How to Buy Your First Car in Canada

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If you are a newcomer to Canada and you’re thinking about getting a car but don’t even know where to start, then this post is especially for you.


Like many things here in Canada, the process of buying a car is different from our own countries. Here is a basic guide to help you learn more about what you need in order to buy your first car, be it a new vehicle or a second-hand one.


Being in the Country Legally

This is a BA-SIC part of acquiring a vehicle in Canada. Unlike our neighbor to the south, the United States, where you can buy a car with just a photo ID, the process is completely different here, as you will have to present proof of residency. However, people with temporary work permits or international students can also buy a car, even if they have no credit history in the country.

International students need a co-signer if they are going to pay for the vehicle using credit.

Tip: If you have just arrived in the country, but you are not yet thinking about getting a car, we would recommend you still apply for your driving license (even if you aren’t going to be using it), as, for each year you have held your license, government insurance companies offer a discount.


Fill Out an Application with an Authorized Distributor

When visiting an authorized dealer, you will have to present proof of your legal status in the country, as well as proof of address, your employment or academic situation and proof of income. If you are considering taking out a credit to buy your car, filling out this application is a necessary step in finding out what your credit limit is. Response times vary, but you will normally get an answer within 4 or 5 working days.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a credit history in Canada, or even if you have a poor credit history; you can still take out a credit to buy your car through an authorized dealership as some of them offer in-house financing, which means that the process does not involve any financial institution. The most important thing is to be able to prove your income.


TIP: Getting a cellphone contract in Canada is one of the best ways to start developing your credit history if you have just arrived in the country as it will help you in the future if you need to take out a credit for a car or even a house.


Choose the Car that Best Suits Your Needs

No matter whether you are buying a car for your daily commute or for the school run, for the comfort of your family, or to make some extra money (like UBER, for example), it is important to tell the sales executive about your needs and special requirements in order for them to help you choose the car that is right for you, covering areas such as gas consumption, vehicle size, horsepower, etc.

NB: If this is your first car, and your credit limit doesn’t cover the full amount, don’t worry! A good tip is to buy a model that is within your budget, and, after a year or so, go back to the dealership and ask for an increase in your credit line (that is if you have paid on time over the past 12 months).


Tip: Our friends at Mainland Ford Surrey can guide you through the whole process in Spanish! Contact our friend, Oscar Vicencio (604 588 9921), for any doubts you may have.


Take Advantage of Discounts and Promotions

There are certain times of year when car dealerships have excellent discounts and promotions as the next year’s models are about to be released. If you are thinking about buying a car, July is one of the best months as Mainland Ford Surrey, for example, is offering all its vehicles at employee prices.

Always ask for what your dealership’s current promotions and discounts are. If you don’t manage to get the “Employee Price” discount at our friends at Mainland Ford, they usually have some great promotions on certain models, including free TV’s, bicycles or tents.

ford mainland

If you would like further information about your credit limit, you should contact Oscar Vicencio for a free telephone consultation (604 588 9921), or you can visit




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