VSA

Consumer

Buying Used

What the dealer must declare

A written sales agreement for a used vehicle must include:
  • Whether the vehicle was brought in for sale from outside the province and the name of any other jurisdiction where the vehicle was registered
  • If it was used as a police car, taxi, emergency, lease or rental vehicle
  • Whether the odometer accurately records the true distance traveled
  • If the vehicle sustained damages which cost more than $2,000 to repair

What the dealer must disclose

You should be very clear about your preferences and requirements. By doing so, you are indicating what is material to you as a buyer. The dealer is required to disclose anything that would be material to your decision to purchase the vehicle. This could include such things as:

  • Whether the vehicle was declared as salvage and rebuilt
  • Whether the vehicle was stolen and recovered
  • If the vehicle sustained damage under $2,000
  • The actual amount of any damage over $2,000

Is As-is Where-is allowed?

A dealer may want to sell an older model vehicle As Is – Where Is or No warranties expressed or implied. This means without completing any repairs and without any dealer warranty. However, the vehicle must still meet minimum vehicle safety standards and it will still have an implied warranty under the Sale of Goods Act. The dealer also has a duty to disclose all known material defects that exist at the time of the transaction.

Not Suitable for Transportation and Parts Only vehicles

The law allows a vehicle to be sold as Not Suitable for Transportation if it is advertised, labeled and marked on the sale documents as such. There is no implied warranty when the vehicle is sold as Not Suitable for Transportation and you are required to tow the vehicle off the lot.

Get a vehicle history report

  • It’s now very common for dealers to provide a recent vehicle history report
  • If a vehicle history report is not provided, you can ask for one
  • You can also get your own, if you’re serious about a vehicle
  • To get a vehicle history report, you will need the VIN or Vehicle Identification Number

CARFAX Canada:

Provides vehicle histories including, when known:

  • Accident type, date and the amount of damage
  • Provinces and U.S. states where the vehicle was registered
  • Negative branding, such as flood, salvage, etc.
  • Optional ICBC and lien report add-ons

CARFAX Canada also provides open recalls and buying tips at carfax.ca

ICBC Reports:

ICBC Vehicle Claims History Report – Recommended for BC Only Vehicles

Get the following, if it’s available in ICBC records:

  • Vehicle title status – normal, rebuilt, salvage, or altered
  • Any damage or damages claimed through ICBC
  • The date the damage or damages occurred and its dollar value
  • Whether the vehicle has been imported into BC

ICBC No Details Report – Additional Fee: Get additional records for claims still in progress.

ICBC Vehicle Status Inquiry – Free: Get just the vehicle title status – normal, rebuilt, salvage, or altered

About mechanical inspections

  • Dealership Mechanical Inspections

A dealership mechanical inspection should provide a summary of the condition of the major elements of the vehicle. Be sure to get a copy of this report, as it documents the representations made about the condition of the vehicle by the dealership.

  • Independent Mechanical Inspections

A dealership mechanical inspection should provide a summary of the condition of the major elements of the vehicle. Be sure to get a copy of this report, as it documents the representations made about the condition of the vehicle by the dealership.

  • Private Vehicle Inspection (PVI) is not a mechanical inspection

The provincial Private Vehicle Inspection, or safety inspection, can be completed only by certified inspectors. This inspection checks that the vehicle meets the minimum mechanical safety requirements for parts such as brakes, lights, horn, steering, etc. However, this is not a guarantee the vehicle is mechanically sound. The vehicle could still have serious engine, transmission or other problems which could involve major expense. See a sample report or find inspection locations. The BC Ministry of Transportation, Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement certifies the inspectors.

  • Federal Vehicle Inspection

This inspection, completed when a vehicle is imported into Canada, is very limited.

About warranties

Some newer used vehicles can have the original manufacturer’s warranty or an extended warranty still in effect. Be sure to confirm what will be covered and for how long or how many kilometers. A third party warranty offered or sold by the dealer may offer limited protection for future repairs. Or, you may be offered a limited warranty from the dealer for discounts on future repairs. All warranties should be:
  • in writing and part of the contract
  • signed by the dealer, not just the salesperson
  • specific, with details of what is covered and for how long or how many kilometers
  • clear about where and how any repairs are to be authorized and done
Even if you are buying a vehicle with no representations as to condition or quality there is an implied warranty under the Sale of Goods Act. A vehicle must be safe and suitable for transportation. Every vehicle must last for a reasonable period of time given the normal use of the vehicle and the circumstances of the sale (such as price, etc.) This implied warranty can be waived for a used vehicle. Be cautious if you are asked to waive it.

Checking out a used vehicle on the lot

  • Check the upholstery and floor coverings for unusual or unexpected wear
  • Check to see that the heater, air conditioning, radio and other features work
  • Be sure that all the doors, windows and sunroof open and close
  • Look for a service sticker to match with the current odometer reading
  • Evaluate the condition of the tires and look for unusual wear
  • Check the trunk for the spare tire, jack and wrench
  • Check the paint, chrome and body for mismatched paint and repairs
  • Look for rust, as any visible rust could mean more underneath
  • Check the oil, transmission fluid and coolant for colour and fluid level
  • Any unusual smells may indicate leaks or mechanical problems

Test drive tips

  • Take time to drive the vehicle for at least 30 minutes
  • Drive it on the highway and on city streets
  • Test the brakes and all the gears
  • Turn off the radio to hear the engine, brakes, and transmission