The Complete Guide on How to Sell a Car in Ontario the Right Way

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Are you considering selling your car in Ontario but need help figuring out how to get started? In a capital province such as Ontario, car selling can be overwhelming. But don’t worry. With the right knowledge and strategies, you can confidently navigate the market. We’re here to guide you through the essential steps you need to take to sell your car legally.

No matter the reason for selling your car, it’s crucial to follow the laws and regulations in Ontario. These rules are in place to protect both you and potential buyers from any legal issues that may arise.


Car Trade-In vs. Private Sale: Which Path Should You Take?

Making a decision regarding the manner of sale is the first step in the process of selling a car in Ontario. You can sell it at a dealership through a trade-in option or sell it privately. But it would be best to consider that the money you receive by trade-in method may be less than selling it privately. When a dealer buys your car, their offer considers the expenses they’ll incur to recondition the car for resale and make a profit. They might deduct the repair cost for any scratches, dents, or upholstery stains from your trade-in value. On the bright side, you won’t have to worry about handling these repairs yourself, as the dealership will take care of them for you.

On the other hand, you may receive a better selling price if you decide to sell your car privately. However, when you sell your car privately, it becomes your responsibility to market it, comply with provincial requirements, and negotiate with potential buyers. Although it may take longer and require more effort, some sellers find the increased profits worth it. Ultimately, deciding whether to sell privately or trade-in is a choice every used car seller must make.


The Art of Pricing Your Car to Sell

Before beginning the selling process, it is essential to determine the right price for your used car in Ontario. Setting a price that strikes the proper balance is crucial, even though it might seem obvious. Setting a reasonable price may turn off potential buyers, while pricing it too low implies you will not optimize what you can make.

Discovering the actual value of your vehicle in the market is made easy with some resources. You can find out the average asking price in your local area by providing basic details such as the year, make, model, and trim level. This information will help you set a competitive and attractive price that catches the attention of potential buyers, and then get ready to uncover the actual worth of your car!

When determining your asking price for selling your car, be prepared for potential negotiation from buyers who may offer a lower amount. Knowing your lowest acceptable offer is essential to engage in confident negotiations. Additionally, ensure that you have fully settled your car loan before proceeding with the sale by contacting your lender to determine the outstanding balance and achieve full ownership of the vehicle.


Boost Your Chances of Car Selling in Ontario with the Right Listing

Once you have established a reasonable price for your car, it’s time to find a way to advertise your vehicle. Here are several options available for listing a used car in Ontario:

Street Advertising

Parking your automobile near a busy road with a “for sale” sign posted in the window may capture potential buyers’ attention; however, this method has substantial drawbacks. Safety poses a risk, as it can divert the attention of drivers and potentially result in accidents. Moreover, drivers passing by may need to notice the sign or have sufficient opportunity to gather the necessary details. By relying on this method, your reach is limited solely to those who happen to drive by, excluding a substantial pool of potential buyers. Additionally, it is crucial to consider the legality of parking a vehicle for sale on the roadside, as it may contravene local regulations.

Free Online Listings

Free online listing services like Craigslist, Kijiji, and Facebook Marketplace offer convenient options for selling used cars in Ontario without upfront costs or commissions. These platforms have robust search features, allowing potential buyers to find your vehicle quickly. However, there are drawbacks to consider, including scams, non-serious buyers, low-ball offers, and intense competition. Despite these challenges, these services provide opportunities to showcase your vehicle with detailed descriptions and photos.

Paid Online Listings

It’s worth noting that Paid online listings, as another option for advertising, provide an enhanced version of the free listing model. These platforms offer better organization and additional features, such as motor vehicle history reports, making them more attractive to serious buyers. They also connect potential buyers with financing options to facilitate the purchase of your used vehicle. Yet, the primary disadvantage is the requirement to pay a fee regardless of whether your car sells or not. Moreover, you will encounter substantial competition from private sellers and dealerships, potentially pushing your car down in the search results.


Must-Have Documents for Selling a Used Car in Ontario

No matter which method or platform you choose to sell your used car in Ontario, it’s crucial to prepare certain documents for the new owner. Gathering these documents as soon as you list your vehicle will save you the hassle of scrambling to find them when a potential buyer is interested in making a purchase. You can ensure a smooth and seamless transaction by being proactive and organized. These essential documents will provide the necessary information and legal proof for the transfer of ownership, giving both you and the buyer peace of mind. So, let’s look at the key documents you should have ready to go once you put your car up for sale.

Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP)

The UVIP (Used Vehicle Information Package) is a critical document for private party vehicle sales in Ontario. It provides comprehensive information about the vehicle, including its history, liens, retail sales tax, and a bill of sale section. Ordering the UVIP online for $20 is quick and easy, requiring the VIN or license plate number. Within five business days, you’ll receive the UVIP in the mail, ensuring a smooth and legally compliant car sale process.

Ownership Permit

To ensure a smooth transfer process, knowing where your vehicle’s ownership permit is in advance is essential. This permit contains a transfer application section that must be completed and signed when selling your vehicle. Provide this section to the buyer, who needs it to register the vehicle within six days of the sale. Until the buyer completes the registration, the vehicle remains registered under your name. Remember to remove your license plates when selling the vehicle, as they cannot be transferred to the buyer. If you plan to transfer the plates to another vehicle, hold onto the plate section of your ownership permit for future use. Being prepared with these steps will help facilitate a successful transaction.

Safety Standards Certificate

The Safety Standards Certificate is the final paperwork required when selling a used car in Ontario. To obtain the certificate, you must take your car to an MTO-licensed inspection station for a safety inspection. It’s important to note that the certificate is valid for 36 days, so if your car remains unsold for an extended period, you may need multiple inspections. Some sellers prefer waiting until they have a buyer before obtaining the Safety Standards Certificate to save costs, but this approach could cause delays.

Bill of sale

You need a bill of sale document to sell a used vehicle in Ontario. It can be handwritten or used in the provided template in the UVIP. The bill of sale must include the VIN, vehicle information, price paid, seller’s details, buyer’s details, and the sale date.


CARFAX reports provide additional details beyond the UVIP, such as the vehicle’s accident history, past theft reports, and information on safety recalls. Although a CARFAX report is not mandatory when selling a used car or truck in Ontario, certain buyers may ask for one or inquire about its availability.



In conclusion, selling your car in Ontario doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You are now armed with the knowledge and strategies from this complete guide on how to sell a car in Ontario the right way. Embrace the process, trust yourself, and adhere to the laws and regulations. Thorough preparation, accurate pricing, effective marketing, and proper documentation are your allies in attracting buyers and maximizing the value of your car. Happy selling!

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