Selling a Used Car in Ontario: How It’s Done

Selling a used car in Ontario isn’t as simple as in the olden days when you would simply set a price, snap a flattering pic, create a listing, and wait for the phone to ring. 

Instead, now you have several legal hurdles and piles of documents to sort through on your table, which requires meticulous planning and an almost certain headache. 

But we’re determined to help you easily sell used cars in your province by giving you the necessary steps and outlining what the process will look like and what you should consider. 

Ready to save time and money? Let’s dig in!

How to Sell a Used Car in Ontario?

The best way to sell a used car in Ontario will depend on individual circumstances, so just because your buddy decided to transfer ownership through a dealership doesn’t mean you should too.

Regardless of which option you choose, ensure you have all the necessary documents in order before beginning the process. Usually, the first decision you’ll have to make is whether you want to sell your car to a dealer or privately, which we’ll talk about more now. 

At a Dealership

Selling a car to a dealer is one way to get the job done and some might even say it’s the easiest way. With this route, the dealership will take care of all the paperwork, repair it, and will give you a quick and hassle-free process. 

However, keep in mind that the dealer will most likely offer you less money for the sale because they will flip the car for a profit after.  


On the other hand, to sell a car privately in Ontario, you’ll be obligated to do the legwork. But you’ll achieve greater control over the sale and will likely get a better value. This choice enables you to make all the financial decisions and strike a deal that benefits you. 

But since you’re on your own, you’ll need to assemble your documents and ensure everything is legal. After all, you’d be liable for any misdeeds, intentional or not. 

used cars for sale

Documents Required for Selling a Used Car in Ontario

Unfortunately, selling a car in Ontario requires reams of papers. So, before you list your sale, gather all the documents to avoid getting stuck. 

Here’s everything you’ll need to complete a car sale legally: 

Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP)

Arguably the most important document for your car before you sell it, the UVIP includes essential information on your vehicle, such as:

  • The year, make, model, colour, power, number of cylinders, and body type of the vehicle
  • The car’s registration history 
  • Lien information
  • The average wholesale value of the car 
  • The minimum retail sales tax applied (HST)
  • The condition of the vehicle 

As you can see, the Ontario UVIP has everything a buyer could possibly need to know and you can order it online for $18 for certified and $12 for uncertified. Usually, it takes about 5 business days to get it in the mail. To fill it out, you’ll need to include:

  • The vehicle identification number (VIN) or licence plate number 
  • Your Ontario driver’s licence, name and address, or registrant identification number

Remember that the UVIP is a mandatory document in Ontario and not having it would be an offense under the Highway Traffic Act, which could cost you from $100 to $500. 

Ownership Permit

Selling a vehicle in Ontario won’t be possible without an ownership permit. This green piece of paper proves your car is registered with ServiceOntario and acknowledges you as the current owner. 

Make sure the information provided on the permit is up-to-date, and don’t forget to sign the plate portion. If you determine that corrections are in order, you should visit a ServiceOntario location and make the changes free of cost. 

Safety Standards Certificate

If you’re selling your vehicle to anyone other than your spouse, you’ll need to get the Safety Standards Certificate to prove your car meets the minimum safety standard in Ontario. You’ll get this document if your vehicle has passed inspection at any Ministry of Transportation-licensed station in Ontario. 

However, the certificate is valid for only 36 days. So, if your vehicle’s been sitting listed for a while, you’ll probably have to pay for several inspections until you sell it, usually about $80-$125 per session. Yet, some sellers opt to wait until they find a buyer to get the certificate, which saves them money. 

But keep in mind that waiting to get the document can result in significant delays. And if your buyer is in a hurry, it might deter them from purchasing your vehicle in the first place.  

Bill of Sale

In Ontario, a used car bill of sale includes important information about the vehicle, the price, the owner, and the buyer. Usually, this document is handwritten, but you can also use the template that comes with your UVIP. 

Regardless of the format, the bill of sale should include the following details:

  • VIN
  • Make, model, colour, body type, year, power of the vehicle
  • The price the buyer paid for the vehicle including taxes and HST/GST number (if applicable)
  • Name, address, and signature of the seller
  • Name and address of the buyer 
  • Date of sale

Essentially, this bill solidifies that both you and the buyer have the relevant information about the vehicle.

Application for Transfer

The application of transfer is a section on the back of your ownership permit which denotes an ownership transfer. Generally, you’ll need to complete and sign this section after you’ve struck a deal with a buyer and then give it to them. Upon receiving the application, the buyer must register the vehicle within 6 days of the sale. 

Until then, the car will be registered with you, the seller. After everything is set and done, remove your licence plates, since they cannot be transferred to the buyer because they are tied to a driver and not a car. 


If you want to sell used cars or trucks in Ontario, you won’t usually need a CARFAX report. However, some buyers might ask you to provide one, so you should be ready to fulfill such requests. 

All in all, a CARFAX report includes a lot of the information you’ve already included in your UVIP, but supplemented with the vehicle’s accident history, whether it’s been reported stolen, or if it’s ever been recalled for safety. 

How to Price Your Car?

For a private car sale in Ontario, you’ll start thinking of a price early on. After all, you’ll need to include it in your documents and agreement with the prospective buyer. 

However, many sellers make the mistake of overvaluing their cars. We know it’s tempting to markup the value, but by doing so, you’re most likely dissuading buyers from purchasing. 

