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Shopping for a Used Car in NL

Shopping for a Used Car in NL
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Buying a previously owned or used car in Newfoundland and Labrador is a smart way to save money when looking for your next vehicle. However, finding the right car for you takes a bit more legwork. In addition, since factory warranties often don’t extend to a car’s second owner, you need to take extra care to ensure the vehicle you consider is safe and drivable.

Prepare to Shop

Your budget is the first item to consider when looking for a used car. While saving thousands of dollars compared to the cost of a new car, make sure to account for a down payment, car loan payments, and insurance when evaluating the overall cost. Pre-approval for used vehicle financing is crucial before venturing to purchase a car. You’ll also need to pay for a vehicle inspection, title, and other one-time fees.

Next, look at cars that meet your criteria and fit your budget. Sites like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book regularly publish rankings for used car safety, resale value, and other information to help you make informed decisions. Be sure to look at used cars for sale in your area to understand pricing for specific makes and models.

Finally, consider where you will purchase your vehicle. Used car buyers have many options for finding vehicles, including:

  • Independent dealers
  • New car dealers
  • Private sellers
  • Superstores

Find your Car

If you have found a specific vehicle, request a vehicle history report. This report details accidents, other damage, and previous ownership information for the car you are considering. 

Next, take a test drive (an extended one). Be sure to take the vehicle around curves, hills, and bumps. Drive at both high (where permitted) and low speeds and practice braking. If something doesn’t feel right, note it.

Finally, get an inspection. Buyers often miss this step, but ensuring you have a safe and usable car post-purchase is crucial. Take the vehicle to a qualified mechanic, who will professionally evaluate the car for a fee. Some mechanics may even take the vehicle for a test drive themselves to look for any problems you may have missed.

Certified pre-owned cars are a helpful midway point between new cars and many used cars. Often sold through dealer networks, these vehicles generally have lower mileage than other used cars and may still have a manufacturer warranty. In addition, since each vehicle receives a thorough inspection, you can feel confident that your car is safe and drivable.

Look for Red Flags

While some issues with used cars are apparent (e.g., rust, warning lights, moldy smell), others are more subtle. First, all used vehicles should be inspected to ensure they are safe to drive. If your seller refuses an inspection, reconsider the car.

Although some necessary fees come with purchasing a used car, such as transferring the title, make sure you look at an itemized list of fees and any additional expenses. Question anything that seems out of place.

When it comes to the purchase, re-evaluate the situation if you feel you are being pushed. Don’t get roped into add-ons or features you do not want. If the seller needs to complete the purchase with these items, consider walking away.

Complete the Purchase

Once you decide to purchase, work with the seller to negotiate a fair price. Remember to bring your notes from researching comparable vehicles and your financing information. Be sure to account for the total cost of the car, including any extended warranties, down payment, and insurance.

Finally, sign any paperwork, including title information, registration, and other provincial requirements. Keep copies of everything. While purchasing a used car is often more complicated than buying a new car, it can help save you thousands. Taking the proper steps before and during the purchase process can help you find the right vehicle at the right price to meet your needs.

Auto Insurance in NL

If you are getting a loan to purchase the car, your lender will require you to have insurance coverage. And if you are buying from a dealership, they will want proof of insurance before you drive off the lot.

From St. John’s to Corner Brook, we’ve got you covered with the best car insurance in Newfoundland and Labrador. A car or truck is often your biggest asset aside from your home. Auto insurance protects against potentially crippling financial losses and the sheer inconvenience of being without transportation.

About Wedgwood Insurance

Wedgwood Insurance has offices in St. John’s & Corner Brook and is Newfoundland & Labrador’s largest independent insurance broker. We provide straightforward home, auto & business insurance advice.

With over 240 Google My Business reviews, experience the Wedgwood difference with expert advice from our dedicated team. We ensure that every client has the coverage that best suits their needs through upfront complimentary consultations and midterm reviews.

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Author Jamie Ross

Jamie Ross leads the Marketing and Communications team at Wedgwood Insurance, renowned as one of Atlantic Canada’s premier independent insurance brokers. Bringing a wealth of experience amassed over many years at some of Canada's most esteemed advertising agencies, Jamie transitioned to the insurance industry in 2017. This pivotal move has marked a period of significant professional growth and contribution to the field. A native Nova Scotian, Jamie has been a resident of St. John's, NL, since 2011, where he has become an integral part of the local community. Learn more about Jamie.

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