5 Tips for Buying a used car in New Zealand
- Make sure you have a valid driver license for driving in New Zealand – written in English or a non-English license with your International Driving Permit (IDP)
- Use multiple ways to find cars for sale – not just one! It will make the process faster
- Inspect the car and/or get a pre-purchase mechanical check before purchasing. Find out more inBuying a Car in New Zealand Step 1: Car Inspection
- Make sure the car has a valid Warrant of Fitness (WOF)
- Know what paperwork you need to complete to get ownership of the vehicle – the MR13A and MR13B.
For more information on these tips, see10 Tips for Buying a Secondhand Car in New Zealand.
TradeMe is an auction website – think eBay but for New Zealand! Here, locals and travellers list their secondhand vehicles from all over the country. We recommend organising with the seller to view the vehicle before bidding.
Pros of TradeMe
- Browsing vehicles is easy by using the search filters
- There are some better quality vehicles than what you might find on Backpacker Facebook Groups (see below)
Cons of TradeMe
- Sellers often want the best price, so getting a “bargain” is more challenging
Local Buy & Sell Groups
“Buy & Sell” groups on Facebook are a popular way to find cars for sale in New Zealand. There are Buy & Sell groups for most towns and cities in New Zealand where locals sell their used vehicles, so when you are staying somewhere for a while, request an invite to the local group.
Pros of Local Buy & Sell Groups
- Vehicles are convenient to view from your location
Cons of Local Buy & Sell Groups
- Mostly locals use these groups, so they often want the best price for the vehicle
- Limited choice
Backpacker Car Buy & Sell Groups
Additionally, there are backpacker car Buy & Sell groups where travellers list their used cars and campervans after their travels. Take a look at this Backpacker Cars Buy&Sell New Zealand group. For more advice on using Facebook Groups, see15 Simple Tips to Kill It on Backpacking Facebook Groups.
Pros of Backpacker Car Buy & Sell Groups
- Lots of choice for cars with camping gear
- Often cheap, as sellers usually want to make a quick sale before leaving the country
Cons of Backpacker Car Buy & Sell Groups
- Most cars are sold from Auckland or Christchurch, which isn’t always convenient
- Not all cars are of high quality – expect them to have done a lot of kilometres
Yes, physical notice boards are still a thing here in New Zealand and you’ll often find a car listed for sale on one. The most common type of notice board you’ll find are supermarket noticeboards, which are displayed either at the entrance of the supermarket or after the cashier counters. Cars are also posted for sale in binders or notice boards in the hostels of New Zealand’s larger cities, like Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown.
Pros of Notice Boards
- Cars listed are conveniently located in the local area for a viewing
- Backpacker hostel notice boards might have a few bargains from travellers wanting to make a quick sale
- You don’t need to find good WiFi!
Cons of Notice Boards
- Limited choice
- Some listings can be out-of-date
- Less convenient than searching online
Car dealerships work a little differently, as you are buying from a professional seller rather than a private seller. There are car dealerships selling used cars all over the country, usually in large towns and cities. Note that many car dealerships list cars on TradeMe (see above), so that can be a good way to find a dealership and see what sort of vehicles they are offering.
Pros of Car Dealerships
- Cars are professionally cleaned
- Slightly more consumer protection
- Multiple options in one place
- Usually a faster buying process than dealing with a private seller
Cons of Car Dealerships
- Usually more expensive than buying with a private seller
Rental Sales & Buyback Schemes
Some car and campervan rental companies sell off their older models when they update their fleet. Most car rental companies are located in Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington and may have cars for sale listed on their website. Additionally, some rental companies offer a buyback scheme where you can buy a vehicle from the company then sell it back to them at a pre-arranged date and price – think of it as like long-term rental.For car rental companies to browse, take a look at the following:
- The Best Car Rental Companies in Auckland
- The Best Car Rental Companies in Christchurch
- The Best Car Rental Companies in Queenstown
Pros of Rental Sales & Buyback Schemes
- Cheaper than renting a car if you’re in New Zealand for more than a month
- Usually a fast buying and selling process
- Cars are usually maintained to a high standard
Cons of Rental Sales & Buyback Schemes
- Usually more expensive than buying from private sellers
- Limited locations, which might be inconvenient for some travellers.