Used Car Deal Tips

for budget vacations New Zealand

A used car deal for budget vacations in New Zealand becomes more viable with long term travelling plans.

For the duration of a maximum of twelve months travellers with a valid overseas driver's licence or an International Driving Permit can drive in New Zealand. Afterwards it becomes obligatory to sit the NZ driving test.

To stay safe and drive confidently on New Zealand roads read up on safe driving tips. Some rules are unique to our islands and found nowhere else.

Used car deal: private or licensed dealer

First, weigh up the pros and cons whether to choose a car dealer or a private seller. Determine exactly your budget and the type of transport you are looking for.

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Used car dealer

  • more expensive
  • often a warranty comes for a limited time with it
  • some offer appraised cars, that have received a mechanical check

Private car seller

  • Cheaper
  • It should have:
    • A Warrant of Fitness (WOF), less than twenty eight days old (found in the right top corner of the front window )
    • A valid license (often called registration, found in the left bottom corner of the windscreen)
    • for diesel-cars compare the road user charges (RUC) with the odometer found in the left corner

Note any unpaid fee is to be paid by the new owner!

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Find a private used car seller

  • Online auction site:
    TradeMe (New Zealand version of Ebay)
  • Popular on and off-line are:
    Trade and Exchange, and
  • often cars for sale are positioned along busy roads
  • Car fairs:
    • Auckland's biggest one is Auckland Car Fair at Ellerslie Racecourse, Greenlane, Auckland; held every Sunday between 9am and 12am,
    • Auckland City Car Fair at the Corner of Halsey & Gaunt Street, Auckland City, Auckland; held on Saturday between 9am and 1pm

      All Enquiries:
      Mobile: 021 932 287
      PH: (09) 837 7817
    • Travellers often sell and buy their vehicles at the Backpacker’s Car Market,, or on backpacker noticeboards
  • Buy back guarantee:
    To save the hassle when you plan to move on and to sell your vehicle their are companies like who sell and buy them back at an agreed price beforehand.

For your peace of mind

    • A pre-inspection gives information on the mechanical condition of the car. This service is available in centres or mobile at most car fairs.
    • The vehicle history report, details how many owner, odometer readings at different times, ownership details (stolen vehicle), and most importantly about finance owing. Finance owing with the car as security affects automatically the new owner. The lender may take the car if the loan remains unpaid. - This report can be ordered by phone.
    • AA buyersguide offers information and services
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Buying a used car

Once you found a second hand car that fulfils your requirements it is a simple process to transfer the ownership. Both seller and buyer sign the certificate of ownership. The form can be picked up at any post office, AA Centre, or often is made available by car fair organisers. The form returned to any post office or AA Centre inclusive a fee of around $10 makes the change of ownership official.

After two to three weeks, the certificate of ownership is in your mail. Evident is to provide a postal address where you are at this time in New Zealand.

Other fees that go hand in hand with your car are the licensing fee. This fee applies to every car. The licensing fee adjusts to car, van, and motorcycle petrol or diesel and is paid 3,6,9 or 12 months in advance. While road user charges are for diesel-cars only and are payable in advance per 1000km. All can be paid at any post office or AA Centre.

Cape Reinga Lighthouse, North Island, New Zealand
Buy at

Car insurance in New Zealand is not obligatory, though highly recommended is third party insurance that covers accidental damage on property like cars.

At the end when your used car deal fulfilled its services and you resold the car remember to record the transfer at a post office. Otherwise, your name links to future tickets and fines.

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