Car-buying terminology

Knowing these 29 car-buying terms can keep you free from selller’s bluffing.

Deposit: Amount of money given to the seller to reserve the chosen vehicle. Some sellers require a deposit to reserve the vehicle while the buyer completes their financing request.

Guarantee or surety: a guarantee is a title which guarantees that the company and its employees respect the regulations in force. The deposit also allows the client to ensure that the business is solvent.

Contract: Legal document binding two parties (the seller and the buyer). In some provinces, the vehicle officially becomes the property of the buyer upon signing the contract and the payment of a deposit. Other provinces have a cooling-off period.

Small Claims Court: court which allows parties to make claims of less than $ 30,000 ($ 7,000 in Quebec). Certain fees are payable.

Ownership costs: estimate of the total cost of using vehicles for a given period. This estimate usually includes disbursements for insurance, fuel, maintenance, etc.

Hidden faults: Problem or defect that cannot be identified during a serious inspection.

Reflection period: period allocated to the consumer to terminate a purchase or a contract without penalty. The cooling-off period does not have the force of law in all provinces and the period may vary from province to province.

Hidden costs: additional costs, such as administration, registration or other costs, not included in the advertised sale price.

Administration costs: amount invoiced to cover the administrative costs associated with the sale of a vehicle, including registration, license, vehicle preparation costs, etc. These costs can be negotiated by the client since they are not mandatory. Some merchants consider this billing to be excessive, although others may include it in the sale price.

Guarantee: the guarantee is offered by the manufacturer or by a company specializing in the sale of guarantees to cover certain parts or certain systems of the vehicle. The warranty coverage provides for the replacement of these parts or systems at no cost (or at reduced cost) for a given period of time. Vehicle warranties generally come in three categories: powertrain, exhaust system and "bumper to bumper".

Extended warranty: additional warranty intended to enhance and extend the manufacturer's warranty. The cost of this warranty is added to the price of the vehicle. It is offered either by a certified dealer or by a third party.

Inspection: mechanical and physical verification of the vehicle by the potential buyer before he signs the purchase contract. The dealer also performs an inspection before the dealer affixes his used vehicle warranty. The inspection is then carried out by a mechanic who ensures that the vehicle meets the criteria of quality, appearance, condition, etc. from the dealer.

Vehicle history log: report available for a fee which indicates for a given VIN the list of accidents in which the vehicle has been involved, the number of previous owners, whether the vehicle has been reconditioned or recovered or if the vehicle had a commercial vocation.

Tactical decoy: a process by which the buyer offers the seller a price much lower than the asking price to check how far the seller is ready to negotiate. The merchant can also use this tactic when proposing a trade-in value for the customer's vehicle.

Merchant: company that works in the field of selling new or used vehicles.

Ministry of Transport: government agency responsible for issuing documents, permits, license plates, administrative fees, etc. Ministry responsible for vehicles and drivers.

Pledge: the pledge is a contract by which the debtor gives a creditor the actual possession of property to guarantee its debt until full repayment thereof. The debtor can seize the vehicle in the event of non-payment – even if the vehicle has been sold to a third party.

Vehicle identification number (VIN): alphanumeric code specific to the vehicle and stamped in various places on the vehicle. This code identifies the type of engine, the place of manufacture, the make of the vehicle, etc. The VIN is used by insurance companies and police forces to identify the vehicle.

Civil obligation: action which must be carried out under penalty of a fine in the event of failure to perform. More simply, contractual obligation of the parties.

Total loss / write-off: designation of a damaged vehicle whose repairs necessary to put it back on the road exceed its market value.

Power of attorney: document giving a third party the power to act on behalf of another person, either for specific or civil purposes.

Lure advertising: said advertising intended to attract customers to the store to test a given vehicle model on the road. Once there, the representative then presents the customer with a more expensive product. Lure advertising is illegal and the merchant is required to keep the model shown in the advertising in stock.

Vehicle recall: Operation by which a manufacturer tries to remedy a problem discovered after the production and marketing of the vehicle. Vehicles are generally recalled for safety-related issues and repairs are made at the manufacturer's expense.

Recourse: procedure allowing a consumer to assert his rights. In the case of certain harmful acts, recourse to the courts may prove to be the last solution.

Refurbished / Recovered: Typically means a heavily damaged vehicle reconditioned for resale.

Street vendors: Street vendors are used vehicle dealers who claim to be acting privately. They generally sell vehicles in questionable condition and fail to specify the history of the vehicle (accident, lien, etc.). Vehicles are sold on websites such as Kijiji and the dealer will often pretend to be acting on behalf of a friend. To unmask dealers on the fly, check if the vehicle is registered in the name of the dealer.

Market value: value attributed to a good or service according to actual market conditions. The market value of a used vehicle may vary depending on the condition of the vehicle, its mileage, demand, etc.

Recovered vehicle: damaged vehicle and repaired for resale.

Individual seller: person who does not trade in new or used vehicles. Individuals often use websites such as KIjiji or Treader.ca. You have to be wary of some street hawkers who pretend to be individuals.

Certified used car: car inspected by the dealer and meets the criteria of quality, appearance, conditions established. They are usually offered with additional coverage that extends the manufacturer’s original warranty.

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