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Buying a used car in Ontario

Get information on province-specific requirements when buying a used car in Ontario.

Buying a used car in Ontario is a relatively simple undertaking if you know what steps to take. Learn about the process for buying a used car in this province and the documents you’ll need.

Requirements for buying a used car in Ontario

Documents to ask the seller

You’ll need the following when buying a used car in Ontario:

  • The vehicle portion of the owner’s permit with the completed portion on the back. Here’s a sample of an owner’s permit (vehicle portion on the left side).
  • An Application for Transfer, which can be found on the back of the ownership permit, under the vehicle portion.
  • The Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP), including the bill of sale with the name of the seller and purchase price. A UVIP is not required if you’re buying from a registered car dealer or if you’re buying from a family member. However, if you’re buying from a registered dealer, you should get a CARFAX report.
  • Safety Standards Certificate (SSC). You can buy and register a used car without an SSC, but you cannot put plates on it without one. The seller isn’t legally required to provide this, but you could ask for it as part of the deal. An SSC shows that the car meets the Ontario government’s minimum safety standards.

Used car tax in Ontario

You’ll need to pay 13% HST on the wholesale value of the car or the purchase price, whichever is higher. Wholesale value is based on the Canadian Red Book, which is a database of wholesale and retail values of used vehicles. It is used by the government. The value can change from the day you get the UVIP to the day you register your vehicle.

You pay the sales tax when you register as the new owner of the used car. You do not pay tax to the seller.

Registering your used car in Ontario

The fee to register your used car in Ontario will cost either $32 or $59. If you’re getting a new licence plate, you’ll pay $59 for the vehicle permit and licence plate. If you’re keeping your current licence plate, you’ll pay $32 for the vehicle permit. Also note that as of March 2022, you are no longer required to purchase or renew licence plate stickers in Ontario for passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles and mopeds.

You’ll need to register your car within 6 days of the sale at a ServiceOntario centre. Bring the following:

  • Money to pay for registration fees and the 13% tax
  • Ontario driver’s licence
  • Used vehicle information package
  • Bill of sale
  • Odometer reading
  • Safety Standards Certificate
  • Vehicle permit with the completed Application of Transfer
  • Proof of insurance
  • Plate portion of your permit if you’re transferring your current licence plate

Emissions test

Light passenger vehicles–which are most cars, vans, SUVs and light trucksdo not require an emission test as of April 1, 2019.

Used car loans in Ontario for a dealership or private sale

1 - 8 of 8
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%. 0% financing depends on lender, loan term and other factors.
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
$5,000 - $50,000
9.90% - 31.00%
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.
goPeer Car Loans
$1,000 - $25,000
8.00% - 31.00%
36 - 60 months
600
Min. income of $40,000 /year
P2P platform with competitive rates.
Canada's first regulated consumer peer-to-peer lending platform that connects creditworthy Canadians looking for a loan with Canadians looking to invest.
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Compare up to 4 providers

1 - 1 of 1
Name Product Loan Amount Interest Rate Loan Term Min. Credit Score Requirements
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.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Steps to buying a used car in Ontario

1. Figure out how much you can spend

Do some calculations to figure out how much you can afford to spend before you start shopping. Aside from the purchase price of your vehicle, you should think about additional car expenses such as loan interest, sales tax, car insurance, registration, maintenance and gas costs. You should aim to spend less than 10% to 15% of your total income on buying a car in Ontario privately or at a dealership.

Extra costs of buying a car as is in Ontario

You may want to add all of these expenses together to get the total cost of car ownership.

ExpenseTypical cost in Ontario
Purchase price$1,000 to $40,000
Interest ratesAnnual APR between 5% and 30%
Sales tax13% on the wholesale value of the car or the purchase price (whichever is higher)
Car insurance$700 to $2,000 per year (average of $​1,505 in Ontario)
Scheduled maintenance$500 to $700 per year
Emergency repairs$50 to $6,000
Gas$50 to $200 per month
RegistrationEither $32 or $59
Actual costs will vary based on your driving record and what type of car you have

2. Decide where to buy your car

You’ll be able to buy a used car in Ontario from a dealership, private seller or online broker. There are pros and cons to each type of seller.

  • Dealer. You’ll usually pay more to shop with a dealer, but you’ll be able to take multiple cars for test drives and easily compare a large inventory.
  • Private seller. You could save money when buying a used car in Ontario privately, but there’s also an additional layer of risk since you could end up with a lemon.
  • Broker. You can use a broker to compare prices and access a large inventory of cars across Ontario, but you may run into fraudulent lenders on this type of platform.
Where to buy a used car in Ontario

You can buy a used car in Ontario from a private seller, in-person dealership, online car broker or online dealer.

