Unlike most countries, car plates in Ontario are associated with the car’s owner, not with the car itself. Instead, cars are identified through their serial number, or what’s more technically called its VIN, or the Vehicle Identification Number. The VIN, in turn, is associated with a car’s UVIP, or the Used Vehicle Information Package, which chronicles the history and other pertinent details of the car in question.
The UVIP will serve as primary reference when it comes to verifying that a car is still in good shape.
The document contains information about the car’s plate number, VIN, year and make, model, original colour, its body type, and other miscellaneous information. These bits of information are important in identifying a motor vehicle,. However, the real value of the UVIP is in the “auxiliary” information that it contains.
This “auxiliary” information includes the vehicle’s registration history in Ontario, its brand, odometer readings, lien information, the value of the vehicle’s model and year, sales tax obligations, the bill of sale and some bit of advice regarding safety inspections. These are what a potential used car buyer must carefully read before considering a particular vehicle for purchase. In this paper, we will give special attention to the most important piece of information: The Brand.
What’s the Brand?
The brand of the car should be the first thing that a potential buyer must check. By saying “brand”, we refer to a special designation that is given to a particular vehicle by the Ministry of Transportation. This term must not be confused with “make and model”, which refers to the car’s manufacturer and the car’s design.
There are four kinds of brands in Ontario: Irreparable, Salvage, Rebuilt, and None.
Irreparable cars are vehicles that were totaled, and are useful only for spare parts. It is illegal to drive such a car in Ontario. Salvage cars are like Irreparable cars, except that they may be sent to a mechanic so that they can be fixed and driven on Ontarian roads again, subject to the approval of the Ministry of Transportation. Take note, however, that Salvage cars will be classified as Rebuilt upon passing inspection. Thus, Salvage cars cannot be driven, unless reclassified to the said category.
Ideally, one must ensure that the used car for sale has “None” as its brand in the UVIP. More often than not, the car has never been in a collision if given this kind of brand. While there are many other things to check in order to ensure that the car you’re buying will be worth it, knowing that a car has no negative brand helps a lot in trimming down the list of candidates.
What’s the Catch?
However, “None” does not exactly mean that a car never had an accident in the past, as there are many grey areas behind this classification. According to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, these complicating factors include a) the car might have had an accident OUTSIDE of Ontario, b) the car might have been rebuilt prior to the 31st of March 2003, c) the damaged incurred is not serious enough to classify it into the other categories.
If you are planning to purchase a car that was manufactured prior to 2003, a more comprehensive inspection may be needed. This is because the UVIP is practically useless in as far as its brand information on the car. This is because the law that established the branding system was still in the making during that time.
Do not rely to heavily on brand information in gauging the fitness of a motor vehicle. As was stated, the brand refers only to the vehicle’s history on Ontario roads. Thus, due to jurisdictional limitations, it does not cover the car’s affair in foreign lands – which includes neighboring provinces.