Your Guide to Choosing a Used Vehicle

Once you’ve obtained your driver’s licence, it’s time to look into getting a car. Given the high cost of new vehicles, many people decide to buy their first car second-hand. Though opting for a used car is a smart move, like any major purchase, it’s a decision that requires a lot of consideration. However, if you keep these tips in mind, you’re sure to pick the right one.

What kind of car do you need?

The first consideration when choosing a used car is to pinpoint what kind of vehicle is right for you. To do so, determine your budget, how often you’ll be using the car, what makes and models you prefer, what size you need, your ideal safety rating and the fuel economy that suits you best. This will help narrow down the many options available to you.

Book a pre-purchase inspection

Before purchasing a used car, take your potential new ride to a mechanic for a once-over. During the inspection, any problems with the vehicle, be they mechanical, cosmetic, or safety-related, will be uncovered. Afterward, you can make an informed decision about whether or not you still want to buy the car. If you decide to, the information from the inspection can be used to negotiate a better price.

Take a test-drive

Looking at a car can only tell you so much. You won’t know how it handles until you’ve driven it. Take thirty minutes to drive the car around a familiar area to make sure that it can perform all basic manoeuvres to your satisfaction. These include braking, accelerating, changing lanes and parking. Doing so will help you determine if it’s a vehicle you’re comfortable driving.

Negotiating prices

Sometimes, the listed price for a used vehicle doesn’t seem fair. Don’t be afraid to try and negotiate. For reference, there are online tools which allow you to view the average price of similar vehicles in your area. Factor in what you learned during the pre-purchase inspection, then make an offer you feel is more suited to your budget. Be sure to be confident and be willing to pass on the car if the negotiation doesn’t go your way. There will always be other cars, so you don’t have to settle.

Scheduling driving lessons

With both a car division and a truck division, North Shore Driving School Ltd. has provided excellent driving instruction since 1961. Whether you’re in need of a refresher course or are making plans to get your Class 1 driver’s licence for operating semi-trailers, we offer convenient pay-as-you-go courses that can easily be tailored to fit your busy schedule. Contact our driving school in Surrey, B.C. today to make an appointment.

Buying a Used Car in BC

North Shore Driving School understands how important cars are to our lives and culture. Whether it’s for your first car, to add a second one for the family, or due to budget restrictions, a used car can be an accessible and affordable option. However, finding a problem-free used car requires good research and investigative skills—as knowing how to spot potential problems and determining how reliable a used vehicle is can save you from expensive automotive repairs and ensure you are safe on the road.

Do Your Homework to Ensure a Safe Vehicle

To reduce the risk of purchasing a trouble-prone vehicle, identify models with a good reliability record before you begin shopping. Speak with friends and review consumer reports online. Car condition however, is much more important than the brand. Use an independent source to determine the wholesale and retail values of your target vehicle. Vehicle History Reports (Carfax) are inexpensive and can contain very valuable information. Certified cars cost a little more but have some assurances and usually a warranty. Ask your insurance company on claims made, if any, to find out the accident history of previous ownership. If the car will be driven by a new or elderly driver rather than an experienced driver, it is particularly important to ensure the car is in good working condition. Car trouble can be dangerous for drivers with little driving experience.

Checking Under the Hood & Inside the Car

No matter whom you buy from—a dealer, neighbour or stranger—always look over the vehicle thoroughly and, if possible, seek out the professional opinion of a qualified mechanic and get a complete inspection, especially if this the first time you are buying a car or if you have little or no experience with cars. For older models, make sure it passes an environmental test—this can easily be combined with a vehicle inspection. Get a copy of the vehicle’s maintenance records.

Dress in old clothes and give the car a good going-over. You can learn a great deal just by using your eyes, ears and nose. Take along a friend for help. Do your inspection in broad daylight on a dry day as floodlighted lots can make cars look shiny and hide body defects. The car should be parked on a level surface and shouldn’t have been driven for at least an hour before your inspection.

Test Driving the Car

This is perhaps one of the best ways to know the condition of the car. You should not feel any vibration from the brake pedal, or hear any squealing or strange noises. Slight trepidation during a small speed interval may mean wear to mechanical parts. Keep the radio off and listen for odd noises, smells and vibrations that can indicate the need for repair.

