Choosing A Vehicle

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Perform a Transportation Study

What type of vehicle will you need?


  • small, easy to manoeuvre, economical to operate. Seating for two adults, and limited trunk area.
  • good for short distances and light loads


  • easy to handle with good mileage
  • seating for four adults for a limited amount of time
  • small trunk space


  • seat 5 or 6 comfortably.
  • perform well in cities and on highways
  • larger trunk space


  • power and comfort for trips, loads and families
  • more fuel efficient than previous years, but still expensive to run due to larger size

Sporty Models

  • personality vehicles with performance and luxury features
  • most expensive to purchase, operate and insure
  • generally seating for two adults

Trucks, Vans, Jeeps, RVs

  • specialty vehicles that are expensive to maintain, operate, insure and repair

Vehicle Performance Records

Research the track record for the vehicles you are looking at purchasing

  • Are repairs often needed?
  • Are parts expensive?
  • How fuel efficient is it?

Safety Equipment

Safety is an important consideration

  • Is the vehicle equipped with air bags?
  • What is the advertised braking distance?
  • How did the vehicle perform in crash tests?
  • Does the vehicle have Anti-Lock Braking (ABS)?

Test drive the vehicle

  1. Perform the cock-pit drill and check controls and instrumentation
  2. How large are the blind spots?
  3. Do the seats support you comfortably?

Whichever vehicle you choose, do not rush your decision. You will own this vehicle for some time.


New or Used?

  • New vehicles cost more than used, however warranties and guarantees usually means the new model will cost less in the long run
  • Used vehicles have a lower purchase price, lower depreciation, and lower insurance cost

Buying New

Once you have the make, model and options you want already chosen, the next step is to find a dealer

Ideally the dealer is reputable, reliable, and conveniently located, so that when maintenance is required under warranty, it is easy to get the vehicle there to have the work completed.

Be sure to visit more than one dealer to compare prices and offers

If low financing is available, ask if you can have a rebate on the price if you pay cash

You can often get a better deal at the end of a month or when the model year is changing

Buying Used

Buy from a used car dealer, or privately from an individual

  • A dealer will often provide a limited warranty, but will be more expensive
  • A private sale will usually be cheaper but comes with no warranties.

Used vehicle price varies depending on the model year, wear and tear, milage and general condition

Research for the make, model and year online for an average cost.


Check the vehicle thoroughly for


  • new paint may indicate rust or a collision
  • bubbles or ripples suggest rust underneath


  • uneven wear signals steering or suspension problems
  • worn tires (check if there is a spare) or an additional expense to replace


  • start and listen for any unusual noises during operation
  • check fluid levels, hoses, belts, service stickers
  • if exhaust is bluish, this signals major engine issues
  • if exhaust is black-grey, it indicates a fuel-system issue

Control Pedals

  • excessive wear may indicate lots of stop and go driving (traffic) or very high mileage


  • verify that they are functioning well


  • should operate well without squeaking and close tightly


  • should engage smoothly without clunking or moving slowly to change gears

Test-drive the vehicle

  • It should continue in a straight line when you release the steering wheel (on level ground)
  • Brakes should feel firm and not pull the vehicle to the side (this would signal an unequal braking issue)
  • Steering should feel firm without any signs of looseness

Have the vehicle tested

  • Bring to a trusted mechanic and have them give the vehicle a diagnostic check

In the first year of ownership of a used vehicle, you can expect to spend around $1000 on repairs