Tips for buying a used car in Toronto

Toronto Canada is known as a world class city and if you live there, you’ll see why. As for the roads, they are generally in good shape but Toronto has a traffic problem which is typical of any big city. If you own a car in Toronto, you’re going to want to make sure it’s a reliable one, one that will not break down right in the middle of rush hour.

Here we will talk about getting yourself a used car in Toronto or for any city for that matter, when you want something that is reliable and with a good reputation.

Tip#1 Do Your Research

So you have decided which car you would like to buy. The next step is to do your research on the car to see if it is worthy of a purchase or not. Some cars end up on a “lemon list” which you want no part of. Even if it’s a car you just have to have, it’s not worth it if it is considered a lemon. Expect many repairs, problems, headaches etc. Unless you are prepared for this, avoid getting a car that is known to have mechanical gremlins unless you’re the kind of person that enjoys repairs – which I highly doubt.

Most of the research you will be doing will be online. Simply Google the car you want to buy and you should see some related articles. If it has a really bad reputation, you’ll probably see those results on the first page. You should also Google the car name followed with “reliability” or some other keyword and see what people are saying about it. Youtube is another reference you can look up your choice of car on as well. If your car is popular, you’ll probably find a forum or two dedicated to the car. This is gold as you can get a lot of information here as well as talk to owners of the car.

Once you have done enough research and haven’t come up with many red flags and are reasonably confident that the car of choice is a good one, it’s time to do some comparison analysis.

Comparison Analysis

For the car you want to buy, determine the year range you are interested in. A vehicle may look the same with only minor cosmetic changes for a 2-3 year period, sometimes longer. If you like only a certain year of car, your options will be much less but if you can spread it out to at least a 3 year range, you’ll have many more options to choose from.
Go online and search for your car. In Toronto, a popular car buying site like Auto Trader can help. Select the range of years and filter by price. You may sometimes see a drastic range in price for the same year so pay attention to these ads and determine why. Mileage plays a big factor along with the condition of the vehicle. Make note of this and record prices on the high side and low side, taking note of the mileage.

The main point of this is to determine price points. When you visit a dealer or if you decide to buy private, you’ll understand the market better and know what the car is worth.

Time to Start Shopping

So you’ve determined your car is not a lemon and know what it’s worth based on the year, mileage and general condition of the car. The next step is to go out and look at some cars. Never buy the first one, no matter how much you love it. You’ll want to see at minimal three, but five to seven would be more ideal.
If you’re going to buy privately, you’ll be able to ask a lot of questions about the car because the owner was most likely very attached the vehicle, unlike at a dealership where they only know the current state of the car. Find yourself a well known dealership in Toronto with good Reviews. Dupont Auto Centre is an example. You can see from their very high Google reviews they have a good reputation and here are their used car listings of their current inventory.

Get a Second Opinion From a Mechanic

If you have found a car you feel is right for you, the price is right, it drives well, has a good history, etc., then the next step is to get another opinion. If you’re a mechanic or at least mechanically inclined and have worked on cars before, you’re a step ahead. If not, find a mechanic that is familiar with this car and spend a few bucks to bring it in for an inspection. A private owner and dealership should have no issue with this for the most part. This could end up saving you a ton of money should there be something seriously wrong with the vehicle.


There are many things you need to do before buying a used car and if you live in Toronto there are many, many options. Do your research, get the car checked, try to get the best price. Never pay full price on the vehicle, always bargain as it is expected. Stay confident and stick to your budget but also be reasonable. Following all these steps is just a guideline and feel free to research this more. Buying a used car is a lengthy process but will save you money in the long run.