3. Decide how to pay for your used car

The cheapest option for buying a used car in Ontario privately or at a dealership is to pay for it outright with your own savings. This means you won’t be saddled with loan payments for a set number of years. You may want to go the financing route if you don’t have enough savings or you want to use a car loan in Ontario to build your credit.

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

  • Use your own savings. Pay with your savings to cut out monthly loan payments and save on interest.
  • Take out an auto loan. Apply for a car loan from the bank or a private lender if you have decent credit and don’t mind paying a higher amount in interest.
  • Apply for dealership financing. Pay a little bit more to get financing directly from your dealership if you want a convenient option to pay for your used car over time.

4. Compare cars and negotiate prices with sellers

Figure out what type of car you want and compare cars to find the best deal. Feel free to haggle on prices if you want a better deal as most sellers will mark used cars up and expect to negotiate. You can also do some research and ask your seller to price match if you find a car in the same condition with similar mileage at a lower price tag.

Tips to negotiate used car prices
  1. Price match in advance. Ask your seller to give you a deal on your used car if you find the same car (in a similar condition and with similar mileage) advertised online at a lower price.
  2. Get pre-approved for car financing. Find out how much you might be eligible to borrow before you shop so you can use this as leverage to seal the deal.
  3. Know when to walk away. Keep your budget in mind and make sure you don’t go over it for any reason.

5. Test drive and inspect your used car

Take the used car for a test drive and do a thorough visual inspection to make sure it’s in good working condition. You can consult the checklist below to get an idea of what types of damage you should be looking for. You may also want to schedule an inspection with a licensed mechanic and check the vehicle identification number (VIN) before buying a used car in Ontario privately or at a dealership.

Used car checklist: What to look for when inspecting a used car in Ontario

Consult this checklist to get an idea of what you may want to inspect when buying a car as is in Ontario.

  • Outside of the car. Look for cosmetic damage (dents, dings and scratches) and inspect the undercarriage for leaks or rust.
  • Inside the car. Make sure the fabric and plastic inside of the car looks good and that electrical systems and heating/cooling systems work.
  • Tires. Make sure the tires have tread and see if there’s an extra set of winter tires.
  • Engine, brakes and steering. Make sure the engine sounds good and check that the car brakes and turns easily.
  • Miscellaneous parts. Confirm that miscellaneous parts are in good working order including wipers, gauges, speedometer, odometer and radio.

6. Pay for your car

You can use your savings or a car loan for buying a car as is in Ontario. If you have enough saved up, you can pay in cash or by transferring funds to your seller. You can also apply for financing from a bank or private lender to get enough money for your used car. You’ll then repay your loan with regular monthly payments over a set period of time.

7. Register your car

Register your car within 6 days of the sale at a ServiceOntario centre. Bring your driver’s licence, UVIP, bill of sale, odometer reading, vehicle permit, proof of insurance and safety standards certificate.

How to choose a used car that fits your needs

Look for a car with the following features to make sure you get a vehicle that fits your needs:

  • Suitable make and model. Buy a car that makes sense for your budget and lifestyle, and will suit your individual style or family needs.
  • Low mileage. Look for the lowest mileage possible when buying a car as is in Ontario to make sure you don’t get stuck with expensive repairs.
  • Vehicle inspection. Use an inspection checklist, take the car to a mechanic and check the VIN to make sure everything is in good condition.
  • Priced to sell. Check sites like Kelley Blue Book and Canadian Black Book to figure out how much your car should cost and don’t pay more than that.
  • Eligible for financing. Figure out how you can pay for the car and make sure it’s eligible for financing if you don’t have money saved up.

How to buy a used car in Ontario if you live out of province

You’ll need to follow a couple of extra steps if you want to import a car from Ontario into another province.

  • Get an out-of-province inspection. Most provinces require you to get an out-of-province inspection before you bring a car in from Ontario.
  • Fix identified issues. You’ll need to fix any issues that are flagged in your inspection before you can register your used car.
  • Provide paperwork. You’ll be required to provide proof of ID and ownership (such as a bill of sale) to register your vehicle in your own province.
  • Pay taxes. You’ll have to cover the taxes required by your province to import a vehicle from Ontario (usually between 5% and 15%, depending on the province).

Bottom line

Learn more about the steps you need to take to get the best deal on a used car in Ontario. Find out important details such as where to shop, what to look for in an inspection and how to secure financing. You can also check out our general guide on tips for buying a used car in Canada if you want more information on how to secure the right vehicle for you.

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