Vehicle buying tips

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Ready to buy your next car?

There’s plenty of places to buy a car these days, but one needs to take some caution and do a little homework first before committing to the purchase.

Make sure you know your rights – For example, buying a vehicle privately is generally cheaper than buying from a dealer, but you may not have the benefit of a warranty. Consider peace of mind –v– price when deciding where to purchase your next vehicle.

Here’s a few tips and guidelines to help make your next vehicle purchase easier.

  • Take a friend or family member with you to view the vehicle. Another set of eyes and ears can be very helpful
  • Take the car for a test drive including the motorway and try parking the car. You might find some blind spots. NOTE: always ask about insurance as you could be liable for any accidents
  • Does the car have a current Warrant of Fitness (WOF) and Registration? If not, you will need to consider these ‘on road costs’ into your purchase price. Diesel vehicles will incur Road User Charges (RUC) costs.
  • What sort of history does the car have? Number of owners, any accidents, NZ new or imported, leased, service record?
  • Have you checked that the car is not stolen and does not have any outstanding fines or debt owing? is a quick way to check or give us a call at Loansmart and we might be able to help.
  • Consider a pre-purchase mechanical inspection. Qualified inspectors can provide additional information and advice on the vehicle

A few checks you can perform yourself:

  • Try and view the car in dry conditions as it’s hard to spot imperfections and blemishes when wet
  • Are all the body panels straight? Ripples or indentation could suggest panel work
  • Make sure all seat belts work properly and check for excessive fraying
  • Check for excessive smoke from the exhaust
  • Are there odd noises coming from the engine like ticking sounds?
  • Check the body for rust spots or bubbles especially around structural areas, these can easily cause a car to fail its next WOF
  • Does the wear and tear of the body, pedals, interior match the age of the car?
  • Check the tread of the tyres. The minimum tread is 1.5mm.  Uneven tyre wear suggests misalignment. Check the quality of the spare tyre too as some cars have space-saver tyres
  • Does the car have a Cambelt? Usually these need to be replaced every 100,000kms, some vehicles earlier. Belt driven engines have a front cover that is usually plastic, which you will be able to see is relatively easily removed, whereas on most chain driven engines, the front of the engine is not removable.
  • Test the shock absorbers by pushing the corner of the car down. It shouldn’t bounce more than twice
  • Contact your usual mechanical service centre to get an estimate of service and maintenance costs moving forward – they will be able to tell you too if it’s cam-belt or chain-driven

Useful websites:

Vehicle buying tips
Vehicle buying tips