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At least until you become familiar with the city and the rules of the road, my advice is to save your money and take public transit. Car operation and upkeep cost a lot of money, whether new or used. Even with a trouble-free vehicle, the cost to maintain it (fuel, monthly payments, insurance, registration and other expenses) can set you back thousands of dollars each year.

When you are ready, I suggest purchasing a used car until you settle in to a good-paying job. My first car cost me $1,000 and while it was not the prettiest car in the lot, it took me for my interviews and for grocery shopping, which was the main intention.

Here are some tips when purchasing a used car: ¦When buying from a used car dealer, try to obtain an extended warranty that covers parts and labour for repairs, for a set time period. Check with the motor vehicle office to see if there is a lien against the car for any moneys loaned against it. In the case of a private deal (from an individual seller) it would be wise to have the car checked by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). This verifies the vehicle’s ownership and accident history. Be aware that stolen vehicles are sometimes sold privately. If you inadvertently purchase one, authorities could confiscate it and you may have to face police questioning or worse — conviction for stolen property. Transferring title or ownership of a vehicle is straightforward. If you are purchasing from a car dealership, transfer documents will be handled for you. In a private purchase, the buyer and seller must go to an insurance company to arrange the transfer, the insurance, payment of the provincial tax, where applicable, and pickup of a new licence plate.

See also: When does leasing make more sense?

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