How to Find Used Cars for Sale in New Zealand


Find Secondhand Cars for Sale in New Zealand

Doing an extended road trip in New Zealand? That’s awesome! Buying a car is much more cost-effective than renting long-term, where you’ll get the most affordable deals by buying a used car. Finding used cars for sale in New Zealand can be done both online through various websites and in-person at car dealerships and on notice boards. We’ll go through some of the best ways to find secondhand cars for sale in New Zealand in this guide.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in Buying a Car in New Zealand Step by Step.

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 in Buying 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, see the 10 Tips for Buying a Secondhand Car in New Zealand.

TradeMe © TradeMe

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
  • Some listings are from car dealerships who may advertise vehicles that are not available (this is commonly done to get potential customer contact details).
Pxhere© Pxhere

Facebook Groups

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, see the 15 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.
Pexels© Pexels

Notice Boards

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.
Pixabay© Pixabay

Car Dealerships

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
  • Some dealerships advertise vehicles that are not available (this is commonly done to get potential customer contact details).
Pixabay © Pixabay

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:

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.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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