What You Need to Buy a Used Car in Manitoba

What You Need to Buy a Used Car in Manitoba

May 14, 2018    Buying a Car

Ready to buy a used car, but don’t know where to start? Before you visit your local dealership or start flipping through online classified ads, you should make sure you have all the necessary car-buying documents in order. In this post, we’ll take you through all the things you need to apply for auto financing and to purchase, insure and register a pre-owned car in Manitoba.

Three things you need to buy a used car in Manitoba:

  1. Car loan requirements
  2. Purchase documents
  3. Vehicle insurance and registration

Car loan requirements

First things first: get pre-approved for financing before you start shopping for a used car! Unless you have a stack of cash burning a hole in your pocket, you’ll probably need to secure a loan before you buy a car. It’s a good idea to do this before you start shopping so you can have a clearer picture of what you can afford to spend.
At Birchwood Credit Solutions, the application process is fast and easy. You can apply in person or online and it can take less than 24 hours to find out if you’re pre-approved. All you need to apply is: a valid driver’s license, proof that you’re a Canadian citizen above the age of 18 and verification that you make more than $1,500 a month.
Getting pre-approved is especially important if you have bad credit or no credit history. Worrying about getting denied auto financing because of your credit takes the fun out of car shopping. You can avoid this by being upfront and figuring out how much you can responsibly borrow before you set foot in a dealer’s lot. The Birchwood Credit Solutions’ team looks beyond your credit score and take your whole financial profile into account when considering your application for a car loan with bad credit.

Purchase documents

There’s a lot of paperwork that comes with buying a car, but some of the documents are more important than the others. In order to legally drive your new used car in Manitoba, you’ll need to bring the following pieces of paper to your neighbourhood Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) Autopac agent so you can get it insured and registered — which we’ll explain further in the next section.

  • Bill of Sale: A bill of sale is a document that’s signed by the seller and the purchaser. It includes price paid as well as the year, make, model and serial number of the vehicle. The seller should have two bills of sale written up so you can each keep a signed original (MPI usually requires an original for registration).
  • Certificate of Inspection (COI): A valid COI is required whenever a vehicle changes owners. It provides a snapshot of the vehicle’s overall condition and certifies that it meets the basic standards for operation in Manitoba. This is more of general overview rather than a detailed inspection of the engine and transmission — if you’re concerned about any mechanical issues, you should get the car looked at by a third-party mechanic.
  • Transfer of Ownership Document (TOD): This document helps protect you, the buyer, by proving that the seller is the legal owner of the vehicle, confirming that the vehicle has never been stolen or written-off and ensuring that the odometer reading is correct. The TOD is part of the vehicle registration card and needs to be signed by both parties.
  • Vehicle History: While all of the above are required when you purchase a vehicle from a private seller or a dealership, only an authorized dealership is required to provide you with a full vehicle history. This could usually includes details like an accident history or service and repair information. Dealers are also required to tell you if the vehicle is equipped with an applicable after-market immobilizer system.

Vehicle insurance and registration

Every driver in Manitoba is required to insure and register their vehicle through Manitoba Public Insurance. Legally, you need to have Basic Autopac insurance and registration before you take your new car out on the road. As mentioned above, you can get both processed when you bring your bill of sale, Certificate of Inspection, and Transfer of Ownership to your local Autopac agent (there are literally hundreds across the province).


Autopac insurance provides personal injury, damage and third party liability coverage in the case of a collision. This means you’re spared the full cost of lost wages due to an injury, repair costs for your damaged car or legal fees if you hurt someone else.  
Your insurance premium is determined by a bunch of different factors, including the kind of vehicle you drive, the kind of driving you do (urban or rural), where you live and your driving record. You can choose to make four or 12 payments a year and you can get a discount on your premium if you maintain a safe driving record for several years — ie. not getting into any accidents or speeding. You have to renew your insurance by midnight on the day before it expires.


When you register your newly purchased car you’ll get a pair of license plates that must be displayed on the front and back of the vehicle as proof of registration. If you are selling or trading-in your old vehicle for a new one, you can transfer those plates to your new car if it’s in the same registration class. As with insurance, you need to register your car before you can take it on its maiden voyage.
Get in touch with Birchwood Credit Solutions today to get the car-buying process started! It takes as little as three minutes to complete our online application form.