Rund ums Auto

Autokauf und -verkauf in Neuseeland

Wenn Du planst, in Neuseeland ein Auto zu kaufen, haben wir Dir hier zahlreiche Tipps zusammengestellt:

  • Internet –
  • Local newspaper, for example „Buy Sell Swap“ (Nelson)
  • Listings in backpacker hostels, supermarkets and language schools (advantage: buying from backpackers who have relevant experience/ disadvantage: listings often old)
  • Used-car dealers (in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch there are special “Backpacker Car Markets“) (advantage: dealer’s warranty / disadvantage: more expensive than private buying)
  • Many backpackers or locals park their car on the side of a main road with a piece of paper in the window, on which they write “for sale”, the price („o.n.o.“ = or near offer) and a phone number
  • The best indicator for the quality of a car is the so called WOF (Warrant of Fitness – see below): the longer the WOF is valid for (max. 6 months for cars built before the year 2000/ 12 months for cars built in 2000 or later), the more likely it is that the car is of good quality
  • Compare the car to same models with similar kilometres on – if the car is a lot cheaper or a lot more expensive than the comparable car something is probably wrong with the offer…
  • It is better if you do not buy a car that has more than 200.000 to 220.000 km, the price should not be below $2000.
  • Manual cars are often a bit cheaper than automatic ones. You will have to get used to changing gear with your left hand but pedals and gears are in the same order as in Europe.
  • Stick to Japanese makes like Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Subaru. Their models usually last long and there are enough garages. For European cars it can be difficult to get replacement parts and repairs are expensive.
  • Take your time and carefully examine everything you want to see.
  • Inspect the car on a dry sunny day if possible – it’s easier to see the visual clues to the car’s real condition. See the safety checklist below
  • The older and cheaper the car, the more likely there will be something wrong, particularly once it’s done more than 100,000 km. Be especially wary of engine wear and rust.
  • Know what you can fix and the cost of having the work done.
  • Take these inspection aids:
    • a check list of things to look for
    • a magnet to check for hidden rust repairs
    • a torch to look under the bonnet
    • a friend – preferably someone with a bit of car knowledge.

Check that the car has a current warrant of fitness – vehicles for sale must have a warrant of fitness less than one month old. However, you may buy the car ‚as is where is‘. Under this option you’ll need to give the seller a written promise that you’ll only drive the car from where you buy it to a garage or inspection station to get a warrant. With such a vehicle though, you’ll most likely have to pay for repairs to bring the car up to warrant standard. Ask the seller for any service or repair history.
If you’re buying privately, make sure you transfer ownership legally so that you don’t get stuck with any unpaid fines or vehicle licence fees.


Most older vehicles have some rust. Whether it’s a problem depends on how much and where it is.
Look for signs of rust on the main structural supports (structural corrosion). This is dangerous. A vehicle with rust in the areas shown in the diagram will likely fail a warrant of fitness inspection and repairs will be costly.

Rust on the car body can also be a problem. Look for bubbling paintwork. It’s possible that the use of a filler may be masking the problem. In some cases you can tell if this is the case by running a magnet over the car – it won’t stick to the filler. However, the magnet test won’t work if the filler contains iron dust.

Also look for rust:

  • on weight-bearing parts and steering wheel mounting
  • under carpets, the boot liner and in the spare tyre area
  • inside the petrol cap door


A recent paint job could be an attempt to mask a problem. First, try the magnet test (see rust above). Also look closely for:

  • a rippled finish – this could indicate body work underneath
  • different shades of colour in different parts – check for overspray or different shades under the wheel arches and on the rubber strips around the windows.


To test for worn shock absorbers:

  • stand at a corner of the car, push it up and down to get a rhythmic motion. Then stop. If the car doesn’t stop immediately, the shocks are worn. Can’t get any movement at all? The shocks definitely need replacing.
  • repeat this test on all four corners. Next, stand back to view the entire car. Does it sag to either side? To the front or back? Any sagging may result from defective springs or shock absorbers.


Check all the tyres, including the spare. Legally, treads must be at least 1.5mm deep across 3/4 of the tread pattern around the entire tyre. However, if there are tread depth indicators the tread depth must be at least 1.5 mm in these areas.
Look for:

  • indications of tread wear on the tread wear indicator (on most tyres) in the tyre’s centre groove – this shows up at 1.6mm. If you can see it, the tyre most likely needs replacing
  • uneven tyre wear – this may indicate a steering, suspension or alignment problem. Turn the steering wheel to full lock one way then the other and check the inside of each front tyre.


