What to look for when buying a used car in NZ


Used cars available to buy in New Zealand will likely be a second-hand Japanese import or a car that was originally sold as new in New Zealand. There are a number of checks you can do to ensure you get the best value used car for your money. In addition there are a variety of places to buy second hand cars in Dunedin from such as used car dealers, auction houses or online and privately.

New Zealand New or Japanese Import?

Used cars in New Zealand were either new to New Zealand or have been imported from overseas – usually Japan. Some used cars on the market may have been imported privately for example classic British cars or immigrants bringing their cars with them. It will be harder to verify odometer history on all but the new to New Zealand cars as you will be relying on dealer or importer honesty.

Second Hand Car Dealers or Private Sales?

If you look online at sites like Trade Me you will find numerous second hand car listings. You can sort these by location or local so if you are looking to buy used vehicles in Dunedin, simply select Dunedin. Many dealers list their available cars on auction sites along with private sellers.

Many used car dealers will have a website so you can check out what cars they have on the yard before visiting. This can save you a wasted trip if you are looking for a particular make or model or size or type of vehicle.

With private sales ensure you can inspect the vehicle before buying. Don’t jump in at the end of an auction because it looks like a bargain! With car dealers, read any reviews you can find about them or better yet get recommendations from friends or family for reliable dealers.

VIR or AA Lemoncheck?

When looking to buy a used car especially as a private sale you should consider paying for a Vehicle Inspection Report. Visit www.motorweb.co.nz to apply for a VIR, see sample reports and find out the location of your nearest VTNZ. Visit www.lemoncheck.co.nz to see the differences between the two reports. The checks can reveal whether there are odometer inconsistencies, any debt associated with the vehicle or if the vehicle has been reported stolen for example.

Mechanical Check

Unless you are a mechanic or have a good friend who is then it is wise to turn to the professionals for assistance. The VTNZ, the AA and many independent mechanics can carry out a pre-purchase check on vehicles. There are fees involved for example a VTNZ pre-purchase assessment costs from $129. For that fee an expert will check the boot, under the bonnet, all the lights, the underbody and also check the performance of the brakes. The expert will also fully inspect the interior and exterior of the car for any areas of concern and finally do a full test drive. What price piece of mind? You can also have car finance in Dunedin.

Warrant of Fitness (WOF)

It is a legal requirement for all cars sold in New Zealand to have a current WOF. The buyer can request that this WOF be less than 1 month old. Cars up to 6 years old are required to have a WOF done every 12 months, while for older cars the requirement is every 6 months.

Final point: transfer of car ownership needs to be notified to the New Zealand Transport Agency within 7 days of the sale/purchase.

Located on Burns Street you will find Auto Court Dunedin, trusted car dealers, Dunedin. Visit www.autocourt.net.nz to view images and details of their Dunedin second hand cars. Looking to buy used vehicles in Dunedin from a reliable car dealership? You can trust Auto Court Dunedin who have been selling cars since 1963!


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