Government of Saskatchewan
Monday, April 23, 2018
Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority

Used car for sale

Buying a used vehicle? Do your homework!

A used vehicle is generally less expensive than buying brand-new, but do you know what to look for before you buy? Don’t take the seller’s word for the quality and condition of the vehicle. Do a little homework, take the vehicle for a test drive, get it inspected by a trusted mechanic and check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) online.

Get it inspected

When you take the vehicle for a test drive, arrange to have a qualified professional inspect it. They have access to special tools and computers, can put the vehicle up on a hoist and may spot issues that are common with that make and model.

If the mechanic spots any issues with the vehicle you can bring it up before you finalize the sale to negotiate for repairs or a lower price. If the problems with the vehicle are serious enough, always feel free to pass on the purchase.

If you are buying a used car from a dealership, they may not allow you to take the vehicle for enough time to get it fully inspected by a mechanic. In this instance, ask for a copy of the in-house inspection report which will have important information about the vehicle.

Check the VIN

The VIN can give you information about the history of a vehicle. SGI’s online search tool for vehicles that have previously been registered in Saskatchewan is simple to use and free.

SGI’s online search tool.

You can also access these other VIN search tools:

Cross-Canada VIN Search
RCMP  VIN Search
Carfax or carproof

Check for Liens

Make sure the vehicle you’re buying doesn’t come with someone else’s debts attached to it. Sometimes, the previous owner may have a lien (money owing) against the title of the. If you buy a used vehicle, you want to make sure you aren’t purchasing the previous owner’s legal obligations too. If the debt is unpaid, a creditor or secured party may try to seize the vehicle.

For a fee, you can check the Information Services Corporation’s (ISC) Saskatchewan Personal Property Registry for outstanding interests (liens) against vehicles. This can help protect you from buying someone else’s debt. 

ISC Lien Search -

Used vehicles are a buyers’ market

Remember that you always have the option to walk away. There is no shortage of used vehicles in Saskatchewan. Don’t let yourself be pressured or rushed into a sale. If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Road Salt

Salt is hard on vehicles and can affect their durability and resale value. Ask if the vehicle has been driven a lot in a region that uses road salt and keep that in mind before you buy.

Call Consumer Protection Division

If you have purchased a used vehicle from a licensed dealer and are having problems, we may be able to help you. Contact us toll free at 1-877-880-5550 or by email at

Home/Financial Literacy/Buying a Used Vehicle
© 2018 Government of Saskatchewan. All rights reserved.