Drive Safe with Driving Lessons at North Shore Driving School

North Shore Driving School in BC knows a good vehicle is part of being a safe driver. Contact us for more information regarding our Graduated Licensing Program serving Vancouver area residents or our top-rated truck driving courses serving Surrey and surrounding areas today.0

How to Buy a Car for Your Stage of Life

Each stage of life carries different challenges along with it. From the teenage years to retirement, no two stages offer exactly the same difficulties. This life rule applies to our challenges, but it carries with it exciting things as well. As a driver, your needs change, and that means your cars will have to evolve as well. The car you drive as a teenager will vary from the car you drive as an adult.

Consider the following before you purchase a car during each stage of life.

The Teen Years

When you turn 16, you might have your ideal car’s perfect design burning brightly in your mind. But before you rush off to the dealership to get your decked out ride, take some time to consider your lifestyle. This will help you make an informed decision when you purchase your first car.

Remember, you’re 16; what will you need a car for? At your age, your life revolves around school, work, and friends. Do you participate in extracurricular activities? Does your job need you to drive from place to place?

You need a car to get you from point A to point B and beyond. When looking to purchase your first car, consider a car that meets these qualifications:

  • Has an excellent safety record
  • Maintains its reliability in all seasons
  • Fits your lifestyle and needs
  • Is something you want to drive

Evaluate your options before purchasing a new car. You may find a slightly used car will fit your needs more effectively than the newest model car.

College and Early Adulthood

Your driving priorities will change in college. Students spend most of their time in class, with friends, or working. The design of many college campuses and towns limits the need for driving, so you may spend more time walking from place to place than you will behind the wheel.

A car may seem impractical as a college student. Consider investing in a motorcycle. Motorcycles generally cost less to maintain, often have better parking spots available, and give riders a sense of freedom.

While there are limits to a motorcycle’s usefulness, especially during winter weather, their benefits may outweigh the seasonal downside. Evaluate all your options carefully.

If you decide to buy a car, find a reliable one. For this, you will want to:

  • Talk to a mechanic
  • Read online reviews
  • Review online message boards
  • Talk to owners of similar models

Post-College and Early Career

After graduation comes your first real job. This makes people want to upgrade to the newest, up-to-date model. If financially viable, treat yourself to a new driving experience, but consider your chosen profession carefully before you buy.

If you are an office worker who will commute to and from work each day, you may want to consider a car with high fuel efficiency. Early in your career, you may spend many hours traveling to and from work in order to prove yourself. Increased travel on entry-level pay may strain your budget.

Many cars today boast high fuel efficiencies when tested in sterile environments, but the real world is anything but sterile. Research and test drive a variety of cars before making your final purchase.

Family Life

Like all stages of life that came before it, married life changes your automotive needs. Most married couples continue to drive their current vehicles until they have children. What was totally acceptable for them to drive before might seem unsafe with a little bundle of joy.

When you purchase a car during this stage of life, consider two things: safety and entertainment.

Many cars, trucks, and SUVs today come with improved safety standards and optional safety technology. Options like rear-mounted cameras and adaptive cruise control increase the safety found in modern vehicles. Other features may include additional airbags and a reinforced frame.

While safety is incredibly important, it is not the only thing to consider. When buying a car for your family, make sure to think down the road. For the first year or two, your children may sit contentedly in the back seat drooling and playing with their feet. But soon they will want other entertainment.

Many vehicles today have entertainment options beyond the traditional AM/FM radio. Satellite radio and internet communications are becoming the standard in today’s newer vehicles. A DVD entertainment system can even turn your car into a mobile movie theatre for the little ones.


When your working days have come to an end, spend your twilight years enjoying the money you’ve worked so hard to save. Use this time to buy the car you wanted when you were a teenager, or upgrade to a luxury model that will help you retire in style. Now that you are wiser, you can actually appreciate it.

No matter what stage of life you’re in, make sure your driving skills are equal to the task. Otherwise, the car you buy won’t matter. Take a refresher driving course in North Vancouver to increase your ability to react to dangers on the roadways. If you are looking for a driving school in West Vancouver or North Vancouver, North Shore Driving School is here!0