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buying used car in Alberta

Buying a Used Car In Alberta | What You Need to Know

Sometimes it’s not feasible to pop into a dealership and sign papers on a brand new vehicle, but it’s also not feasible for most people to be without a car. Not every community comes equipped with public transit services and you don’t always have the choice to work close enough to home that a bike will do. So what’s your next option? Buy used from a private seller. You can often find plenty of good cars, trucks or SUVs for sale on the web in your local area. So if you’re ready to start the hunt for your next set of wheels, here’s what you need to know about buying a used car in Alberta. 

Shop Around 

If you have the time, shop around first. You might be quick to jump on the first half decent looking, functioning vehicle you come across on the internet, but make sure you take the time to look around at different sites or even a different town or city. Someone, just a few kms’ down the highway in the next town might be selling a car in better shape for less. Check out all the local listing sites your area has before deciding to contact a seller. 

Before you Buy

Once you have found the car you like, there’s a few things you need to do before signing your name and taking ownership. 

  • Check the Canadian Police Information Centre to make sure it’s not a stolen vehicle. 
  • Ask the seller for proof of their identification as well as proof that they are the current registered owner of the car. If there is more than one name on the registration, ask to have both parties present when you buy it. 
  • Do a quick lien search on the vehicle using the VIN number. 
  • If you’re not great with your car knowledge, find a mechanic friend to come along with you to check out the condition of the vehicle. Sometimes sellers will not be upfront with everything that’s wrong with the vehicle and you could end up stuck with a huge repair bill. 
  • Get a vehicle information report from your local registries office. This report will show you the past registration history for the vehicle. If it was never registered in Alberta, you’ll need to get and pay for an out of province inspection before it can be registered in your name. 
  • Ask to test drive it. 

If you’re buying a used car in Alberta, be sure to keep yourself safe and be smart about the process. Anyone can sell a car for any reason, so don’t buy it without the proper proof that it’s owned by them, that there isn’t money owing on the car and that it’s in good condition. You can even look into the Blackbook value of that vehicle to make sure you’re getting it for a good price. 

When you buy 

When it comes time to start signing the car over to you, take the proper steps to ensure you have all the information and documents you need to move the car over into your name properly. Type up a bill of sale that includes the following information: 

  • Names of both the owner(s) and the seller(s) 
  • Make, model, colour, year and VIN number of the vehicle 
  • The cost of the vehicle (what you are going to pay the seller)
  • Signatures from all parties involved (buyers & sellers) 

You can also include: the odometer reading, phone numbers of the parties involved, payment method, a witness signature and any special conditions of the sale. These details are not required to register the car in your name, but a little extra information never hurt anyone. 

Without the above information, you as the new owner of the vehicle will not be able to properly register the vehicle in your name, so make sure your bill of sale has every spot filled out properly. Learn more about writing up an official bill of sale here.

After you’ve bought the car 

The next step when you’re buying a used car in Alberta is to get it insured. You need to set up auto insurance first because you cannot register the car into your name without proof that it has coverage. We suggest shopping around for the best price on your insurance as well. You could save yourself money each month just by making a few phone calls before deciding on a company. Once you have chosen your insurance provider and have everything set up, ask the agent to send you an email copy of the policy. You can use the email at the registration office instead of waiting a week or two for the paper copy to come in the mail.   

Once you have your insurance policy in place, bring your I.D, bill of sale, proof of insurance and the out of province inspection (if the car was not previously registered in Alberta), to your local registries office and get your new car registered. 

Keep all your documents organized and in a safe place so they are easily accessible if you need them. 

Buying a used car in Alberta can be a quick and smooth process if you know what to do, what to expect and what to avoid. There are tons of great reliable vehicles for sale and buying used can save you time and money. 

If the car you purchased from a private seller needs a little bit of TLC, we can help. CSN JD Collision does auto body repair, auto body painting and vehicle customization. If all it needs is a fresh coat of paint and you’re thinking your DIY might fail, save the headache and let the pros handle it.

Contact us today if your new (used) ride needs a little fix’n up.