What should I think about when buying a car?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How will I use this car? Will I be driving in the city or on the highway, or both?
  • Do I need a family car? What might I need in the future?
  • Which safety factors are important to me?
  • Do I want a new or used car?
  • What car insurance can I afford?
  • Should I buy or lease?
  • Do I feel comfortable negotiating with a car salesperson?


It can be expensive to own and drive a car. You must pay for the operating costs (such as, gas and maintenance) and ownership costs (such as, insurance and a car loan). If you need your car for work, these costs may be higher but your employer may pay for some of them.

Choosing a Car

You should read car reviews, comparisons and consumer surveys. Look for information about price, safety, reliability, and customer reviews.

Licensing and Registration

You must register and insure your vehicle - it is the law.

You must also have valid car insurance and a valid driver’s licence.

Car Contracts

In Ontario, there is no cooling off period when you buy a car (normally you have 10 days to cancel a contract).

However, under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, if certain information is missing from a contract, you may be able to cancel it. Find out more about cancelling a car contract.

For More Information

  • Car Repair Shops: Your Rights - Tips on how to find a good repair shop and information about your rights as a consumer. From the Ministry of Consumer Services.
  • Compare Cars - Use this helpful tool to compare prices and features of up to 3 cars.
  • Consumer Beware List - This is a list of businesses, including car repair shops, that consumers have complained about to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. It provides details on the nature of the complaint and if any charges were laid.
  • Buying, Selling or Transferring Used Vehicles - Your rights and responsibilities under the law. From the Ministry of Transportation.
  • Buy With Confidence - This website lists car dealers that are registered with the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC). All professional dealers in Ontario are required by law to register with OMVIC.
Last updated: February 26, 2024 4000247