How to Buy a Car in Canada for Immigrants

As an Immigrants, Student or Visitor, you may need a ride to navigate Canada’s beautiful provinces!

Immigrants often feel ignorant of how to buy a car in Canada, used or new, vehicle makes, dealers to choose and the even budgets required. Therefore, this article contains information that can help you to own and drive a car in Canada.

When you arrive to Canada as a new immigrant or an international student, you will most likely feel an urge to explore the environs, as well as to take full advantage of your new country. This is usually difficult when you do not have a car.

For the most part, owning a car is necessary if you are living in a small city in Canada. Public transits in smaller Canadian cities are usually not enough to convey residents and workers.

Hence, purchasing a car in Canada will help you save more on transportation. It is also timesaving since you will not need to queue to board public transit. Let’s guide you on how to purchase a car in Canada whether upon arrival to your city of choice or when the need arise.

Do immigrants need a car in Canada?

Canada is a very big country with ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world’s second-largest country by total area. To move around easily and enjoy this beautiful country, owning a car is necessary – especially if you’re of driving age.

So yes, immigrants do need to buy a car in Canada due to the following reasons.

  • Buying a car helps you to reach various areas conveniently in Canada
  • It is expensive to board public transports in Canada. Hence, owning a car is essential
  • There are insufficient public transport for workers and residents of Canada

How to buy a car in Canada for immigrants

If you are a foreign national who just moved to live permanently in Canada, one of your essential needs is a car. Foreigner workers and international students also can own a car. Visitors with foreign licenses are allowed to drive in certain provinces. So literarily anyone from anywhere can drive in Canada provided they’re eligible to.

Before you can own a car in Canada, you are required to undergo a number of steps.

The following are steps immigrants can follow to buy a car in Canada.

  1. Decide on car choice
  2. Check for auto insurance eligibility
  3. Visit auto dealers to check availability of the vehicle
  4. Go for a test drive
  5. Execute provincial safety testing if buying used car
  6. Pay for the vehicle and start driving

#1. Decide on car choice

There’s never a best time to decide to buy a car in Canada – every time is a best time! To start, you need to decide upon the car type and automobile brand you intend buying. Choose a car that best suits your budget and meets your conveyance needs.

There are wide selections of cars available for sale at the auto dealerships in Canada.

If you seek for a renowned and reliable automobile company, you can consider a car manufactured by Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Volvo, Subaru, Volkswagen, SAAB, Suzuki, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, and more.

After deciding on the car brand, model and production year, you need to set a budget. Thereafter, you need to seek for auto dealers that sells such car within your budget.

Subsequently, auto dealers in Canada allow car buyers to pay outrightly or in installments. Making outright payment for cars in Canada is cheaper since you did not apply for finance.

Of course, installment payment for a car requires you to pay a certain amount as deposit. You will then pay the balance in installments. This usually attracts interest rate since finance is involved.

#2. Check for auto insurance eligibility

You need to check if you are eligible for auto insurance as it is requisite to drive a car in Canada.

More so, eligibility for auto insurance in Canada is usually determined with your driving history. You must also have a valid international or Canadian drivers license.

Examples of auto insurance companies are ARC Insurance Brokers, Intact Financial Corporation, DMW Insurance, Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers Ltd, Sharp Insurance, ThinkInsure, and so on.

#3. Visit auto dealers to check availability of the vehicle

Aside from buying online or offline, you can buy a car directly from its current user (private seller) or from an auto dealership.

You can always trust the vehicle purchased from an auto dealership since car sales is what they specialize in.

Therefore, it is easy for you to report whenever you are having an issue with the car.

Furthermore, you need to inform the car seller of the transmission type you want the vehicle to possess. Cars with automatic transmission are easier to drive. They are common compared to manual transmission vehicles in Canada.

Surely, manual transmission cars are cheaper than automatic cars.

If you have limited funds that may not afford an automatic car, you can opt for a manual car in this situation.

List of Popular Car Dealers in Canada

Auto dealerships in Canada

Here are examples of some auto dealers in Canada.

  • Auto List of Canada
  • Redline Auto Sales
  • Autorama
  • Davis GMC Buick
  • Canadian Auto Mall
  • Car Nation Canada Direct
  • West Toronto Auto Leasing and Sales Ltd
  • Brampton Auto Mall
  • Kamloops Ram Dodge Jeep, and so on

Buying cars online in Canada

The internet always come in handy no matter if you intend buying a used car in BC, Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Nunavut or Northwest Territories.

