From the Readers

New Vehicle Buying Tips For Canadians

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

A new vehicle can be a source of pleasure and security and optimal for all sorts of trips and destinations, depending on what you get.

It can also be a money pit, and knowing your stuff is essential before looking for a new vehicle.

This blog post prompted a recent reader’s question about buying a new vehicle in Canada.

Tips For Buying A New Vehicle In Canada
Tips For Buying A New Vehicle In Canada

Looking To Buy A New Vehicle

Dear Mr.CBB,

We’re just starting to think about buying a new vehicle in Canada.

Do you have any advice or tips in this department?



First, don’t be afraid of salespeople, as they are harmless.

They have a job to do and are out to make money; it’s no secret.

They know it, and you know it.

The name of the game is Who’s going to crack first, or Can we meet in the middle?

You have to realize they need to make money. That’s why they do what they do.

You can’t walk away with all for nothing and shouldn’t expect that.

Salespeople must put food on the table just as much as the next guy/gal.

Buying My First Truck In Canada

Here are some tips I’ve learned since moving to Canada and buying my first Truck!

Pick a style/size of car/truck depending on your needs/wants.

Getting a Cadillac Escalade to drop the kids off at school may look bling, but you’ll never be able to buy the kids shoes and clothes for the rest of the school year.

Never buy the bog standard base model.

It will always have less resale value further down the road.

What kind of warranty do you want?

Some companies, such as Ford, run a standard 3-year warranty across the entire vehicle with an extra two years on the powertrain; others go further.

Dodge (Chrysler) gives out seven years warranty on the drivetrain, and Mitsubishi has a 10-year warranty on their drivetrain.

All deposits will have a list of things that are and are not covered, read it.

It will also tell you if you need to keep your end of the bargain and pay for specific service work to be completed to keep the warranty valid.

If I’ve lost you a little, the powertrain is the same as the drivetrain and includes the engine, transmission, driveshaft/s, and wheel ends, but not tires.

New Vehicle Fuel Efficiency To Consider

Fuel efficiency is big news lately; every car model has a range of engines in the UK, but there’s always a diesel option.

Diesel will get you further for less as well as a smaller instead a larger vehicle, but as in the case of almost everything, there are always drawbacks.

Diesel vehicles don’t like the cold at start-up as they are “heat engines,” so you’ll be plugging in the block heater or relying on the intake heater to start it in the morning.

Small cars are great to blast around town in but useless if you want to go on a family camping vacation.

Buying A New Vehicle With Manual vs. Automatic

Manual vs. Automatic- take your pick, I’ve always driven manual transmissions, and you’ve far more control over the vehicle for fuel efficiency, not much in it.

These days, most automatic vehicles will make no more of a dent in your wallet than a standard.

All-Wheel Drive (AWD) will crucify your fuel and 4×4, so if you don’t need 4×4, switch it off.

As a side note, 4×4 is not the same as Traction Control.

If you’re driving down the 401 in the middle of winter at 120kph, 4×4 will not save you in icy conditions.

Consider Front-Wheel Drive Vehicles

Front-wheel drive cars are easier to control in snow than rear-wheel drive.

Take it for a test drive.

  • Is it comfortable? Does it handle well?
  • Do switches and simple essential controls make sense?

Think of it as trying on a pair of shoes; if they don’t fit properly, you try on a different team.

Take someone with you who’s not biased on the car buying experience.

They’ll be able to point out things you probably won’t notice. Is the engine struggling to propel the weight of the car?

Some models will have a base engine that works under the weight of the vehicle it sits in.

An example of an underpowered vehicle is the Ford Ranger pickup with the base 2.3L 4-cylinder engine. It’s not that everyone needs more power.

It’s the fact that an engine always runs on its limit and isn’t going to do much good over time.

There are forums online that discuss makes, models, and engine performance that usually have contributions made by the mechanics/technicians that work on them regularly.

Want to protect yourself or your loved ones, check the crash rating on it, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Winter Maintenance For A New Vehicle

Undercoating/Oil spraying for those months of salting the roads is always a good idea.

It’s not just the underneath of the floor pan that will get salt thrown at it; there’s a spaghetti factory of wiring that gets hit as well.

My tip is not to get the supposedly “$500 worth” spray they use at some dealerships.

Please do yourself a favor and get it sprayed by Krown.

It will set you back approximately $130 a year, and they spray inside the doors, wiring, engine compartment, and the Full Monty.

It will drip and migrate across the car, so watch your driveway or garage floor.

The idea is that it fills in the spots that get worn off over the winter months.

Ask For Extra Fluff

See what you can get them to throw in to beat the competitor or to make it a solid deal.

For example, you could ask for gas discounts for a year, striking rims, nitrogen-filled tires, and other odds and ends like accessories for the vehicle.

You’ll laugh if you get a set of winter tires on steel rims for the price.

Go to dealerships on a slow day, don’t be afraid to go to dealerships out-of-town either.

You can also contact dealers online for vehicle quotes or use the telephone.

Some manufacturer websites will allow you to build a car online by choosing all the options and then giving you a purchase price.

Know all the current discounts by visiting the dealership website so you’re informed before you go.

Questions To Consider When Buying A New Vehicle

How much will you spend on monthly payments, including interest, maintenance, gas, etc?

Check with your insurance company and let them know the make, model, and colour you are looking for so they can estimate your rate.

