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.

Inspection tips

  • 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.
Send an email enquiry to the team at VINZ and we'll be in touch soon to assist.
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