Nfld. & Labrador·The Lowdown

Shopping for a new or used car? Here are some tips to help you decide

If you're planning on purchasing a vehicle, but not sure whether to buy new or used, Service NL has some information to keep in mind before heading to the car lot.

Service NL has suggestions to keep in mind when buying a set of wheels

Service NL says used cars are usually sold 'as is, where is,' meaning there's no warranty on your purchase. (CBC)

If you're planning to purchase a vehicle, but not sure whether to buy new or used, Service NL has some information to keep in mind before heading to the sales lot.

Here's The Lowdown on shopping for a car.

According to Service NL, when you're purchasing a vehicle, it's always a "buyer beware" situation. 

Unlike other purchases, there isn't a "cooling-off" period, so once you buy a vehicle — regardless if it's new or used — it's yours, and there's no refund.

The Lowdown: Buying a new or used vehicle

3 years ago
Duration 1:49
Are you in the market for a set of wheels? CBC Investigates shares some consumer tips from Service NL to keep in mind before you start shopping.

Used cars are usually sold "as is, where is," meaning there's no warranty.

That's why Service NL says it's important to do your homework before you start shopping: look at how much you want to spend, and never rush into a purchase.

The department suggests researching the vehicle and the dealer, and also asking family and friends about their experiences.

Buying new vs. used

Service NL says if you're thinking about buying new, you should know the terms and conditions of the warranty.

As well, you can compare financing from different sources, like the bank, a credit union or the dealer.

You should also know the total cost of the vehicle, including all taxes and licence fees — and how that's broken down, in terms of the amount of each payment, and the number of payments.

If you're looking at buying a used vehicle, you can request the car's maintenance history.

You can also check to see if there's a lien on the vehicle in the province's personal property registry.

Safety inspection

Service NL says Motor Registration requires a safety inspection when a vehicle is transferred.

Some dealers will offer to do that inspection, while others will leave that for the consumer to take care of after the sale has been completed.

Service NL says before you buy a vehicle, you should know the total cost — including details about the amount of each payment, and the number of payments. (CBC)

The inspection slip covers some major components, but there could be other issues, so it's important to get the vehicle checked by a mechanic before you buy it.

If the seller doesn't allow you to get that mechanic check, it could mean there are possible issues with the vehicle.

Service NL says if the vehicle was inspected by the dealer prior to the purchase, and the consumer finds a problem after the sale, it's important to contact Motor Registration as soon as possible, because inspections are only valid for 30 days.

The Lowdown is a series from CBC NL Investigates about consumer news you can use. If you have a story idea, email us:

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Jen White

CBC News

Jen White is a reporter and producer with CBC News in St. John's.


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