1. Work out your priorities
What do you really need?
- Compare makes and models
- Check online car reviews and forums
- Check safety and environmental ratings
- Understand the difference between buying a car privately and buying from a dealer (buying privately gives you very few rights)
2. Check your finances
How much do you want to spend?
- Look at how much money you have coming in and going out
- Estimate the total cost of a car including running costs
- If you get a loan, shop for the best interest rates and get pre-approval from a lender
3. View and test cars
Does it look and feel right?
- Check important documents
- Consumer Information Notice (CIN)
- service receipts
- current warrant of fitness (WoF)
- current licence (rego)
- Do basic checks
- Ask about previous water damage
- For used EVs, get a battery state of health (SOH) test, and check the charging cable meets safety and compatibility standards
- Take it for a test drive
4. Call in the experts
Does everything stack up?
- Identify hidden problems
- Get the car inspected
- find pre-purchase vehicle inspection provider
5. Before you sign on the dotted line
Are you getting the best deal?
- Be wary of any offers too good to be true
- Calculate car’s true cost if you borrow
- Make sure any add-ons, eg extended warranties and accessories, are worth it
- Read any contracts or agreements carefully
6. Let’s go
How can you get on the road?
- Let Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency know you bought a car
- Safeguard yourself with insurance
- Stay road worthy with regular servicing and current WoF and licence (rego)
- Save sales documents and service receipts, CIN notices and all other related paperwork to avoid problems