How do I buy a car in Alberta?

How do I buy a car in Alberta?


A car is one of the most important properties that any family or individual can have. While few consider a car to be a luxury, it’s a necessity for most. So, how do you buy a car in Alberta, a province known for its bad roads and drivers?

You’ll need to find the right car dealership to buy a car in Alberta. You can use various tools to make this easier for you. Afterwards, inspect the car, go on a test drive, and examine the contract before completing the purchase. You might need to inspect the vehicle’s history in cases of used cars.

The process of buying a car in Alberta can be a little overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. This is why this article breaks down all the necessary information on how you can buy a car in Alberta.

How to Buy a Car In Alberta

Here’s how to go about buying a car in Alberta.

1. Find the Right Car Dealership

Once you have chosen the kind of car you want, the rest depends on finding the right dealership that sells that particular car in Alberta. There are hundreds of car dealerships in Alberta alone, with 351 of them belonging to the Motor Dealers Association of Alberta. This number represents around 92% of the new cars and truck dealerships in the province, which means other car dealerships are not members of the association.

With used cars, you can buy from car dealerships that specialize in selling used cars or from private sellers. Either way, you need to find someone who has the car you’re looking for. Newspaper and online ads can help you find a used car seller.

2. Use Tools to Make Your Buying Process Smoother 

You can use tools such as Autos.ca, Consumer Guide Road Tests, and Driving to find reviews, test drives, reliability ratings, and other information about your car. In addition, Transport Canada provides information on whether the car you’re planning to buy has been flagged for product recalls, and Unhaggle lets you discover the base price of the vehicle directly from the factory before the dealer added their part.

3. Test Drive

Test driving lets you determine how comfortable driving the car is and its performance. On your test drive, simulate different driving conditions that you usually face to see how it performs in those conditions. Usually, if you’re buying a new car, you don’t have to worry about defects when test driving, as your focus should be comfort and desirability.

4. Scrutinize Every Contract and Seal the Deal

Once you’re satisfied with the state of the car and you have reached a verbal agreement, the next step with the dealership is to sign a contract. Again, make sure you read through the contract, and everything you agreed on verbally is in writing. 

Once you sign a contract, it becomes legally binding so check the fine prints before signing. If you buy from a private seller, you can use a bill of sale if there are no standard contracts. This can serve as evidence of the purchase later on.

What to Do When Buying a Used Car In Alberta

If you’re buying a used car, it would be best to consider some things. This helps you increase your chances of getting value for your money. 

1. Inspect the Car

When buying a used car, inspection is mandatory. You should personally inspect the car thoroughly, check for dents, scratches, rust, any sign of hidden repairs like mismatched paints, and all the tiny imperfections which may help you drive a better bargain.

Even though the car seller might have performed an inspection, you should also perform yours with the help of experts. First, take the car to an Auto Repair Service facility approved by AMA to perform the 201-point inspection. The essence of inspecting the vehicle is not to make sure it’s flawless. But to ensure it has no significant fault that could affect long-term use and also fix minor problems while getting a good bargaining chip in the process.

2. Investigate the Vehicle History

One can never be too careful with used vehicles, so if you plan to buy one in Alberta, you should do all the investigations necessary. You can start by asking the owner in case of private sellers about the vehicle. Questions such as maintenance history, the reason for selling, mechanical problems, duration of ownership, etc., can be helpful.

You should also check the vehicle identification number (VIN) plate on the car dash and compare it with the VIN label on the driver’s side door to see if they match. If you find a damaged label, the car might be a stolen one. You can use the VIN for vehicle history search to get all information about accidents, past insurance claims, liens, etc., related to the vehicles.

Things to Consider When Buying a Car

Here are some things to consider when buying a car.

1. Purpose

From a practical point of view, the function of an object is more important than its form. When it comes to vehicles, what you’ll be using the car for should be the first thing that determines the vehicle you buy. Factors such as whether it’s for city commute or long-distance travels, family or just a personal car, and need of more space for carriage are important considerations. You should also consider the roads where you plan to drive the car.

2. Budget

The cost of the car you’re getting also matters a lot. You should have a budget before you even start pricing vehicles. Knowing how much you can afford really limits your search for the right car and saves you a lot of time and money.

Even though you’ll most likely be using car finance to get the car, knowing how much you can afford in repayments is also important because a car loan is still a debt.

3. Brand

Several car brands are available in Canada. Some make such as Ford, Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Hyundai, and Nissan are more popular than others, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get any brand you’re looking for. When choosing a car, the brand’s popularity can play a significant role as it means you’ll find more maintenance and repair services for your vehicle.

4. Mechanical Knowledge

Another factor you need to consider when getting a car is your mechanical expertise. If you have some technical know-how of car engines, you may go for a used car. But if not, it’s always best to get a new car with a warranty and save yourself the trouble.

What’s Next After Buying a Car?

Now that you have bought a car in Alberta, congratulations. But it doesn’t end here. You also need to insure your car immediately after purchase. It’s legally compulsory to have basic automobile insurance. Vehicle registration is also important, and for you to do this, you’ll need proof of insurance and ownership.

Thais R

I moved to Canada in 2016. This was the best decision that I ever made. I created this website to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s thinking of moving or travelling to Canada.

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