Guide to buying a vehicle


Use this checklist to ensure you haven’t missed any critical steps when buying a used vehicle.
  1. Research and find used bikes, boats, RVs and more on the autoTRADER website
  2. Inspect the vehicle thoroughly or pay a mechanic to do so
  3. Test drive the vehicle under different conditions
  4. Check vehicle’s prior history
  5. Negotiate a price, keeping in mind total cost of ownership
  6. Get your insurance in place and pay using secure forms of payment
  7. Contact your provincial Ministry of Transportation for regulations and documentation requirements

Before You Buy A Recreational Vehicle

Buying a used recreational vehicle makes sense financially, because someone else has already paid for most of its drastic depreciation in value. With thousands of vehicles available on autoTRADER, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs and fits your budget.

Here are some points to consider before you start the buying process.

  • Think about your wants and needs - e.g. for an RV, what size do you need?
  • Decide your budget for the vehicle, taking into account car insurance and fuel costs to help determine your financing requirements. Talk to your dealer, local bank or review your savings to determine how you’re going to finance the vehicle.
  • Research bikes, boats, RVs, ATVs and more on the autoTRADER website
  • If you’re replacing your current vehicle, sell it fast by listing it for FREE on

How To Buy A Bike, Boat, RV and More

Finding a vehicle

Finding a vehicle is not easy. It could take days if not weeks to find something that is in your price range, has the right mileage/hours and is in good condition. Here are some tips to make finding a vehicle easier:

Communicating with the seller

Once you’ve identified a vehicle you are interested in, contact the seller.
  • Ask questions about the vehicle e.g. condition of the exterior, prior accidents, history of the vehicle.
  • Also verify details stated in the ad like mileage, year, etc.
  • Set-up a time to view the vehicle, keeping enough time to inspect and test drive the vehicle.

Inspecting and test driving the vehicle

Before you head out to inspect the vehicle, make sure it’s a good prospect so that you don’t waste your or the seller’s time. When inspecting the vehicle:

Before closing the deal

  • Use the autoTRADER Value Finder tool to research pricing for similar vehicles.
  • Review the vehicle’s history. Check for liens, previous accidents and confirm the VIN, province of registration, etc.
  • Make sure you’re educated about the additional costs of ownership e.g. insurance costs, approximate fuel expenses (considering fuel grade and fuel economy), expected maintenance costs, etc.
  • Ask to see vehicle documentation as required by your province (e.g. Used Vehicle Information Package for motorcycles in Ontario).

Closing the deal

  • Discuss price and come to an agreement with the seller. If you’re offering less than the listed price, explain why and state your price. It may be related to what you found during your inspection.