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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I recently purchased a car and just found out it was declared salvage. The seller did not inform me of this. Do I have any recourse in order to get my money back?

    If you have not been able to negotiate a settlement with the vendor, you will probably want to consider seeking compensation via civil court action. Your recourse will depend on how the sale occurred. If the vehicle had a status of "salvage" at any Alberta registry agent, the vendor was required under Section 9 of the Motor Vehicle Inspection Regulation (AR 318/02) to either:

    1. provide the buyer with a subsisting salvage motor vehicle inspection certificate for the motor vehicle, or
    2. provide the buyer with a written statement advising that the motor vehicle is a salvage motor vehicle for which there is no subsisting salvage motor vehicle inspection certificate 

    If the vendor has not complied with the regulation Alberta Transportation will investigate the complaint. A written complaint, along with copies of the pertinent invoices/bill of sale, must be submitted to the attention of the Manager, Motor Vehicle Inspection Program before the complaint will be evaluated.

    Note: No action taken by Alberta Transportation will result in an award of financial compensation, you will still need to negotiate with the vendor and/or seek a civil court decision.

    If the vehicle has a status of "rebuilt" at any Alberta registry agent, the vendor may have been obligated to disclose that status at the time of sale. The level of responsibility would best be determined in civil court action.

    If the vendor is an automotive dealer, the vendor is required to provide full disclosure under the Fair Trading Act. You may learn more about this Act at the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC).

  2. I am interested in building a special construction/kit vehicle for road use in Alberta. How is a special construction vehicle registered? What requirements must the vehicle meet to be able to be registered for road use? Where do I get it tested? What title is the vehicle given?

    New vehicle construction standards are the domain of Transport Canada. Transport Canada's Canadian Motor Vehicle Act and its attendant legislation may be found at Transport Canada. New cars sold in Alberta must have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), a final compliance label and a National Safety Mark (NSM). If you intend to manufacture new cars for sale in Alberta you must be authorized by Transport Canada to affix a final compliance label and NSM. You may wish to contact Harry Baergen, Transport Canada's Regulation Enforcement Officer, at (613) 998-2320, or via e-mail baergeh@tc.gc.ca

    Alberta's current vehicle standards legislation is intended to ensure that vehicles are maintained in proper operating condition. Alberta's Traffic Safety Act and Vehicle Equipment Regulation may be found at the Queen's Printer

    A kit car built for personal use is generally described as a "homebuilt" vehicle, some Canadian provinces use the term "U-built" to describe these same kit cars. In Alberta an assigned VIN is required to register a homebuilt vehicle. These assigned VINs can be obtained through your local law enforcement agency's auto theft officers. If you are in Calgary or Edmonton you can contact the municipal police service, and in other areas of the province you can contact the RCMP. The police will require that you submit invoices to demonstrate where you purchased the components used to assemble your homebuilt vehicle and will subsequently require you to have a vehicle safety inspection done before affixing the assigned VIN to your vehicle. Dependant on the date of completion of your vehicle, this safety inspection will ensure you vehicle complies with the Traffic Safety Act.

    If you decide to construct or purchase a kit car, please contact the Vehicle Inspection Program Manager for further information.

  3. Can you legally import and drive a right-hand drive vehicle in Alberta?

    Right-hand drive vehicles are eligible for registration in Alberta provided the vehicle meets all other inspection criteria. 

  4. What does the auto theft detection program involve?

    The auto theft detection program involves verification of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the vehicle and drive train.

  5. What documents do I need to bring to an Alberta registry agent if Iím importing my vehicle from another province or country?

    Once your vehicle has arrived in Alberta you need to visit a Service Alberta office to purchase a Request For Inspection form, which you will present to the inspection facility of your choice. The Registry agent will also sell you an in-transit permit that allows you to drive the vehicle to an inspection facility. The registry agent will require proof of ownership and insurance before issuing the in-transit permit. 

  6. What happens if my vehicle fails the inspection?

    Vehicles that fail the initial inspection must be repaired within 10 days of the failure notice to avoid an additional full inspection fee assessment. Vehicles repaired and presented for re-inspection within 10 days will be subject to verification of required repairs only. Inspection Certificates are valid for 14 days; therefore vehicles must be registered in Alberta prior to the expiry date. Should the vehicle owner fail to register the vehicle within 14 days a full Out Of Province inspection will again be required.

  7. I am a Journeyman Automotive Service Technician in an Alberta repair shop. We had a situation arise where we inspected a vehicle and provided a repair estimate to the customer. After receiving several verbal and documented warnings about not driving the vehicle because it has a system failure that made it unsafe to drive, the customer opted to take it to another repair facility. We got a call a while later from the other facility that ended up performing the repair and the owner of that establishment threatened to inform the police that we let this unsafe vehicle go. To the best of my knowledge, in the province of Alberta, we do not possess the right to impound a vehicle for any reason. Is this correct?

    You are correct in your understanding that a technician cannot remove an unsafe vehicle from the road. This responsibility lies solely with a peace officer under Section 66 of the Traffic Safety Act.

    As a certified technician you are obligated to advise the client that his/her vehicle is unsafe, and to provide an explanation for this determination. Some shops choose to bring a tow truck to their facility and have the vehicle towed to the shop of the client's choice.

    An additional option would be for you to contact the traffic detachment of your local law enforcement agency and describe your concerns with the vehicle. If they have an officer available they may be in a position to direct the vehicle owner to undertake the repairs before the vehicle can be returned to the road. Further, you may wish to submit a written safety report to Alberta Transportation so they can refer your concerns to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

    As a shop owner/operator you may wish to check with your lawyer or insurance underwriter to see if there are additional methods to reduce your liability in the event the vehicle is involved in a collision after driving away from your facility.

For more information, please contact:
Vehicle Inspection Program