watch out for: Requires you to submit your contact information on the website and only works with select dealerships which can limit inventory.

    Our top pick for online car brokers

    Carpages.ca is our top pick for the best place to buy used cars in Ottawa in the online car broker category because the website is very intuitive and it lists detailed information with relatively few advertisements to help you find the vehicle you want.

    In-person dealerships in Ottawa

    There are dozens of in-person dealerships to choose from in Ottawa in the downtown core and surrounding areas. Look for a dealership that has good customer reviews and a solid reputation for providing quality vehicles.

    • How the car buying process works: Shop in person at the dealership of your choice. You will typically pay with cash or get in-house financing.
    • Who’s it best for: In-person dealerships are best for customers who want a helping hand with the car buying process and want to test drive multiple vehicles on site.
    • What to watch out for. Watch out for poor customer service, faulty vehicles and dodgy sales practices.
    Name of dealershipRating on Google*Positive reviewsNegative reviews
    Tony Graham AutoEdge4.8Fast, easy and transparent serviceLack of after-purchase care
    Car Club Bells Corners4.2Friendly and knowledgeableUnexpected fees and financing requirements
    Sean’s Auto Sales & Service4.9Honest service and no surprisesNo recent negative reviews
    Prio Auto Sales4.3Friendly service with bad credit financingPoor quality vehicles in rare cases
    Myers Car Sales4.4Professional and attentiveLong wait times for service calls
    Canadian Auto Sales4.2Friendly, efficient and helpfulMissed some scheduled appointments
    Import Car Centre4.8No pressure and fair pricesWarranty doesn’t cover certain issues
    Central City Auto Sales4.3Fast service and affordable prices with at-home deliveryVehicles not as advertised and faulty cars in rare cases
    Ottawa Auto Sales4.9Honest, transparent and courteousNo recent negative reviews
    Global Auto Sales4.6Fast, honest and knowledgeableVehicles not as advertised in rare cases

    *As of February 2022

    Our top pick for in-person dealers

    Ottawa Auto Sales is our top pick for in-person dealers because they have overwhelmingly positive reviews and no recent negative feedback from over 150 online reviews.

    Auction sites

    There are only a handful of car auction sites available in Ottawa, but this could be a good option if you want a cheap vehicle.

    • How the car buying process works: Place a bid on a vehicle and pay for it in cash if you win. Vehicles come as-is with no test drives allowed.
    • Who’s it best for: Cheap vehicles and a fast turnaround time if you win the bid.
    • What to watch out for. Watch out for faulty vehicles, no test drives and no returns.
    Name of auction siteRating on Google*Positive reviewsNegative reviews
    Rideau Auctions3.9Decent selection of vehiclesPoor customer service in some cases
    GC Federal SurplusN/AOften cheap and lightly used vehiclesLimited selection
    Impact Auto Auctions3.6Easy to find scheduled auctions on the websitePoor quality vehicles in some cases

    *As of February 2022

    Our top pick for auctions

    Rideau Auctions is our top pick for the best place to buy used cars in Ottawa for this category because they seem to have a large inventory of vehicles and a decent reputation.

    What to look for when you buy a used car in Ottawa

    You can consult this used car checklist before buying a used car in Ottawa to make sure you lock in a solid vehicle.

    • Low mileage. Look for low mileage (anything below 120,000kms) to avoid dealing with mechanical issues after buying a used car.
    • No issues on vehicle inspection. Get an inspection from a licensed mechanic and price out what repairs you might need if they identify issues.
    • Has maintenance records. Make sure the last owner has maintenance records to show that the car was well taken care of.
    • Listed at market price or lower. Avoid paying too much by checking sites like Kelley Blue Book and Canadian Black Book to find out how much your car should cost.
    • No short-term owners. Try not to buy a used car that has had several short-term owners as this could indicate a serious issue with the engine or other integral systems.
    • Passes a VIN check. Use a site like CarMax to check the vehicle identification number for the car you want to buy to make sure the sale is legitimate.
    • Performs well in a test drive. Take the car for a test drive and be sure to carry out your own inspection to make sure it’s in good working order.
    • Eligible for financing. Make sure the car you want to buy is eligible for financing if you plan to borrow money for buying a used car.

    How to buy a used car in Ontario

    How to pay for a used car in Ottawa

    You can buy a used car in Ottawa with the following payment or financing options:

    • Use your own money. Use your savings to buy a used car or ask friends and family for a loan to avoid paying interest.
    • Apply for a car loan. Ask to borrow funds from a bank or private lender if you need cash to buy a used car in Ottawa (you can consider a cosigner if you have bad credit).
    • Apply for dealership financing. Get a loan directly from your dealership if you want to cut out the third-party lender, but expect to pay higher rates.

    Compare used car loans in Ottawa

    1 - 7 of 7
    Name Product Loan Amount Interest Rate Loan Term Min. Credit Score Requirements
    CarsFast Car Loans
    $500 - $75,000
    4.90% - 29.90%
    12 - 96 months
    300
    Min. income of $2,000 /month, 3+ months employed
    Get a new or used vehicle delivered to your door.
    Browse thousands of vehicles from dealers across Canada and get matched with financing that meets your needs.
    Loans Canada Car Loans
    $500 - $35,000
    0% - 31.99%
    24 - 120 months
    300
    Min. income of $1,800 /month, 3+ months employed
    Compare rates from 60+ lenders.
    Complete a single application to get quotes from different lenders. Bad credit, CERB and EI borrowers considered. 0% APR for new cars only, used car rates start at 7.99%.
    Coast Capital Car Loan
    Varies
    Varies
    18 - 84 months
    650
    Able to service debt payment of $300/month
    Competitive rates and flexible terms.
    Finance new and used vehicles from one of Canada's largest credit unions. No credit union membership required. Available across Canada except SK, QC, NT, NU, YT.
    Clutch Car Loans
    $7,500 - No max.
    From 3.90%
    12-96 months
    580
    3+ months employed, Max.1 bankruptcy
    Pre-qualify for a loan in under 2 minutes with no impact to your credit score.
    Get approved for financing in under 24 hours for the used car you want. No hidden fees. Get the vehicle delivered to your door.
    Carloans411 Car Loans
    $500 - $50,000
    1.90% - 19.99%
    Up to 72 months
    300
    Min. income of $1,600 /month, 3+ months employed
    High application approval rate.
    Get connected with suitable lenders to finance your next car, van or truck. Check eligibility for this loan through LoanConnect.
    Canada Auto Finance
    $500 - $45,000
    4.90% - 29.95%
    3 - 96 months
    300
    Min. income of $1,500 /month, 3+ months employed
    Get financing from partnered local lenders.
    Financing for a new or used car is available for borrowers with bad credit, no credit, CERB, EI or bankruptcy.
    Splash Auto Finance
    $10,000 - $50,000
    9.90% - 29.90%
    24 - 84 months
    300
    Min. income of $2,200 /month, 3+ months employed
    Apply with any credit score.
    Get financing for a new or used car. Auto loans for borrowers with fair credit, bad credit, no credit or bankruptcy.
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    Bottom line

    You can buy used cars with a number of different sellers in Ottawa. The best place to buy used cars in Ottawa for your particular needs will depend on how much you want to spend, what type of car you want and how much effort you want to put into the car buying process. Find out more about which seller might be the best fit for you and compare financing options today.

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