A shopper’s guide on how to buy a used car in New Zealand

With a record number of used cars making their way to New Zealand, it can be difficult to know where to start in your search for a new car. Here, Canstar takes the stress out of the process with some top tips to making your shopping experience a little bit easier. 

Set a price point 

Your first step should be to work out a budget – and stick to it. Setting an ideal range in terms of how much you are willing to pay will ensure your search is more streamlined. You may also want to consider whether you will be purchasing a car on finance, and if doing so will need to carefully consider your budget in terms of regular repayments. 

It’s worthwhile to note however that purchasing a car on finance can add around 10-13% in interest to the total cost of the car. 

Getting a car loan to pay for your new vehicle? Make sure you compare car loan providers first! Find out more, below.

Compare car loans with Canstar

Establish your needs

Determining your needs will give you an idea of the type of car to look for. Do you need a large car for a family? Will you be doing long-distance driving and need a fuel-efficient option? Which style do you prefer? These are all questions you must ask yourself before setting out for the car yard.

Fuel efficiency

Between the rise of electric vehicles (EVs), Auckland’s 11.5% petrol tax, and the global fuel prices forecast, fuel efficiency is certainly one of the key considerations when choosing a vehicle. 

Fuel efficiency determines how far your petrol, and it’s worth mentioning that newer cars, as well as those which have been maintained to a high standard are more likely to use fuel efficiently – offering you more bang for your buck.

In New Zealand, fuel efficiency is regulated through compulsory fuel economy labelling which is split into a six-star system. The difference between star ratings can be hundreds of dollars each year in petrol costs.

Look for the average yearly cost of petrol, which is based on the average kilometres driven per year and often promoted by sellers. 

NZ car safety ratings

There’s no point purchasing a car if it’s not going to safely get you from A to B. You can get an idea of how safe a car is through a star rating system conducted by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), which offers a maximum of 5-star ratings.

ANCAP safety ratings are completed through crash tests and the analysis of occupant and pedestrian protection as well as collision avoidance technologies. 

Car reviews

Unfortunately, some sellers may withhold information that can be detrimental to the value of the car. Whether you’re buying on TradeMe, through a car dealership or through other avenues, car reviews are valuable when it comes to trusting the buyer. 

Seek advice from friends, family, online reviews and experts before making an informed decision as to whether the car is right for you. 

Car insurance

Car insurance is one of the most important elements of the car buying process and we do not recommend driving your newly purchased vehicle anywhere without having organised this.

Offering protection from accidents, theft and other unexpected events, your level of cover will depend on a few of your personal choices (such as how much you want to pay each month in premiums). 

For more information about car insurance providers – and to see what policy will suit you best, take a look at our expert star ratings below.

Compare car insurance with Canstar

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