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Buying A Used Car

My wife’s car has just about had it and I am looking at used vehicles in Calgary. It has been awhile since I purchased a vehicle. The last time I puchased one, it was through the old faithful Buy and Sell guide at the local gas station. This is my second time buying a used car in Calgary.

It has really changed now. I am using a number of different sites to find stuff now. Basically, it is the used listing sites and the car dealer sites for Calgary.

Don’t take my advice as I haven’t purchased yet, but I have done a fair bit of looking.

Used Listing Sites

The ones I am finding the best selection with right now are:

  • Calgary Kijiji – A great free site.
  • UsedCalgary.com – Another great free site.
  • Calgary CraigsList – Not as flashy, but free and a ton of people use it.
  • BuySell Classifieds – This one isn’t free, but you get a ton of listings. It comes out on-line a bit later than the print version I believe, so it is harder to get a deal if you just look on-line and the vehicle goes quickly.
  • Auto Trader – Not as many pictures posted and it is the same story as the BuySell. Paper print comes out on Thursday and it is released on the Internet on the Monday.
  • Autohound – This is a Canadian site speciailizing in used vehicles through participating dealers. Very handy to sort and find what you are looking for. There appears to be some basic buying guarantees offered as well.
  • eBay – Old faithful is still a very useful tool and you can find deals all over. More U.S. vehicles are on here, but a lot are from dealerships so it is fairly legit. You only have to pay a small deposit and can pay the remainder when you go take a look at it.
  • classifiedextra.ca – These are the classifieds from select newspapers (Calgary Sun is one of them).
  • autocatch! – It has some interesting ways to search for vehicles.
  • autoHunter.ca – Few different search methods and you can browse be dealer as well.

Dealer Sites

Basically pull up the sites for any of the dealers that you know of that sell new or used vehicles. They will have tons of listings and contact information to use. I think you are less likely to find a deal here, but it is a good reference point and you might just find exactly what you are looking for in terms of the specs as well.

Getting The Car Book Value for Free

There is that handy little black book to get the trade-in values for used vehicles or what some people call the “trade in” price. Quite often you have to pay for this book periodically or pay an on-line fee to get access to it. I found a handy way of getting a quote.

On the GMC website there is an Appraise Trade In tool that will let you punch in information and then give you a range of what your vehicle is approximately worth. This is more for the trade-in value, so chances are it will sell for higher privately.

What Costs Might Be Upcoming

When looking at a used vehicle, take note of the service work that has been done to it. Sometimes a little research on-line can tell you what has been a typical problem for that vehicle or things that might need to be replaced soon. Tires, brakes, fluid changes, and more are good to take note of. It is a cost that will have to be done anyways, but it is nice to know if you will be doing it within the year or if it is a couple years away.

A lot of cars have major service at various mileages. For example, the next major service for a 2005 Matrix is at 192,000 km. If you are looking at a Matrix that is already at 160,000 you will be thinking about soon. If you are under 100,000 you have a longs ways to go.

Automatic or a Standard

Also called a manual transmission, a standard is usually $1,000 cheaper off the new sticker price. A lot of the cheaper used vehicles you see will be a standard. If you don’t want a stick-shift, pay attention to that.

Factor In Taxes

When comparing vehicle costs, the taxes can be significant as well. 5% GST will add $500 for every $10,000 you are putting into it. If you buy privately, you may not have to pay GST. I believe you are supposed to, but it is difficult to enforce. If you buy from a dealer, you will be paying the GST.

Also consider that province or state that you are buying it in. They may other applicable taxes depending on where you are from yourself.

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