Archived — In the Driver's Seat (4)

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Buying on credit

Most consumers can't pay cash for a vehicle and financing is necessary.

Shop for credit just as you would shop for the vehicle you are buying. Remember that not all places that offer financing charge the same interest rates, and check out financing options with various financial institutions. Do not take on more debt than you can comfortably afford and borrow the least amount that you need. You may want to refer to Reality Choices — You and Your Money for tips on financial planning.

Pay all debts promptly. The conse-quences of carrying debt may include damage to your credit rating, loss of the vehicle and/or other collateral, or loss of money you have already paid towards the vehicle.


New vehicles are sold with a manu-facturer's warranty. However, many used vehicles are sold "as is" with no warranty, which means that you may be responsible for the cost of any repairs.

The terms and conditions of a warranty are usually outlined in the lease agreement. Make sure that any warranty is in writing and read it carefully.

You will have responsibilities under a warranty agreement; therefore it is important that you know and understand its terms and conditions. Unless maintenance performance can be documented, warranty claims may be denied. Keep copies of all maintenance or warranty work orders.

If you are buying a used vehicle from a dealer, check to see if there is any manufacturer's warranty remaining on the vehicle. If not, see if the dealer offers any warranty. Not all warranties are the same and many are "limited." You need to find out what the warranty covers, for what period of time and what responsibilities you will have.

Some dealers offer "extended" warranties (which increase the period of time you are covered under a manufacturer's warranty) or "third-party" warranties (which are offered through warranty companies). Extended and third-party warranties are generally available at an additional cost. Again, make sure that you understand the terms and conditions of such warranties and obtain, in writing, any details of what is covered and for how long, what's not covered, and what your responsibilities are.

If you have a warranty dispute, consult your provincial or territorial office of consumer affairs.


If your vehicle requires repairs, it is important that you choose a reputable repair shop. Often the best way to find a good mechanic is by word-of-mouth. Ask friends, neighbours and co-workers for recommendations and obtain a report from your local Better Business Bureau ( on any businesses that have been recommended to you.

Request a written estimate, including parts and labour, before you give any authorization for work to be done. For larger repair jobs, it may be a good idea to do some price comparisons with other repair shops. Get written details on the warranty coverage for the work. Ask that the business keep the parts that have been replaced for you in case a dispute arises. Make sure that you keep copies of all documentation you are given.

If you have problems with repairs that have been done to your vehicle and the repair shop will not resolve your concerns, contact your provincial or territorial office of consumer affairs to discuss the options you have available to you.