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Buying a Used Car: The Sale - Common questions

Common questions

Does a car dealer have to tell me if a vehicle was used as a rental car?

Yes. Licensed car dealers must advise you in writing if a vehicle was ever used as a rental car. If they don’t and it turns out the vehicle was used as a rental, any agreement you signed is not binding on you. 

Is it possible for a used car to come with a warranty?

Some newer used vehicles can have the original manufacturer’s warranty or an extended warranty still in effect. Be sure to confirm what will be covered and for how long or how many kilometers. Make sure it continues beyond the first owner.

If the manufacturer's warranty is no longer in effect, a dealer may offer their own warranty. An ideal dealer warranty would be 30, 60 or 90 days, covering everything, including parts and labour. A common dealer warranty is “30 days, 50/50 parts and labour”. The idea behind the 50/50 warranty is that the dealer pays 50% of the cost for a covered repair and the buyer pays the remaining 50%.

All warranties should be:

  • in writing and part of the contract
  • signed by the dealer, not just the salesperson
  • specific, with details of what is covered and for how long or how many kilometers
  • clear about where and how any repairs are to be authorized and done (for example, that any repairs be done at a garage of your choice)  

Even if you are buying a vehicle with no manufacturer’s or dealer’s warranty, there is a legal warranty under a law called the Sale of Goods Act. A vehicle must be safe and suitable for transportation, and must last for a reasonable period of time given the normal use of the vehicle and the circumstances of the sale (such as price, etc.). 

This legal warranty can be waived for a used vehicle. Be cautious if you are asked to waive it. You’ll want to be sure you’ve done everything you can to protect yourself.

I ordered a used car to be delivered from another location; do I have a right to inspect it before accepting it?

Yes. A contract to buy something is not actually done until the buyer has had a reasonable opportunity to inspect the goods to ensure they conform to the contract. You have a right to inspect the car and the seller must provide a reasonable time to inspect.

If you do any of the following things, it means that you have accepted the vehicle:

  • you inform the seller you accept the vehicle
  • you register and insure the vehicle in your name
  • you keep the vehicle without saying anything to the seller   

Can I use the licence plates from my old car for the used car I just bought?

If you don’t switch the registration right away of the vehicle you just purchased, you can drive the new vehicle with the licence plates from your old vehicle for up to 10 days from the date of purchase, as long as:

  • the new vehicle is registered in BC,
  • you have sold or disposed of your old vehicle,
  • both vehicles fall into the same category (for example, both are passenger vehicles),
  • the old licence plates are valid BC plates, and  
  • you carry in the new vehicle: 
    • the signed Transfer/Tax Form for the new vehicle, 
    • the original vehicle registration, 
    • the insurance papers for your old vehicle (the insurance must still be valid), and 
    • proof that you sold your old vehicle (such as a copy of the Transfer/Tax form for that sale).