Buying a car or campervan in New Zealand: local car dealers (II)

Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of buying a used car at a dealership

This is the second part of a series of posts on buying a car or camper van in New Zealand. In this article, I’m writing about buying from local car dealers.

Depending on what city you’re in, you’ll find that car dealerships are located in close proximity to one another, such as Moorhouse Avenue in Christchurch, which makes your car hunt quite easy in terms of time management and being able to see and inspect the car right away. However, most of these cater to locals and hence you may struggle to find campers or low budget, older models. Also bear in mind that car dealers

a) heavily mark up their prices, so you need to be prepared for some serious price negotiations, and

b) know all the tricks of how to make a bad car look good, so you need to know how to check a car for its faults before you go and scan dealerships for suitable vehicles.

Some bargaining points you can use to push the price down are the registration and WOF of your chosen vehicle. Every car needs a registration. A sticker on the front screen reveals its remaining validity, and during price negotiations the dealer will throw in a registration renewal if he does not want to lower the price. Be careful with the WOF, the warrant of fitness (MOT in the UK, TUV in Germany), the expiry date of which can also be seen on a sticker. If you buy a used car with only a couple of months WOF left, have your car inspected by a mechanic first – the dealer might just want to get rid of it as quickly as possible, knowing it would not make another WOF test without considerable costs for repairs and maintenance.

Finally, local car dealers normally offer assistance with formalities, such as buying your registration or helping you find suitable insurance. From personal experience I can tell you that our car dealer threw in a new registration and helped us with our insurance. A different car dealer even let us have a used car over night to test drive it. Sales tactics can be very creative.

So, scanning local car dealers for prospective vehicles can be a good way to get started. Cars are normally of better standard than old backpacker cars, but be sure you know what you get yourself into, have your chosen car inspected by an independent mechanic and don’t get ripped off by typical car sales tactics!

See here for a good checklist for buying a used car from Consumer NZ as a starter for ten.

Up next, local car dealers specialised in the backpackers’ or travellers’market.

Christina Hegele

About the author: Christina Hegele runs Sandal Road, a blog on her favourite destinations. It just so happened that 95% turned out to be about New Zealand. Follow Christina and her blog on Twitter, like her blog on Facebook, and subscribe to her Youtube channel. Alternatively, subscribe to her email newsletter at the top right of this blog.

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