How to Finance a Used Car in Canada

If you’ve found the new-to-you car of your dreams but don’t have the cash to pay for it in full, financing is the solution. In this post we’ll go over everything you need to know so you can secure the right kind of auto financing for your vehicle and your bottom line.

How car financing works

Taking out a car loan eliminates the stress of coming up with a large sum of money all at once. However, it also adds another monthly payment to your budget, so it’s important to understand the ins-and-outs of car financing before looking at the different lending options.
Your monthly car loan payments are calculated using three elements: principal, term and interest rate. 
Principal is the total cost of the vehicle, including any fees the lender or dealership may have for the car loan and any add-ons you choose.
Term is the length of time that payments will be made on the loan — typical terms range from 36 months to 72 months.
Interest rate is the percentage the lender is charging you to borrow money. 
Fixed rate loans offer predictability because the interest rate stays the same throughout the term of the loan. If you’re less concerned with fluctuations and want to benefit from times when interest rates are lower, you can opt for a variable rate loan.

Borrowing for new and used cars

New and used cars get treated differently by lenders for a few reasons. For starters, new cars have a higher sticker price than pre-owned cars. While this usually means buyers can cash-in on incentives like rebates or 0% financing for a certain period, it also means loan payment terms will be longer and monthly premiums will be higher. Also, new cars are usually more expensive to insure. 
Used cars, on the other hand, cost less to purchase. They do, however, require more upkeep than new cars and interest rates on pre-owned vehicles are usually higher — especially if you don’t have much for a down payment or have less than stellar credit. 
Check out our post for things to consider when deciding whether to buy a new or used car.

Ways to finance a used car

There are two main ways to secure a car loan in Canada: through a financial institution or directly through a dealership. Each route has its advantages and it’s a good idea to shop around to ensure you’re making the best decision for your financial situation. 
Before applying for any loan, it’s a good idea to check your credit rating and determine your budget. Whether high or low, your credit rating will dictate the interest rate on your loan; knowing your budget will help you figure out how much you can afford for monthly payments. If your monthly payments are more than your budget allows, you run the risk of defaulting on your loan and damaging your credit rating.
Figuring out your budget can also help you decide how much you’re able to put forward as a down payment —  a larger down payment often translates to lower rates because you’ll be borrowing less.
Now, let’s get into the differences between bank financing and dealership, or in-house, financing.


If you have a good credit rating securing a used car loan through a bank or credit union might be the right choice for you. Getting a loan through your current financial institution can be a convenient option since all of your finances are in one spot. If you’re an established customer, your bank might even offer you a discount on interest rates or fees and most banks are open to negotiating the terms of your payment period.
However, because of their stricter rules and regulations, banks will only grant loans to customers with favourable credit — even for pre-owned vehicles. So, if you have a low credit rating you might not get approved. 
Some banks are wary of granting loans for used cars because they depreciate in value quickly. It’s a good idea to ask about the financing options for the specific make and model of the car you’re interested in.
It can also take longer to get approved through the bank, so you might be stuck waiting several business days to find out if your loan application has been accepted.


The second option is to get financing directly from the dealership you’re buying a car from. The main advantages of in-house financing are speed and flexibility. 
Because the application and approval process is a lot quicker, many dealerships are able to offer same-day financing. That means you can take a test drive in the morning and drive your new (or new-to-you) car off the lot by the afternoon. This way you won’t have to worry about someone else snatching up the used car you fell in love with while you’re waiting for financing to come through. 
Dealerships offer significantly more flexibility for borrowers with less-than-stellar or non-existent credit (as is the case with students or new Canadians). If you have poor credit or have gone through a bankruptcy, shopping for a vehicle can be frustrating and disappointing. In-house financing can help get you into the car you want, even if you’ve been previously turned down for a loan through your bank. 
At Birchwood Credit Solutions, we look beyond our customers’ credit rating. Once you apply for financing, our team will review your whole financial situation and work with you to pick an appropriate budget and payment options. We can even offer you help and advice on how to repair your credit rating.
Learn more about Birchwood Credit Solutions’ Bad Credit Car Loans and quick, hassle-free application process. You can also contact us to talk directly to a car financing expert.

When is the best time to buy a car?

Getting a good deal on a new or used car can depend on the time of year you buy it. Make sure you keep an eye on the calendar so you can take advantage of seasonal factors affecting the car trade and take advantage of the best month to buy a car. So if you are looking for the best time of year to buy a car, here are some dates to bear in mind.

