Important Tips on Buying a Vehicle

  • Stick to a budget.

    Figure out what your price range is,before you start looking, and stick to it.
  • Do some research on the vehicle you want.

    Go online to compare prices, features, service, warranties and look for consumer ratings on the model/year you’re looking for.
  • Check out registered car/truck dealers.

    Dealers must be licensed in Manitoba and are held to a higher standard than private sellers. Dealers have to follow consumer protection laws (see reverse page). For example: They have to tell you the facts about the history and condition of the vehicle before you buy it. If there is a problem after you buy, reputable, licensed dealers are more likely to work with you than private sellers.
  • Get it in writing.

    Anything a salesperson promises about the sale, should be put in writing, to avoid problems later on.
  • Be clear about deposits.

    If you are asked for a deposit on a vehicle, find out if you will be able to get this money back, and under what circumstances. A dealer does not have to return a deposit. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions on the deposit and get them in writing. If you aren’t comfortable with the arrangement, look for another dealership.
  • Get the vehicle inspected before you buy.

    Take the used vehicle to a trusted, independent mechanic before you buy. It’s worth the inspection costs to avoid trouble later on.
  • Read the fine print.

    Before you sign any documents, read all the fine print and make sure you understand all details.
  • Don’t be pressured into buying or agreeing to anything.

    Make sure you understand the purchase and are comfortable with what you are agreeing to. Remember, you can get up and leave the dealership at any time.
  • Protect yourself when buying privately.

    If you do buy a vehicle from a private seller, take steps to protect yourself:
    • Ask to see the seller’s driver’s licence and proof of ownership.

    • Check the vehicle’s registration to confirm it is registered in the name of the seller.

      The Vehicle Information Number (VIN) on the registration should match the VIN on the vehicle. The VIN number is usually found at the bottom of driver’s side of the windshield by the wipers.
    • Get a commercially available vehicle history report.

      On the internet, Google “vehicle history report Canada”.  It is important to know that people selling their own cars don’t have to give you the facts on the vehicle’s history.  There are costs for these reports - check and compare them.
    • Check for liens on the vehicle.

      Call the Personal Property Registry at 1-844-737-5684 or email There are costs for the liens check.
    • It is most important to get an inspection from a trusted mechanic, before you buy.

Manitoba laws on information disclosure

As of January 2012, licensed vehicle dealers must follow provincial laws about disclosing information when selling a vehicle. They must tell you the facts about the vehicle’s history and condition, so you can make an informed decision. The following information must be clearly written in your sales contract, and the dealer must tell you about it before you sign it.

Licensed dealers have to give you the vehicle information number (VIN). You should use this to get a vehicle history report, which you can do on the Internet – Google “vehicle history report Canada”.

Licensed dealers must tell you if the vehicle:

  • is new or used
  • manufacturer’s warranty has been cancelled
  • was declared a lemon in another jurisdiction
  • has been bought back by the manufacturer through the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP)*
  • was damaged by flood or fire
  • has been used as an emergency vehicle (ex: police, fire, ambulance)
  • has been used as a taxi or limo
  • has been rented on a daily or other short-term basis
  • was written off and branded as salvageable
  • has been made to look as if it is a better model than it actually is (or “rebadged” )
  • is significantly different from the original or advertised model of the vehicle
  • has been damaged and the cost of repairs from one incident was more than $3,000 (If the actual total cost of repair is known, the dealer must tell you.)
  • is new to Manitoba, and if so, where it was previously registered.

* Note: CAMVAP is a program that helps resolve disputes with a manufacturer about defects in assembly or materials, or how the manufacturer is applying or administering its new vehicle warranty.

Disputes are resolved through binding arbitration.

If you have concerns about the purchase of a vehicle from a business, you can call the Consumer Protection Office at 204-945-3800 or toll free 1-800-782-0067.