It has been just two days since I bought my first car in New Zealand. Well, to be honest it wasn’t only my first car purchase in a foreign country; it is actually the first time ever that I bought a car!
However, if you are as inexperienced in second hand car buying as I was, make sure you inform yourself at least a bit beforehand. I will specify a couple of points which might be interesting for potential car owners:
  • Where to buy a car?
  • There are a few places where they sell used cars in Auckland but I would strongly recommend the ‘Ellerslie Racecourse’ in Greenlane East ( You can easily get there by train. Don’t forget to buy only a single way ticket because when you’re heading back home, you may already be driving in your new car!
  • How does it work at ‘Ellerslie Racecourse’?
  • The ‘Ellerslie Racecourse’ is a classic marketplace: There are hundreds of car sellers who try to get rid of their old vehicle. The cars are basically sorted by price but of course you can always try haggling about the price.
Firstly, have a general look around and then choose about three cars on which you want tohave a closer look.
  • What to check on the car?
  • This is probably the most difficult point but make sure you check the basics which are:
  • Cleanness of the car and the engine
  • Sound of the engine
  • Color and smell of the exhausts
  • Age and functionality of the breaks
  • Functionality of the lights and the radio
  • Did the car have an accident?
  • Does the car have a WOF (Warranty of Fitness)? When does it expire? Don’t even think about buying a car without a WOF!!!
  • Is the road tax paid?
  • If you find everything to be fine with the car, there are a few more steps to fulfill.
  • Check the ownership history of the car. There is a company located on ‘Ellerslie Racecourse’ called the VIR which checks whether the car is stolen or if there are any debts on the car. This service will cost you 30 bucks.
  • Mechanical Check. Call a mechanic (I can warmly recommend you the mobile car mechanic ‘Car Inspector: 0274959539, costs 140 bucks) and meet him somewhere outside the ‘Ellerslie Racecourse’. This will give you an opportunity to go for a test drive too!
The mechanic gives the car a thorough test and will hand you a list with everything that should be fixed or replaced in the car. Don’t hold off asking him whether he would recommend you to buy the car for a certain price.

  • Last but not least, try haggling a good price for the car. Pay attention that you don’t get ripped off by a car dealer! If you find an agreement give each other a warm handshake and go to a post office to change the ownership of the car. Now, you can call yourself a proud car owner!
Article by Sedrik Eichkorn, a student at Languages International