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Follow These Steps to Buying a Used Vehicle in BC
steps buying car

Follow These Steps to Buying a Used Vehicle in BC


Despite the rising costs of gas, many of us still need our cars to travel to work, run errands, and facilitate daily tasks. Some of us might even be looking to buy a new or second-hand car at this very moment. With so many things to consider, buying a used car can be overwhelming. This article has compiled a list of steps that can help you in determining what kind of car you want and how you want to go about buying it!

Steps to Buying a Used Vehicle

  1. Research to find a vehicle that matches your needs:
  • Start searching on Google or any search engine
  • Determine a vehicle that you want or are interested in
  • Find out what the vehicle is approximately worth buying
  1. Inspect the vehicle thoroughly:
  • Look around the car. Spot any scratches, dings, or other flaws?
  • Take it for a test drive. This way, you can get a feel for the car and determine whether it has any issues when driving on the road. 
  1. Purchase a vehicle history report:
  • Get a pre-purchase inspection or purchase a vehicle history report.
  • Get a VIN check to see whether the car is stolen or not.
  1. Ask lots of questions:
  • Where did you buy the vehicle and when?
  • What’s the condition of the car and the current mileage?
  • Has anything been replaced or updated? 
  • Has the car been maintained (oil changes and old tire replacements) regularly? 
  • Is there a reason you’re selling the car?
  • Can I see the VIN, the vehicle ownership, and your identification?
  • Can I take the vehicle to the mechanic for an independent inspection?
  • Can we negotiate the price of the vehicle?
  1. Buy the vehicle and transfer ownership:
  • Remember: you can always try to negotiate the price!
  • Get the signed registration, give the money to the seller, and get the keys!
  • If you’re in British Columbia, fill out the Transfer/Tax form to a broker. 
  1. Register, license and insure your “new” used vehicle:
  • You can do all three at once at any Autoplan broker in British Columbia
  • Register your vehicle so that you can get your license plates and insurance.
  • Get your license plates and add them to the front and back ends of your vehicle. 
  • Apply for vehicle insurance that includes liability coverage, accident benefits, and collision coverage – this way, you’ll be covered in the event of a collision from unexpected expenses

A Note about Auto Insurance

Insurance policies for road vehicles typically last anywhere between a day and one year. Below are some of the available options at ICBC:

  • One-year policy
    • A most popular option among customers
    • Many use the Autoplan payment plan to spread the cost over one year
      • Payment plans are either on a monthly or quarterly basis
  • Short-term Autoplan policy (3-11 months)
    • For those whose vehicles will not be used for a full year
    • Required to pay a small surcharge, but the total cost is less than a full-year policy
  • Temporary Operation Permit (1-15 days)
    • For those who are looking only for a few days of coverage

ICBC’s Easy-to-Use Insurance Estimation Tool

To get a rough estimate of how much insurance will cost, you can use the ICBC estimation tool here. You’ll need a current Autoplan policy and one of the following log-in methods to access the tool:

  1. BC Services Card app
  2. Verified.Me® by Interac®

Road Assistance & Services by BCAA

If you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of the highway or need help getting out of some mud, BCAA’s Roadside Assistance team can get to you in no time. As they say, “if you have a problem, we get you back on the road”. 

Check out some of their membership plans below to be eligible for BCAA Roadside Assistance:

  • Basic
    • $6.67/month or $80 annually
    • 24/7 Roadside Assistance 
    • Free Evo Car Share membership
    • Save up to 20% on BCAA Insurance
    • Add a family member at any time
    • And much more…
  • Plus
    • $9.58/month or $115 annually
    • All Basic Plan features
    • Motorcycle & E-Bike coverage
    • Free fuel delivery up to 10L
    • And much more…
  • Premier
    • $12.08/month or $145 annually
    • All Basic & Plus Plan features
    • Free passport photos
    • Two-day car replacement
    • And much more…

Conditions apply. Be sure to check BCAA’s full Terms & Conditions and FAQs if you have any questions.


Even if your vehicle is registered with another shop, BCAA can help you repair your car at the BCAA Auto Service Centre in your area! 

All of their facilities have:

  • Clean and safe service areas
  • Knowledgeable staff who can assist you in understanding issues 
  • Written estimates upon Member request
  • 12-month/20,000 km warranty on replacement parts and labour
  • Qualified technicians who hold a certificate of Trades Qualification or equivalent credential

Sources: ICBC Vehicle Registration, ICBC Auto Insurance, BCAA Roadside Assistance Membership Plans, BCAA Approved Auto Repair Service

The information has been gathered as accurately as possible at the time of writing, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check the official website and digital channels.
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