Besides, using the internet is a swift and affordable way of finding cars for sale, viewing its cost, mileage, pictures, features and location. The internet will forever remain the best way to buy a car in Canada.

Websites to buy or sale used cars in Canada

The following are examples of auto sales websites to buy new and used cars in Canada.

  • autotrader
    • autotrader Manitoba
    • autotrader Toronto
    • autotrader Montreal
    • autotrader Alberta
    • autotrader ca Ontario
  • Kijiji Autos
  • Car Cost Canada
  • AutoNet
  • MonsterAuto
  • AutoCatch
  • Carpages
  • Used Cars Canada
  • Craigslist
  • Auto123
  •, among others.

#4. Go for a test drive

When you visit the showroom of an auto dealer in Canada, you can request to take your choice vehicle out for a test drive.

Test drive helps to test the roadworthiness of the car before paying for it. It involves inspecting and testing a car by driving it.

Certainly, you should not forget asking for a test drive in order to know the current condition of the car’s engine, transmission, and other essential components.

You will also be opportune to check carefully the car’s interior, exterior, tyres, lights, as well as the functionality of all features.

Majority of auto dealers in Canada avails test drive to prospective car buyers. The auto dealer will most likely ask you to provide a copy of your drivers license.

Moreover, your family member, friend, colleague, or preferably an auto technician can accompany you to the test drive. This will improve your chances of detecting any sign of issue with the car.

On the whole, you can request information about the car’s warranty.

In Canada, new cars usually come with at least 3 years basic warranty, which offers all-encompassing repairs or car replacement on certain conditions.

If you want to buy a second hand car in Canada, you can pay to get warranties.

#5. Execute provincial safety testing if buying used car

At this stage, ensure that a trained mechanic handles the provincial safety test, which is necessary before a car sale or resale.

Thus, you must consider either garage inspection or mobile mechanic inspection.

Since the mechanic will have to examine the car, make sure no relationship exist between him and the auto dealer.

#6. Pay for the vehicle and start driving

Ultimately, you can now pay for the car after completing the above processes. After payment, you will have to register it in your name.

You can continue using the existing number plate on the car without registering for another one.

If you are buying the car directly from the present owner, you need to sign a basic contract with him/her.

Above all, you and the seller need to sign some handover documents, which are obtainable from Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) or Société d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).

FAQs about buying a car in Canada

Open car buyers' question and answers

What car should students buy in Canada?

Students on the lookout for an affordable, economical and reliable car should consider Toyota Corolla

When is the best time to buy a car in Canada?

In Canada, it is best to buy a car towards the end of the year, i.e., anytime from October. This is because cars are cheaper during this period.

Can I buy a car online in Canada?

Yes, you can buy a car in Canada online via auto sales websites like Autotrader Manitoba, Autotrader Toronto, Autotrader Montreal, Autotrader Alberta, Autotrader Ontario, Car Cost Canada,, MonsterAuto, AutoCatch, Carpages, Unhaggle, EBay Motors, Used Cars Canada, Craigslist,  Canadian Black Book, Auto123, and Kijiji Autos.

Can you buy a car without a license in Canada?  

Some provinces and territories in Canada allows people to buy a car without a licence. However, it might be impossible to register the car without a Canadian licence

Can you buy a new car online in Canada?


Can I buy a new car in Canada and bring it to the US?

Yes, you can bring a new car from Canada to US if the vehicle acts in line with the safety standards of Federal Department of Transportation and United States Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards.

Where is the cheapest place to buy a car in Canada?

Car Deals Direct in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada

Can you buy a car in Canada as a tourist?


Where can I buy second hand car in Toronto Canada?

  • Redline Auto Sales
  • Autorama
  • Toronto Auto Group
  • West Toronto Auto Leasing and Sales Ltd
  • Good Fellow’s Auto Wholesalers

Is it good buying a used rental car in Canada?


Is it cheaper to buy a car in Canada or USA?

No, it is cheaper buying a new car in USA than Canada

Where can I buy car parts Canada online?

  • PartsMonkey Auto Parts
  • ca
  • D&T Auto Parts

Can you buy a car without a license in Canada?

You can buy a car in Canada without a Canadian Drivers License in many provinces. Your country-issued license may be enough. However some provinces do not allow this. There are provincial variations so, check your local licensing office.