WHERE TO BUY A CAR IN NEW ZEALAND
Thousands of vehicles are listed on websites, in newspapers & for sale at car dealers around the country. Below we outline the most popular places to go, both online & in person when buying a car in New Zealand.
DESIGNED FOR TRAVELLERS TO NZ
VEHICLE FINDING SERVICES
Ed’s Campervans – Ed’s vehicles come with inbuilt mattresses, roof tents and more, each customised vehicle is designed with one goal in mind: a hassle-free holiday.
Sidines have backpacker vans for sale and they will sell your van on your behalf when you leave New Zealand. They charge a small admin fee and offer the optional service of renting out your van while waiting for it to sell.
Travel Cars Ltd are based in Grey Lynn and specialise in selling cars, campervans and station wagons. They also offer the opportunity to reserve vehicles while you are overseas.
Chilli Rentals are based near to Auckland airport. They specialise in selling cars and vans to travellers. They have a range of vehicles to suit all budgets and offer a buy back option when it is time to leave New Zealand.
Vehicle Services NZ offer a car finding service to suit all budgets. This includes pre-purchase inspection, VIR security check, servicing and repairing vehicle if required and a new WOF.
VISIT AUCKLAND CAR FAIRS & CAR MARKETS
The Auckland Car Fair is held at the Ellerslie Racecourse every Sunday. This is New Zealand’s largest car fair. It is worth getting there at the start of the fair so that you get a first look at cars and campervans for sale.
The Auckland City Car Fair is held in central Auckland every Saturday.
The Auckland Backpackers Carmarket is held in central Auckland daily. Experiences of buyers there in the past means that we recommend if buying from the car market that you get an independent pre-purchase inspection done (not one arranged through the car market by a local garage). You could also ask to meet with or phone and speak to the owner of the vehicle if they are not on site to ask them about the car and to get a sense of whether the seller is a genuine backpacker.
SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE FOR OUR MAP SHOWING WHERE THESE ARE LOCATED.
BROWSE & RESEARCH ON THE TRADE ME WEBSITE
Trade Me is New Zealand’s most popular website and is similar to Craigslist, ebay and Gumtree. On the site you will see thousands of used vehicles which are listed all over the country by both dealers and private sellers.
Cars are sold by both an auction system and a fixed offer price called a ‘buy now’.
Trade Me is useful when researching to get an indication of the cost of cars, campervans and motorbikes. It is also a great place to buy a car, but we recommend that you do still get pre-purchase inspection and a car history check, especially if you are not able to meet the owner and view the car yourself in person. If a seller is not obliging when you try and arrange a pre-purchase inspection it is not likely they are trustworthy to purchase the vehicle from.
To create an account with Trade Me you do need a mobile phone number and a New Zealand address. Many will use the address of a local backpacker hostel to get set up.
PEOPLE IN SMALLER TOWNS ALSO NEED TO SELL THEIR CARS
Smaller towns will often have a sports field, street or road that cars with ‘FOR SALE’ signs are on. Ask at the local i-site visitor information centre for details about car fairs or where locals would sell their cars.
CHECK OUT NOTICEBOARDS ONLINE & IN BACKPACKERS
The Backpacker Board website has an online noticeboard with car & campervans for sale by other travellers.
Car sellers often use physical noticeboards to display cars or vans for sale in backpackers. You will find them in Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown & Christchurch as well as hot fruit picking regions like Kerikeri, Te Puke, Hawkes Bay and Blenheim.
You will need to walk in to the backpackers and make sure you have a pen and paper to jot down the details.
Check out a comprehensive list of backpacker hostels around New Zealand for more details about where to go.
VISIT THE CAR MARKETS IN CHRISTCHURCH
The Canterbury Car Fair is held in Christchurch at the Addington Racecourse every Sunday from 9am till noon
The Christchurch Backpackers Car Market is held daily in Battersea St in the city.
TURNERS CAR AUCTIONS & CAR DEALERSHIPS
Turners Car Auction are based around the country and hold weekly onsite auctions on a variety of vehicles.
You have opportunity to view the vehicles before purchasing.
There are a large number of car dealers around the country who specialise in low cost vehicles. The advantage of using a dealer is that they are likely to offer you a warranty for a certain time frame from your date of purchase.
The Yellow Pages directory is a great resource for dealerships around the country. Type in ‘used cars’.
READ NEWSPAPER CLASSIFIEDS
Some dealers and private sellers will still advertise cars for sale in local newspapers. If you are in Auckland, check out the New Zealand Herald. Otherwise ask in any dairy or convenience store what the local paper is in that town or city.
We recommend giving yourself up to a week when arriving in New Zealand to look for a car. If you are short on time and rushing then chances are you could make a decision that could cost you later on if there are mechanical issues that you did not take the time to find out about. We also recommend you think carefully about all the costs and expenses of running a car and factor in the logistics of selling a car when you leave New Zealand.
It is important to budget for pre-purchase inspections. As these can cost around $140 each, it would be best to budget for 3-4 inspections. It can be tempting not to spend that extra money but it might save you hundreds in the long run.