Best time to buy a new car

Choosing the best time of the year to buy a car could potentially save you thousands of pounds.

Here’s what to bear in mind:

  • Convertibles are more desirable in the summer, so there might be bargains to be had in the winter.
  • At the end of each quarter – particularly the end of June and December – dealers might be keen to hit their quarterly sales targets and more likely to offer you a good deal.
  • Demand for four-wheel-drive vehicles usually peaks during autumn and winter because of poorer weather, so you might get a bigger discount in the summer.
  • In February and August many dealers offer some real bargains, while sales are slow as buyers wait for the new number plates coming in March and September. But If you take advantage of this lull, your ‘old’ number plates will make your car seem older than it really is, so it will depreciate faster.
  • Find out when new models or ‘face-lifted’ existing models are due out, then buy the previous version during its last few weeks in the showroom. Dealers will be want to shift this stock and be more likely to offer you a good deal. But remember an older model will depreciate faster than the new arrivals, even though it’s roughly the same age.
  • Showrooms are quieter on weekdays so drop in on a Friday – when the dealer will also be keen to meet their weekly target. This gives you an advantage when bargaining with the salesperson.
  • Wait a few months after launch before buying a new model – by then there will be less showroom buzz about it so the dealer might well offer you a better deal.

Best time to buy a used car

Seasonal trends in sales of new cars have a knock-on effect on the cost of used cars.

Time your purchase right and you could get a real bargain:

  • Avoid buying used convertibles in the spring or summer – wait until winter, when demand is much lower.
  • March and September are the peak months for sales of new cars, often through part-exchange deals. So dealers will have lots of used cars to sell, which puts you in a strong position when negotiating.
  • Dealers are also often keen to clear out used cars in July and early August in readiness for new models and the registration plate change on 1 September.
  • December and January are quiet months for the used car trade. Cars aren’t on people’s minds around Christmas and the New Year so dealers and private sellers are keen to make a deal.
  • Buy four-wheel-drive vehicles in the summer – demand peaks in the late autumn and winter because of the poorer weather.

Advice and Negotiation Tips for Shopping Used Cars

Buying a vehicle is never easy, but buying a used vehicle is downright difficult. You will get your hopes up numerous times by an ad that seems too good to be true, only to be let down when, in fact, it was too good to be true. Someone might advertise their car as “Like new! Mild wear and tear! Runs great!” when in actuality, it is very much old, has extensive wear and tear and doesn’t run at all. Yes, it happens. That is why, when shopping for used cars, you should know where to turn and how to negotiate. Don’t fall for a scam and bring home a lemon, and use the following advice to help ease the pain of your search:

Go to a Dealer

Sure, you know someone who found a great deal on Kijiji, or are even friends with that lucky person who bought a car on Ebay ten years ago and it’s still running great today. However, those people are the exceptions to the rule that states that you should never, ever shop for used cars online. Not only is it impossible to tell the true condition of a vehicle without actually seeing it, but also, you’re risking spending thousands of dollars a car that may take a dump on you ten minutes after purchasing it. Then, because there is no warranty, you’re stuck with an old car that doesn’t run and no money to fix it.

Find the Car You Want

Before you head to the dealership, know what you’re looking for. If you head to the dealership without a clue, you may end up purchasing a vehicle that is over your budget and all wrong for your needs. Identify the traits you need in a new used car: good gas mileage, three rows, ample storage space, etc. Once you do this, set a budget and head to the dealer.

Negotiate Like a Pro

Negotiating for a fair price might be the most daunting part of the car buying process, but it’s necessary. Dealerships expect you to negotiate and price their cars accordingly. Use all the knowledge you have regarding the vehicle to bring the price down.

Use the tips above when shopping for used cars to get the best your money can buy.

The Smart Way to Shop for a Used Car

For many consumers, shopping for a pre-owned vehicle can be stressful and taxing. Since all used cars have been bought and resold for one reason or another, some people immediately conclude that there most be something wrong with the car since the original owner didn’t want to keep it. In truth, buying a car used allows you to get a great vehicle at a great price, as long as you know what you’re doing. Here are some things to think about before you start shopping around.

Pick the Right Location

You can get used cars anywhere. Whether it’s your grandmother or a large dealership, there are endless possibilities. What’s important is that you go through a reliable vendor. Some private dealerships are able to offer great deals, though it can be harder to verify the services when buying through a smaller operation. Your best bet is to go through a company that has experience and history of pairing people with good automobiles.

