Buying a used car in Calgary: a guide

Here’s what you need to know when looking at cars for sale in Calgary:

Purchasing from a private seller

Perhaps you’re browsing through Kijiji in Alberta for cars or Autotrader. When you find one you’re interested in, consider doing the following:

Prepare to negotiate

Consult a resource like Canadian Black Book so that you can discover what cars of a similar make and model are selling for. This will allow you to negotiate, as private sellers typically inflate their asking price in anticipation of this.

Obtain a vehicle history report

Services such as CARFAX can provide you with an accident and service history and lien-search results (so that you know no money is still owed on the car).

Check the odometer and tires

If the car is only a few years old but has a lot of kilometres, that’s a warning you might face mechanical problems soon. Also, ensure the tires still have a lot of tread on them.

Have your mechanic check it out

Private sellers should be willing to allow your mechanic to examine the vehicle.

Purchasing from a dealership

With a dealership, you can skip a number of steps. By law, in Alberta, they must have a licensed journeyman technician complete a mechanical fitness assessment of all used vehicles on their lot. They will also handle the paperwork, including obtaining a license plate or providing you with a copy of a vehicle history report.