Buying a car
Some advice to help you buy a used car.
Do your research
- Buying a car is a big investment so it’s worth doing your research. Be aware that if a car is much cheaper than similar cars of the same age and model then there may be a good reason.
- Consider where you buy a car from. You may get a cheaper deal from a private sale, but buying from a dealer gives more consumer rights, especially if they’re a registered motor vehicle trader.
- Take your time and carefully examine everything you want to look at – not just what the seller shows you. Be especially wary of engine wear and rust with older cars.
- If possible, inspect the car on a dry sunny day– it’s easier to see visual clues to the car’s real condition.
- Know what you can fix and the cost of repairs.
- It’s a good idea to take the following with you when you inspect the car:
- a friend with car knowledge if you don’t have this yourself
- a checklist of things to look for
- a magnet to check for hidden rust repairs
- a torch to look under the bonnet.
Check the paperwork
- Ask the seller for any service or repair history.
- Check that the car has a Warrant of Fitness (WoF) less than one month old. Or, you may buy the car “as is, where is” but you’ll need to give the seller a written promise that you’ll only drive the car to get repairs or a WoF. You may need to pay for repairs to bring the car up to WoF standard. Visit your local VINZ branch if you need to obtain a WoF.
- Make sure you see a Certificate of Registration before you purchase the car to ensure that the current owner of the vehicle is the person/business selling it to you.
- If you’re buying from a dealer, make sure you take the time to read the Sale Agreement and Consumer Information Notice before signing it.
- Complete a Change of Ownership form. This can be done at your local VINZ branch.
Check the NZ Transport Agency website for more information.