Buying a Used Car in Manitoba

    Many of us remember our first new — or ‘new to us’—car. That feeling of sitting in the driver’s seat and inhaling the familiar new-car-scent that seems way different — but better — than the air fresheners. Someone may have owned the car before, but they definitely did not bond with it the way you are. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself.

    But before the car buying experience gets to this point, there’s often some confusion that comes first when determining whether to buy new or used. Turns out, there are a lot of necessary steps to take when searching for vehicle – especially used ones. If you’re looking to buy a used car in Manitoba, we’ve outlined the steps you should take before getting behind the wheel.

    Understanding What you Need to Know About Buying a Used Car in Manitoba

    Having some background information and understanding your needs can go a long way in saving time and money once you begin your search.

    Finding the vehicle for you

    If you’re driving from Selkirk into downtown everyday by yourself, you may want to look for something with good fuel economy. Perhaps the roads you work on can get a little dicey in the winter—as we all know they do – maybe an SUV with four-wheel-drive is more suitable to your needs or a pickup truck that you can also use on the job. Know your life, your family, and your needs before getting out there and looking.

    Figuring out your budget

    Know your budget, including the minimum and maximum amount you would like to spend. This will reduce your search time immensely. Make sure you include taxes, licensing fees, registration and plates into your calculations as they can add up. Some people say to spend within 20-25% of your income on a vehicle. Luckily, regardless of the amount you want to spend, there will almost always be a used vehicle in Manitoba for you. Once the vehicle is purchased, there are some additional things to consider:

    • Some vehicles hold value differently than others – or they depreciate at a different rate.
    • Know how much your new car depreciates once it is taken off the lot.
    • Fuel Efficiency is a huge factor when considering finances. Gas prices can get high so know your limits.
    • Insurance varies depending on the vehicle you choose, your age, and your driving record.
    • Repair costs and maintenance of vehicle varies as well. A sports car from another country may be more expensive to repair than a family car made in North America.


    If you have a bit of a handle on what type of vehicle you are looking for and you know you what your budget allows, you may not have to spend too much time on the research phase. If not, there are plenty of resources for you to use to expand your knowledge on the vast world of used vehicles in Manitoba.

    Try checking out a few of these helpful links:Kelley Blue Book,Edmunds,Car and Driver,Consumer Reports.

    Start Looking

    It is finally time to dive in and start scouring the internet, dealerships, or private sales for your new car.

    Where to search?

    There are quite a few different options to start your search with:

    • Sites such as Kijiji, autoTrader and others put together lists of used cars available in Manitoba and in an area near you.
    • You can also go a little more traditional and look for printed ads in newspapers, magazines and classifieds.
    • Car dealerships also have their own websites with a list of their current inventory that you can check out. Some dealers such asBirchwood Credit Solutions with dealers all across Manitoba also have financing options in house which can make things much easier for you.

    Private sale vs. Dealership

    This is where things start to get a little tricky. Here’s what to consider when looking at a vehicle being sold on Kijiji or at a dealership.

    • The condition of private sale vehicles is your responsibility. Any repairs or detailing costs the vehicle requires falls to you, the buyer. At a dealership, the vehicle will be professionally detailed with a list of repairs they have done before you arrived.
    • Due to legality and regulations, dealers cannot afford to lie, cheat, or scam you. Private sales do not have to abide by these same rules.
    • While the private seller may be parting with the exact vehicle you have in mind, that is the only option. A dealer will have plenty of options in your price range and may open your eyes to a new possibility.
    • Finally, a dealer can offer a substantive and thorough report on the vehicle’s history, previous ownership, manufacturer warranties and CarProof report.

    The Eye Test

    Arrange a time to finally a few of your choices in person, speak to a dealer or seller, and learn about your potential new car. You have prepared for this and you’re going to make sure you’re not getting ripped off!

    Visual and Test Drive

    If everything looks good and there is no unforeseen damage to the interior, exterior, or engine – take it for a test drive. It might be good to have a friend or partner with you so you can ensure you have seen every inch of the vehicle and that you’re not missing anything. Play with every knob, button, and feature available and take your time!

    Mandatory Assessment Documents

    It is absolutely necessary for the dealer to offer you a Used Vehicle Information Package or UVIP. The UVIP contains important information about the vehicle’s registration history and any lien information. Additionally, a Safety Standards Certificate will also be offered signifying whether the vehicle is safe to drive in Manitoba. Be very clear that all this paperwork needs to be completed before purchasing the vehicle.


    You are so close! If your vehicle choice has passed all inspections and the paperwork has been provided there are just a few more steps before its all yours.

    Options for Payment

    If you’re buying from a private seller, you will likely have to pay outright. But, with a dealer there are a few different options you may be able to choose from.

    • Financing can sometimes be tricky when dealing with a bank but some dealers allow youto finance in-house which makes things much more simple.
    • Leasing is another option. Sometimes it can be difficult if you have no credit or are a new Canadian but there aredealers who specialize in these cases and are very helpful.


    The seller must fill out a bill of sale, UVIP, and vehicle permit before full legal ownership transfer to you.


    Registration and Insurance are the final steps you must take before you are the legal owner of your used car.


    You must have insurance before you can register your vehicle with the government. A few important things:

    • The insurance company you choose must be licensed by the province
    • You will always need to have your liability insurance card with you when driving.
    • Your policy must include third—party liability for $200,000 in case the driver causes injury or death

    Register ownership

    To register ownership of your vehicle with the Manitoba government you will need the following:

    • Safety and Emissions Test Certificates — you may have to have these done if the seller did not provide.
    • Driver’s License
    • Completed UVIP
    • Proof of Purchase — receipt or Bill of Sale
    • Original Vehicle Permit

    Plates and Stickers

    Get your plates and stickers signifying up-to-date registration and you’re ready to go. Remember your stickers need to be renewed every year or two so stay on top of it.

    Take the new car for a spin

    You’ve done it; you’ve found the perfect car for you. See, buying a used car in Manitoba is not that hard. Now name your new whip and hit the road!

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