Price Check

You can learn a lot about the car you’re hoping to buy as well as the local dealerships when you compare and contrast the different rates. It’s easy to fall in love with a vehicle when you arrive on the lot, but you should try to do your research ahead of time so you know whether or not you’re being offered a good deal.

Get a Vehicle History Report

Find out exactly why the previous driver parted with this vehicle and what work was done to it before and after it was sold. This will help you determine the car’s durability and make it easier for your to predict what maintenance might be on the horizon.

Some of the happiest drivers are the ones that buy used cars. If you study up and take the right approach, you should be able to get the right car for your life and budget.

Choosing the Right Used Car for Your Family

When you have a family, shopping for used cars suddenly becomes a little more difficult. After all, you want the safest, most convenient, most efficient option to ensure your family’s having the best possible experience when you’re on the road. We’re here to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need when searching for your ideal used vehicle, but it’s always worth your time to do a bit of planning before you visit any dealer’s lot. If you’re searching for a car that’s suited for your family, consider the following criteria:


The first thing you should think about concerning any family vehicle is size. If you have a small nuclear family with 1 or 2 children, it may be fine to buy a simple coupe or four-door car. However, it’d be a challenge to fit 4 or more children into these tight spaces. If your family is a large one (or you plan for it to be a large one at some point) it may be a better idea to invest in a minivan, SUV, or another ride that has more space.


Next, consider the age of the children you’ll have on board. If they’re young enough to require a car seat, the last thing you want to do is select a small, 2-door car. These cars are great for efficiency, but fitting a car seat into the back is nearly impossible, and creates a huge struggle every time you need to head out for even the simplest errand.

Safety Features

Any family car should be complete with safety features such as air bags, strong seat belts and more. However, if you want to be extra-safe, you may be able to choose used vehicles with rearview cameras and other features that increase your visibility while you’re on the road.

Keeping these things in mind while letting us show you around the lot can help us to better match you to your ideal used cars, so you drive off of our lot truly happy with your new purchase.

Common Troubles When Buying a Car

Owning a car can offer you plenty of exciting opportunities in life. When the time has come to invest in a ride of your own, it is important that you consider all of the finer points before you make your decision. There are a few obstacles that you are likely to see when you go about the process of trying to buy a used vehicle. Though these can seem difficult to deal with at first, there are many ways to make the most of the situation and get the car you desire.


One of the biggest issues that you are likely to face when purchasing a vehicle is financing. Cars are not cheap and that means you need to have a solid plan for how you plan to pay for the endeavor. Many people decide to take out a loan to help in this situation. While this is a great move, it can also be problematic if you don’t have great credit. Lenders typically deny the applications of potential borrowers who have poor credit. Fortunately, there are options for these borrowers.

Loan Options

Bad credit car loans are a type of loan designed for borrowers who do not have ideal credit scores. Even with low credit, you will be able to apply for a loan like this and have a much better chance to being accepted. The loans tend to come with higher interest rates, so it is best for you to sit down and figure out exactly how you plan to repay the loan before you sign any agreements. If you can come up with an easy method to pay back the loan in the specified time, it can help immensely.

Purchasing a used car can open up many doors for your future. To get the most from this process, be sure to consider all of your financing options. Explore how a car loan with bad credit works and see if this choice can put you behind the wheel of the car that you have your eye on.

What to Know About Used Cars

When looking at used cars for your next vehicle there are a few things you might want to consider. These factors can help you narrow down your options to find the right car for your needs. Continue reading to learn more.


Car History


Many dealerships can offer you a history about the used cars they are selling. This can allow you to see if there is anything that concerns you and ask how these things were taken care of before you buy. Your sales associate should be able to look at the history and let you know what, if any, parts were replaced and how the vehicle performs when compared to the dealership’s standards for sale.



Mileage can be important when considering a used car. Not only can it tell you how often a vehicle was driven when compared with a car’s age, but it’s a good indicator for what type of service the vehicle will need at its next appointment. You can also use the mileage to calculate a vehicle’s fuel economy which can be another important factor for many people.


How it Drives

It’s important to test drive any vehicle you’re seriously considering purchasing. This will give you a feel for how it accelerates, turns and stops, so you can see if it’s a good fit for your driving style. You should also be able to get a feel for the seat and visibility, as well as how any controls operate. You should feel comfortable operating any vehicle you use on a regular basis.


