Our Top Tips for buying a new Used Vehicle

On the hunt for a new Used Car this weekend? Whether you are going to a Dealership or buying Privately, these tips could help you avoid buying a LEMON.

Get Educated!

The Consumer Protection website is a great resource for someone purchasing a car. It is full of helpful hints and check lists you can utilize while going through the buying process. You can get schooled up on the Consumer Guarantees Act which will help you make a better decision. If something does go wrong after your purchase, it will guide you through the process and you will know your rights from the get go. Knowledge is power!!!


Buying an import from a Dealer?

The majority of used cars sold by NZ Dealerships are Japanese imports. More often than not the vehicles are of high quality and low km’s. BUT if the price is too good to be true you might want to find out why? Here are a few things that can determine pricing of imported vehicles.

KM’s and Age

This is a pretty simple concept – A vehicle with High kilometres will or should be cheaper, the older the vehicle the cheaper it should be.

Low Grade Import

All vehicles imported from Japan have an auction grade. A High Grade import will be more expensive as the overall quality and standard of the vehicle was high when it was purchased at Auction. Here is a brief overview of how a vehicle is graded at Auction

5 – brand new car

4.5 – mint second hand exterior and interior condition, low kms, late model etc

4 – very good exterior and interior condition with minor panel and paint

3.5 – good exterior and interior condition with minor panel and paint – damage to be repaired

3 or less – low grade vehicle and would have needed to have a lot of work done to bring it to a reasonable standard for sale, probably over 100kms on the clock or could have been a damaged or accident grade vehicle.

If you are seriously looking at a vehicle, ask the dealer if you can see the Auction Sheet, most of it is in Japanese but you will be able to see the auction grade in the top corner.

Has this vehicle been imported as a Damaged Vehicle?

By Law ALL vehicles must have a window card with all the pre purchase information ie, Year, KM’s and fuel star rating. The window card must also state if this was previously a damaged vehicle. Check bottom of the window card, there should be a yes or no box ticked stating this information. You will need to keep a copy of the window card after purchase along with your sale and purchase agreement.


Buying Privately?

Ask the right questions

  • Is there anything wrong with it?
  • Is there any money still owing on it?
  • Are there service receipts for any work that’s been done?
  • Is there a second set of keys? Getting a second key cut can be very expensive.
  • If the vehicle has a cambelt, when was it last changed? Generally, they need to be changed every 100,000km. Depending on the model, this can be very expensive.
  • When were the tyres changed? Is the tread depth is less than 3 millimetres deep or if they are showing signs of aging, eg cracks on the sides.
  • Is the vehicle insured? It’s important to know if you’ll be liable for damages if you have an accident while test driving.
  • Does the car have to be serviced by the original dealer? Many newer cars must be serviced by a dealer to maintain the warranty
  • How long have you owned the car?
  • Why are you selling the car?


Pre Purchase inspections and searches that can be done…

If you buy from a private seller, you can find out if:

  • the car has been registered as a stolen on New Zealand Police’s Stolen Vehicles database
  • there’s still money owing on the car by using the Personal Property Security Register’s mobile friendly search.

No matter who you buy from, you may want to consider double-checking the information the seller has given to you. There are a number of vehicle history report providers online. For most of these services, you enter the plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN) to get a comprehensive report on ownership history, previous damage, money owing, odometer readings. Some of these services are free or charge a small fee.

If your basic checks, test drive and history checks go well, the next step is to arrange for the vehicle to be inspected by a professional mechanic.

The best way to avoid a problem is to get the car inspected by a mechanic or pre-purchase vehicle inspection service.

Some car dealers will sort this for you with their preferred mechanic, though it may be beneficial to get this done yourself to get an independent report.

An inspection is even more important when you buy from a private seller. You have fewer consumer rights if there’s a fault or problem with the car after purchase.

For more information you can visit www.consumerprotection.govt.nz


Nicola Campbell

Nicola Campbell

The most important element for Nicola as an Adviser is knowing she can provide clients all the information and options they need to ensure their family and financial well being is protected.
Nicola Campbell

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