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Guide to Selling


Guide to selling your vehicle

Everything you need to know to get the best price and the quickest sale for your car.

Preparing for sale

Writing the advertisement


Meeting the buyer


Before we even get into it, first think seriously about this question. Do you want to sell your car privately, or trade it in? Selling your car privately can mean more money in your pocket but also more hassle and be time consuming as well. The associated clean-up effort, cost, time taken up, bargaining and chance of not selling it can be very stressful. Trading it in to a dealer on the other hand, is generally as simple as settling a price and handing over the keys. How much is your time worth?

Preparing for Sale

A little elbow grease is worth the effort. The stink of dogs and mud splashed down the side is not the best way to sell a car. It’s also worth checking out your local professional car cleaners for a valet clean.

If you're doing it yourself...

-Do the bits you don’t normally do – door, boot and bonnet openings, plus the engine bay.

-Vacuum the carpets and polish the hard surfaces with a good quality car cleaning kit. Throw out all rubbish and anything loose

-Clean windows inside and out. Polish trims, especially chrome

-Black the tyres

-Make sure you remove all residue and polishing dust, so it doesn’t look like you've ‘just cleaned it’

-If you're a smoker, stick a deodoriser in a couple of weeks in advance of the sale (and DON’T smoke in it!)

-Top up all the fluids, including power steering, automatic transmission, window washers, radiators. It’s also good to change the oil, to help create the impression the car has been looked after. Old oil is dark brown or black rather than a reassuringly clean gold colour. Check the tire pressures are even.

-Make sure all receipts and ‘associated materials’ are on hand, like service records, so you can show the buyer if they ask.

-Go to the NZTA Transaction Centre and complete the Notice Of Disposal online forms. These forms can also be found at your local NZ Post Office, VINZ or VTNZ.

Ensure you’ve paid all outstanding registration fees. You’re still liable for them if it’s unregistered when you sell it.

Writing the advertisement for your car

The ad you write must be clear, to the point and honest. If there’s a ding on one of the doors and you’ve written ‘excellent condition’, a buyer may wonder what other hidden problems there are.

What are the essentials?

Year Make, Model, Series, Body Type, engine, transmission, mileage and general condition. For example “2002 Holden Commodore VX Stationwagon 3.8L V6 Auto, great condition 150,000km”

Detail additional information and attempt to relate a benefit (but don’t waffle). For example, “17in Momo mags, reliable family runabout”.

Mileage – include it, especially if it’s low or average for the age of your car. If mileage is high, you may want to focus on other features (but bear in mind honesty is best if someone asks).

Minimise abbreviations other than for standard issue stuff, like ‘Auto’.

Price your car. Check out what similar cars are going for, and see how your model compares. Go too high and the phone won’t ring, go to low and you may as well have saved yourself the trouble and traded it in. Nearly everyone thinks their car is worth more than it is.

Checklist for Advertising

The first step is making sure you have all the following information to hand.

-What are your car details?

-Selling price


-Engine number or Registration and expiry date

-Digital photos of your car

-Complete the Notice Of Disposal forms online at the NZTA.

-A credit card

Meeting a potential buyer

Use common sense.

-Ask to see their license

-Ensure your insurance will cover their test drive

-Think of a route that will include a bit of everything – urban, curves and motorway and stick to that to keep tiki-touring to a minimum

-Go with them as a passenger

-If they want a 3rd party inspection insist on taking the car yourself, and agree on a known car inspection service such as the AA.

Great – they want to buy it!

Again, the simple application of common sense will ensure everything goes smoothly and you don’t get ripped off.

Be prepared to accept a deposit to hold the car while the full amount is sorted out. If you do, write a receipt that includes both parties names, addresses, signatures, the fact the amount of money is a deposit, car details, mileage and date.

Confirm your details and complete the Notice Of Disposal forms online through the NZTA Transaction Centre.

The buyer is required by law to notify the NZTA of any change in ownership (Notice Of Acquisition), this also can be completed online or you can supply the buyer with the correct forms, these can be obtained from NZPOST, VINZ and VTNZ.

Accept only cash or cleared online bank transfer before handing over the keys. Check with your bank to confirm clearance.

Auto Trader New Zealand