When selecting from the used cars available consider these factors and how important each is to you. Your dealership should be able to provide you with the car’s history so you can get a feel for its performance. If fuel economy is important to you, you may want to check out the vehicle’s mileage. Last but not least don’t forget a test drive so you can see how it feels to be behind the wheel.

Tips To Get a Great Deal on Your Car Loan

You’re in the market for a new car, and you know you’re going to need to financing. What steps can you take to be sure you’re getting the best deal? We have a few tips and tricks to help you get started.


Know Your Credit Score


Your credit score is a huge factor in determining your Annual Percentage Rate (APR), which influences how much you will end up paying by the end of the loan. Knowing your credit score will give you an idea of where you stand when it comes to financing. There are many websites where you can find your credit score for free, such as


Look Over Your Credit Report


Your credit score is a number that represents how creditworthy you are, and is determined by analyzing your credit history. A credit report is the actual documentation of your credit history, and includes personal information such as name and address, as well as information on your current and previous accounts. It’s important to be familiar with your credit report since it’s entirely possible that there may be an error in your information. If you find such an error, you can file a dispute with the credit bureau from which you obtained the report and get your information straightened out. You don’t want to miss out on a great rate because of a processing or reporting error.


Aim for a Shorter Term


When applying for car loans, you’ll find that the term length can really affect how much you end up paying by the loan’s end. A longer term usually means a lower monthly payment, but that means you’re paying interest for longer. Instead, figure out the shortest affordable loan term, and know that even if the monthly payment is higher, you’re saving money in the long run.


Financing a car can be a complicated process. Being prepared can help you find that great deal on a car you love.

Reasons to Consider Financing Your Car Through the Dealer

As you’re preparing to buy your next car, you’re probably considering your financing options. Before you dismiss bad credit car loans or dealership financing, educate yourself on their advantages. When it comes to dealership financing, you and your bank account might be better off going with a car dealership rather than a bank. Here are a few reasons why:


More Options


Searching online on your own for financing is sure to uncover a massive list of options and lenders, but you still might not discover all your choices. Dealers have their own connections and sources, ones you may not even be aware of, ones that could be a better fit for you than the lenders you discovered conducting your own research.


A Win-Win Situation


When you allow a dealership to provide you with financing, there is just as much for that dealership to gain as there is for you to gain. There’s additional profit to be earned by the dealership, and it’s entirely possible you can net a lower interest rate and a lower payment by financing through the dealership. This also means that dealerships have more of an incentive to help you find the absolute best deal, so you might as well take advantage of this fact.


Financial Peace of Mind


You likely have several financial obligations to juggle throughout the month. Even if you’ve structured your budget so that you can easily handle a monthly car payment, you’re unlikely to argue with having a lower payment and interest rate than you budgeted for. Dealership financing could give you just that, providing you with extra money you can save, invest or spend elsewhere as you so choose.


Don’t be so quick to dismiss having a dealership take care of your car financing. Taking a few minutes to see what they have to offer you could open your eyes to saving rather than open your wallet to spending more than you’d like.

How To Get A Car Loan With Bad Credit

Lenders offering bad credit car loans are all over the place. The problem is that many of these businesses tend to be less than trustworthy. Their terms are often predatory and can ruin your car ownership experience.


If you’re looking for a car loan and your credit is less than stellar, we recommend you take these initial steps to find a loan that works best for you.


First Things First

You need to make sure you know your credit score. Don’t assume your score simply because you think your credit is “bad”. By knowing your score you’ll be able to use online tools to get an idea of the type of loan terms to expect when you do start shopping around.


Don’t Be Afraid To Shop

Be sure to shop around for terms that are good for you. Even with a low credit score, some places will will be able to offer you better rates than others. However, you should be leery of lenders who only work with individuals with poor credit as that can be a sign of predatory practices.


Use Existing Relationships

It’s easy to sit in the comfort of your home and fill out applications online at various lenders. However, it’s best to start with local organizations that you have a relationship with as they may be more willing to offer you better rates.


Work With Your Dealership

Dealerships usually have relationships with lenders who work with individuals with poor credit. While many people prefer to use a third-party lender, we may be able to work with you to get you the right financing based on your budget and payment goals.


As you look for your next loan, the most important thing you can do is start your search early and be as thorough as possible. Bad credit doesn’t have to be what keeps you from getting your new car.