Young Drivers Series - First car: new or used?

Buying that first car, whether new or used, is one of the most exciting things in life! However, since it is a major purchase involving a large amount of money, there is every reason to take some precautions. 

Before you go out car shopping you must determine how much you are willing to pay.  Then, whatever car you set your mind on, do some research.  Visit different dealerships, look through the classifieds, and compare prices for the same vehicle with great care.  The Internet is also a great source of information not to be overlooked.  You should also contact insurers and inquire about the vehicle you are planning to buy: some cars are much more expensive to insure than others.

Used car
Buying a used car requires special attention: you have to make sure not to buy a stolen vehicle.  Beware if:

  • The manufacturer’s label that should be on the driver’s door is missing

  • The offer is so appealing that it seems too good to be true

  • The seller requires payment in cash or offers you not to pay taxes

Take the time to:

  • Research the vehicle’s history: Fill out the “Vehicle Record Request” form available on the website of the Société d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).  It will give you descriptive data about the vehicle, the number of previous owners, and for what purposes the vehicle has been used in the past (taxi, personal or business usage, etc.).

  • Check that the vehicle can be registered.

  • Check that the person selling the vehicle really is its owner.  When buying from an individual, you must check the RDPRM (Quebec Register of Personal and Moveable Real Rights) at this address:

  • Confirm with the SAAQ that the dealer from whom you are buying the car has the appropriate licence.

Golden rule:   All used cars must be subject to an inspection before purchase.  So whatever the second-hand vehicle you are interested in, make sure to have it inspected by a qualified mechanic. 

New car
If it is within your budget to buy a new car, be sure to:

  • Inquire about the vehicle’s performance and reputation.  Read car magazines, research the web and visit discussion groups discussing the car model you are planning to buy.

  • Visit several dealerships.  Take the opportunity to set forth your negotiating skills to obtain a better price or get additional options.

Whether you are buying a new car or a used car, make sure to consider all the costs involved:  maintenance and repairs, fuel, tires, registration, insurance, etc.  Having a car is great, as long as you can afford to take care of it!  And most importantly, never let yourself be intimidated by a seller: if necessary, wait and take the time to think about it.  Don’t sign any contract until you are absolutely confident about your purchase.