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Buying a used car

Transfer a vehicle into your name — and check it is not stolen and there’s no money owing against it.

Check with the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) for updates on COVID-19, agents, registrations, and scam alerts.

NZTA

Buying a car

Check if your dealer is registered — if you buy from a registered trader, you have more places to turn if something goes wrong.

Motor vehicle traders’ register

Find out about:

  • safety features
  • crash testing
  • fuel economy
  • emissions
  • vehicle checks.

Choosing a safe and fuel-efficient vehicle

If you’re buying privately, you can search the Police database to check the car you want to buy is not stolen.

Check the car is not stolen

If you’re buying privately, you can use this register to see if the car has debts. You have to register to use the site and there’s a search fee.

Check the personal property securities register

You’ll need:

  • your NZ driver licence
  • the licence plate number of the car you’ve bought
  • a credit card to pay the fee.

Transfer your new car to your name

Vehicles with personalised plates

If you’re buying the plates as well as the vehicle

As well as changing the registration details with the NZTA you should:

  1. Check the person selling you the plates is actually the legal owner of the plates. Call LicenSys on 0800 REMAKE (0800 736 253) to find out. They can only provide a YES or NO answer due to privacy reasons.
  2. After you agree to buy the plates complete a Transfer of Entitlement Form. Keep a copy of the completed form as proof of the sale for your records.
    Transfer of Entitlement Form (PDF)
  3. Send the completed form to:

    Plate Entitlement Transfer
    LicenSys NZ Ltd
    PO Box 22078
    Otahuhu
    Auckland 1640

If the seller is keeping the plates

Ask them to have the registration plates changed to regular plates before they sell you the vehicle — they organise this through an NZTA agent like the AA.

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