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Selling a Used Car in Ontario

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Are you getting ready to sell your vehicle? Maybe you don’t know where to start – we are here to help! Whether you’re selling a used car to upgrade to a newer one, or you’re downsizing to save money, there are several pieces that you need in order to do it legally in Ontario. This blog will give you all the insights you need for selling a used car in Ontario.

Selling to a Dealership vs. Private Sale

Should you sell your vehicle privately or to a dealership? A dealership will take care of all the paperwork, so if you’re looking for a quick sell and hassle-free process, selling to a dealership may be your best option. The downside to selling to a dealership is that they will offer you less money so that they can flip the car for a profit.

Privately selling a used car in Ontario gives you greater control over the process and can often get you better value, though it does require more work on your end. You must be thorough and ensure you do it legally. Follow the steps in the next sections to successfully sell your used car in Ontario.

Things to Do Before Selling a Used Car in Ontario

Before you get started on privately selling a used car in Ontario, you will need to make some decisions and set realistic expectations.

What is the Car Worth?
Get an estimated value from trusted resources such as the Kelley Blue Book, Canadian Black Book, or Canadian Red Book. Research comparable listings in your area with similar trim levels, mileage, and overall condition.

Where Will You Sell and for How Much?
Your timeline may impact your listing price – whether you need to sell right away or are willing to wait for the right offer. You should also determine the absolute lowest offer you will accept. Finally, choose where you are going to list it. Which websites are you planning to use?

Documents Needed for Selling a Used Car in Ontario

Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP)
When selling a used car in Ontario, the seller is legally required to provide the buyer with a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP). This package includes information such as vehicle details (year, make, model, colour, body type, cylinders, and power), vehicle registration history in Ontario, vehicle lien information, retail sales tax information, condition of the vehicle, a bill of sale section and more.

Safety Certificate
When you are selling a used car privately in Ontario, a Safety Certificate is required to transfer ownership. The safety inspection must be conducted by a repair shop registered with the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that your vehicle is safe to operate. It can cost between $70-$150 and the certificate is valid for 36 days assuming no repairs are required.

It may feel easier to simply sell “as is” to avoid the cost of the safety certificate and potential repairs. On one hand, you might be in a situation where the cost of repairs will surpass the value of the car. If this is not the case, consider the buyer’s point of view before you sell as is. Overall, having a safety certificate will make your used car more appealing to potential buyers and give them the confidence to trust that the vehicle is in good shape.

Bill of Sale
The seller must give the buyer a bill of sale at the time of purchase. It must be an original document. A handwritten bill of sale is acceptable. It must include:

  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Make, year, power source (gas, diesel, electric)
  • Body type, colour, and model
  • Purchase price (and taxes collected)
  • Name, address, and signature of the current owner/dealer
  • Name and address of the buyer
  • Sale/purchase date

The Vehicle Portion of the Owner's Permit
When you make the transfer of ownership, the vehicle portion of the owner’s permit must be filled out on the back and given to the buyer. As the seller, you will keep the plate portion of the ownership, as well as your license plates.

Emissions Test
As of April 1, 2019, light-duty passenger vehicles (most cars, vans, SUVs, and light trucks) and heavy-duty non-diesel vehicles no longer require an emissions test in Ontario. If you are selling a heavy-duty vehicle, visit the MTO website for more details.

Getting a Great Deal When Selling a Used Car in Ontario

There are some things you can do to make your ad more appealing to prospective buyers. Here are some ideas of how to get a great offer when you are selling a used car in Ontario.

  • Take good care of your vehicle.
  • Make minor repairs that could boost the value of your car.
  • Clean the vehicle inside and out. Consider getting it detailed by a professional.
  • Take great photos from multiple different angles.
  • Price with room to negotiate. Buyers will try to offer below your listed price, so list the vehicle at an ideal price and know how low of an offer you would be willing to accept.
  • Write a great ad that is engaging and includes all the necessary information.

Contact Your Insurance Broker

When you have successfully sold your used car or you are ready to purchase a new vehicle, remember to contact your car insurance broker to make changes to your policy. Selling and purchasing a car is a major financial decision, and you should weigh the cost of insurance when making that decision. Follow these new car buying tips to help you in the process!


When you have made the sale, or you’ve arranged to pick up your new ride, our trusted insurance brokers are always ready to help you make changes to your insurance policy! You can do your quote completely online with us. Get a no-obligation quote to see how you could be saving money on your car insurance.

Author: Amy Legault

By: Amy Legault