Buying a car in TO
June 19, 2011 2:03 PM   Subscribe

What steps do I need to take to buy a used car? In Toronto, particularly.

More explanation: I'm living in TO for a year while I'm on a sabbatical. I have a Saskatchewan license, and I had an elderly car gifted to me by a friend while I was there, which I passed on to someone else who needed it when I left. Prior to that I'd lived for 15 years without one.

I planned to buy a car to drive back, next August, but I thought I'd get around with TTC, cabs and Zipcar (when needed) while I'm in Toronto.

But now it seems that 1) I'll be traveling quite a bit (several trips back to Saskatoon this summer, trips to Washington for the Folger, to Blackfriars in Staunton) and 2) I'll need to move my stuff (furniture, kitchen stuff, etc) to Toronto, as my furnished rental has been replaced with a (really nice, cheap) unfurnished one. Given this, it would be a good idea to get the car sooner rather than later; driving myself will be easier and cheaper than flights plus shipping.

So: I want a Mazda 3 (maybe a Ford Fiesta, since it is the same car) manual, 2005-07, would like to spend about 5-8 grand, have 4,600 in cash and will finance the rest through my bank. I would prefer to deal with an owner, but curbsiders don't make that easy.

I have read the "guide to buying a used car in Ontario", but it's pretty dense, and not always helpful.

Can I buy and insure the car here with an out of province license? I'll be changing to an Ontario license in August, but I want to buy the car now. I don't want to buy the car in Saskatoon, because prices are a good 3 grand higher there, and there is less choice. I do have an Ontario residence, now -- do I wait until August, when I have an Ontario license?

How do I find a good mechanic to inspect it? What does the inspection mean, and how much does it cost? What are some of the hidden costs? What about insurance: Saskatchewan insurance is government, and here it's private.

I'm going to ask friends, but I'd like to query the hive mind, too.

Oh, and:

Yes, I really will need a car back in Saskatoon. I lived there for 4 years without a car: waiting an hour for a bus in -30, waiting 45 minutes for a cab to the airport and missing your flight, taking 3 hours to do the shopping and walking miles in the snow in -30 is not something I ever want to do again. :)
posted by jrochest to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I want a Mazda 3 (maybe a Ford Fiesta, since it is the same car)

Do you mean a Mazda 2 (which is basically the same as a Fiesta)? Or do you need to do a little more research before buying a car? The Mazda 2/Fiesta just came out, and there will be few available on the used car market. Since you're looking for a 2005-2007, I think you mean the Mazda3; just be aware that it's not at all the same as a Fiesta.

How do I find a good mechanic to inspect it?

Go to the Priority Plus Inspection Centre - inspecting used cars is all they do, and they're recommended by the Automobile Protection Assocation.

Can I buy and insure the car here with an out of province license?

Not sure. But it says here that you can "Call ServiceOntario's Driver and Vehicle Contact Centre: Toronto Area: 416-235-2999"
posted by Dasein at 2:35 PM on June 19, 2011

Response by poster: I want a Mazda 3, which has been around for a while; my assumption that the Fiesta is the same as the Mazda 3 and not the 2 is simply ignorance. :)

The old car I just gave away was a Protege, and I've driven several rental Mazdas.
posted by jrochest at 2:44 PM on June 19, 2011

Cool. I think the Mazda3 is an excellent choice for a used car, BTW.
posted by Dasein at 2:56 PM on June 19, 2011

Response by poster: And thanks for the Inspection Centre info: that's the sort of stuff I need.
posted by jrochest at 3:48 PM on June 19, 2011

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