Unsurprisingly, the price is one of the first factors buyers consider before choosing a vehicle, so you’ll need to do your best to attract them from the get-go. But that doesn’t mean setting the price so low that it damages your financial situation. Ideally, you should aim for balance. 

But how?

Objectively, the best way to determine your vehicle’s market value is by using sites like the Canadian Black Book, Kelley Blue Book, or CARFAX’s Value Range Estimator. On each of these sites, you input key information about your car, and the service will output the market value range for your area, helping you set the price. 

Remember that just because you’ve determined a fair price, it doesn’t mean buyers will want to pay that much. In fact, most will attempt to negotiate a lower price before striking a deal, so ensure you know the lowest offer you’re willing to accept.

If your car is still under financing, the lowest offer might be the remaining balance of the car loan. Alternatively, it can be the amount you’ll need for the purchase of a new vehicle or the lower end of the price range suggested by the sites mentioned above.   

Listing Your Car

If you’re not selling a car to a dealer, have completed all the necessary documents, and objectively priced your vehicle, it’s time to put your car out into the world. 

You’ll need to make one more important decision – how will you advertise your car? 

Although this might be the most arduous step of the process, there are numerous options to choose from, each of which would benefit you in some way.

Let’s go over each method:

Advertising on the Street

The tried and true method of drive-by advertising has been proven to work time and time again, so why should you skip over it in favour of the modern?

Interestingly enough, selling a used car in Ontario can be as easy as putting a “For Sale” sign on your car’s window and (legally) parking it near a busy road. If someone’s looking to buy, they’ll take note of your sign and give you a call. 

Of course, no option is without cons. With street advertising, you’ll be grasping at straws if nobody notices your ad. After all, people don’t loiter on busy streets because they’re usually going somewhere, which means there’s less chance for the right person to look at your car. 

Additionally, you’ll be limiting your buyer pool to only those that have walked by your car on a given day. Therefore, other buyers in your area will be at a disadvantage, and you might be missing out on a great candidate. 

If you do decide to go down this route, make sure it’s legal, as local laws might strike such advertisements. 

Free Online Listings

When you think about a private car sale in Ontario, the first thought that crosses your mind is most likely a free online listing. And for good reason, since online listing services are a dime a dozen nowadays. 

These options are becoming increasingly popular due to the ease with which you can list your vehicle and the lack of upfront costs or commissions on sales. Additionally, with the help of effective search features, potential buyers can quickly find what they’re looking for and get a feel for the car without seeing it in person. 

Some of our favourite online listing sites include:

Although the sites mentioned go above and beyond for their listings and are guaranteed to offer you a smooth sale, there are others out there that might suit your needs better. 

However, if you’re dead set on using free listing sites, you need to beware of the abundance of scams. Because of the ease of use and accessibility, scammers can have a field day on these sites and target you for theft. Plus, there’s no shortage of hagglers who will try to lowball you without having a serious interest in what you’re selling. 

And if you’re not a fan of competition, you certainly shouldn’t be on an online listing site, as there are countless other sellers diluting your buyer pool. 

Paid Online Listings

For those who dislike the disorganized nature of free online listings, you might benefit more from paid ones. Apart from being better categorized, paid online listings include helpful features which provide significant value to buyers. For example, many have vehicle history reports or offer financing options for prospective buyers. 

Platforms that sell used cars for a fee generally attract more serious buyers and enable them to find your listing more easily. However, if you’re on a budget and aren’t looking to splurge on your ads, a paid listing might set you back a bit, even if you don’t sell your car. 

Additionally, such platforms are usually the breeding ground for many dealership listings. And because dealerships have more money to spend on advertising, your listing might be buried in the search results, while theirs regularly comes out on top. 

used cars at a car dealership


You get it now – selling a used car in Ontario isn’t as easy as it seems. But even though you’ll need to remember a considerable amount of information and make a few heavy decisions, it’ll pay off once you’re able to sell your vehicle legally. 

Ultimately, you’ll need to pay attention when assembling your documents and think about the  location of your listing. 

Good luck!


How do I sell my car legally in Ontario?

To sell your car in Ontario, you can either go through a dealership or do it by yourself. Selling through a dealership is self-explanatory – all you need is to pick a dealership that’s willing to buy your car and collect the money. But if you do it by yourself, you’ll have to set the price for your vehicle, gather the necessary legal documents by yourself, advertise your car in your chosen method, and strike a deal with a suitable buyer.

Am I responsible for a car after I sell it in Ontario?

No, you are not responsible for a car after you transfer ownership to the buyer. Considering you took back your licence plates, the vehicle is not the buyer’s responsibility and you have no further obligations.

What paperwork do I need to sell my car privately?

To sell a car privately in Ontario, you’ll need the following paperwork: a UVIP document, an ownership permit, a safety standards certificate, a bill of sale, an application for transfer, and a CARFAX report (if applicable).

Do I have to pay tax on a used car from a private seller in Ontario?

When you register as the new legal owner of a vehicle, you’re required to pay the sales tax, but not to the seller. In most cases, the tax is 13%, but it can be a different amount depending on the purchase price or the vehicle’s wholesale value. 


When Angela combined her deep-seated love for linguistics with her growing interest for finance and money management, she struck a gold mine. She’s scoured the internet far and wide for all things related to money and finances, including payments, budgeting and investing. Now she’s eager to share her knowledge and skills with the world, determined to make it a better place. In her free time, she loves to read a good book.

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