If you don’t want to buy your vehicle, find out your insurance is more than your monthly car payment.

If you want to do your homework, Car Cost Canada will share with you for only $39.95 Dealer Invoice cost and a tonne of other helpful information that you will want to have.

You will discover what the dealers don’t want you to know and what incentives you might be missing because they aren’t telling you.

It’s one of the best ways to make a fair market decision when you have the real numbers.

Don’t forget to take the report with you so you have solid numbers to negotiate with.

Negotiate Before Buying A New Vehicle

Finally, negotiate all aspects of the price of the vehicle.

Never tell them what your top dollar is so you have wiggle room.

Let the salesperson do the talking and think before you answer.

Why do they want to know the information they are asking me?

Make sure you have questions ready to ask them as well.

You want to come to a fair agreement for the salesperson and yourself.

Some examples might be;

  1. What will you get if you trade in a used vehicle? This way, you will know whether selling your current car privately or using it as a trade-in makes more financial sense.
  2. What are the financing charges (if any)? Even better is 0% financing.

Look at the overall picture, not only the initial cost but also the cost of ownership.

Just because you can afford a gas-guzzling V8 muscle car doesn’t mean you can run it daily.

Take a day or so to consider whether you are making the right purchase.

Take Time Buying A New Vehicle In Canada

Buying a vehicle is not rushed unless you are in a rush. Don’t let anyone push you around or tell you they can’t hold a deal for you.

If that’s the case, walk away. More than one dealer is willing to open up the lines of negotiation to sell you a new vehicle.

Discussion: What other tips do you have for our readers?

Please share your experience and comments below.

Thanks for stopping by,


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  1. And don’t get strong armed into making a snap decision. If they want the sale, they’ll quote you a price that’s good for a few days so you can shop that price to see if you can get another dealer to beat it.

  2. Different companies also offer a discount if your business is affiliated with them. Sort of like employee pricing. There are also times when family and friends discounts apply. We both went to the dealership separately and together to see if there was any difference in pricing that was offered. Oh, and made sure that any offer was written down on the back of the salesperson’s business card to be able to fall back on what they gave us and who it was that did so. Made it easier to keep track of. :).

    1. Hi Tara!
      Good points.. especially about getting the quote in writing as you certainly wouldn’t be make a huge decision like that on the spot. Mrs.CBB did get the employee pricing through a friend who worked at a dealership so yes that’s a good point about family and friends. Cheers Tara!! More great tips for people looking to buy NEW!

  3. A lot of great advice in this blog Mr. CBB! It is true that salesmen as a whole really don’t make a lot of money when selling new cars so they don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room with price. If you want to try to get the best price I have a couple of extra tips. Try shopping the last week of the month, salesmen will sometimes have a quota with an added bonus so if they are behind on the number of sales they need, they may give you a better price. Also consider buying towards the end of the model year, especially when a new designed model is coming out, dealerships will be trying to get rid of their stock to make room for the new models so you can probably get it for a better price.

    1. That is why I love it when the readers post their comments because there are always ideas that I may forget or simply am not aware of. Both great tips Joanna and I would have never thought about the quota but certainly forgot about the end of year pricing.. good points. Cheers Mr.CBB

      1. I also meant to add that I love that you bring up the topic of maintenance. It amazes me the number of people that buy a new car and think that all they need to worry about is putting gas in it. The vehicle needs to be maintained and no, maintenance is not covered under warranty, it is something you have to pay for. Get an idea of what the maintenance schedule is, how often it needs to be done and how much it will cost. Talk to the service department, find out what the average mileage is for brake replacement, tire replacement etc. Just keep in mind, the cost of the car doesn’t end at purchase. When buying a new car, try to get the salesman to throw in the first oil change for free as part of your negotiations.

        1. Yep, the more fluff the sweeter the deal. I’m sure many people will learn from everything we are writing in the comment section of any blog post. maintenance for cars can be outrageous especially for a new car when you have a schedule to follow not to void the warranty. Mr.CBB

  4. I hate buying cars as I am always afraid of making the wrong decision. In my late teens (I graduated from college and had my first full time job pretty early) I bought my first new car (I had purchased a used one with my dad’s help prior to that to get me back and forth to school). I test drove a lot of cars (even a Honda) and settled on a Dodge Neon (2000). It was 0% financing which I thought was amazing at the time, later realized that it’s not all its cracked up to be. My payment was $346/month. I paid a little more each month and paid it off a few months early just to get it over with. So in retrospect I might not do 0% financing again as I probably paid more on the car in the long run. Two years ago we both needed new cars. I bought a used minivan at a dealership. It seems to be ok. I just wonder if I could have gotten a better deal if I had looked around longer and done more research. Ken bought a 1 year old model at a dealership through a family friend and I think he got a pretty good deal. It has resale value as it is fully loaded with leather interior, sunroof, etc. I think my van is pretty basic. I’ll probably never buy another new car again, so I am glad I got it out of my system when I was young. Used is the way to go.

    1. Yes my truck is used but I paid cash for it and it has resale on it. Mrs.CBB bought her vehicle brand new for 0% financing $32k and paid it off in 5 years at $417 a month and 6k down. She negotiated all sorts of deals and picked it up also at employee cost… she’s a bad ass when it comes to negotiating and research. It’s so important. Not all people should go it alone when it comes to vehicles but that’s a whole other post.. unless of course you know exactly what’s going on.

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