Open and shut all the doors, the bonnet and the boot, making sure they are aligned properly and move smoothly. Also check that the windows open and shut easily, and that they will stay open halfway.


An exhaust leak is dangerous – exhaust fumes getting inside your car could cause you to pass out from carbon monoxide poisoning.
To check for leaks in the muffler and exhaust system:

  • look for soft areas, brittle areas or areas where putty is used
  • protecting your hand with a rag, temporarily block the end of the exhaust pipe while the engine is running. The build-up of pressure should blow your hand away from the pipe. No real pressure? The system has a leak that needs repair.


Things to check:

  • push, pull or twist all dashboard switches and knobs to check they work
  • have someone outside the car check that all lights and indicators work, including the brake lights
  • try the wipers, the radio, the levers for opening the boot and bonnet
  • can you adjust the mirrors?

Also check for old or loose wiring under the dashboard.

Seat and safety belts

Things to check:

  • the driver’s seat is comfortable and you can adjust it to fit you. Look for possible damage under seat covers, if fitted
  • all seats are properly secured to the floor
  • all seats have safety belts
  • the safety belts‘ buckle and retractor mechanisms work
  • all belts lock up tightly when suddenly pulled
  • the webbing is not frayed or faded – this can indicate UV damage which weakens the belt. The belt may need replacing.


Leaks can indicate wear (especially from rust) and poor care. They can be difficult and expensive to fix.
Look for dampness or water stains on seats and carpets. If possible, lift up the carpets and check underneath, including in the boot area.


A dirty engine can point to vehicle neglect. But a sparkling clean engine may be the result of a recent steam clean undertaken to mask defects.
Things to look for:

  • frayed or burnt wiring, oil streaks and poorly attached or damaged hoses
  • petrol leaks around the carburettor and fuel lines (check carefully)
  • black soupy oil – can indicate a worn-out engine
  • oil leaks or other drips under the car.

With the engine going:

  • take off the oil filler cap – if large amounts of gas come out (especially with a blue smoky tinge) the engine is badly worn. Don’t forget to replace it
  • Let the engine idle for a few minutes and have a friend watch the exhaust for blue smoke when you push the accelerator. While a single puff is okay, continuous blue smoke means a badly-worn engine. (This test only works on petrol-fuelled cars.)



  • generally for leaks, rust or water stains
  • for leaks in the radiator hose and where the cylinder head meets the engine block.

When the engine is cool – remove the cap to check the water:

  • a little rust colour is okay
  • a green or blue tint – from coolant or engine conditioner – is okay too
  • any oil in the water indicates a major problem
  • perfectly clear water won’t tell you much – it’s probably just been changed.

Don’t forget to replace the cap.

Before you get in the car

Check that the car is insured. You may be liable for damages if you drive an uninsured vehicle.
Switch on the ignition, but don’t start the engine
Check that:

  • warning lights go on. If they don’t, there may be a fault
  • the oil and coolant level lights go off after a few seconds
  • the hand-brake light goes off when the brake is released.

Any anti-lock braking system (ABS) or airbags lights (SRS) will have their own testing sequence. Check the vehicle’s manual to see what this should be. Watch for any lights that stay on – especially those for brakes or coolant level.
Start the engine, with the engine cold if possible
Check that:

  • the starter motor turns over quickly and the motor ‚catches‘ quickly
  • there are no odd noises like backfires or a rattling exhaust
  • the oil pressure light goes off after the car has been running for a few seconds
  • there’s no blue smoke coming from the exhaust.(See note under Engine)

While you drive,

  • Listen for any odd noises that could indicate problems:
    • clanging or clunking noises when starting and stopping could mean problems with engine mountings, exhaust, suspension, transmission or the drive shaft
    • tapping or knocking noises could be from a failing rod bearing, piston or piston pin
    • grinding or whining can mean worn gears or bearings – these are expensive repairs
    • squealing noises when you brake may mean new brake pads or linings are needed.

Test it out

Using an empty carpark, drive at low speed on full steering lock in each direction. Rhythmic clunks from the front of the vehicle may indicate the drive shaft joints are badly worn and need replacing.
Be aware of any smells:

  • a burning oil smell may indicate that the engine is worn
  • petrol fumes may signal an exhaust leak. Leaks can lead to carbon monoxide getting inside the car and you could potentially pass out behind the wheel.

Test out the vehicle’s acceleration:

  • when you put your foot down, does the engine pull smoothly, without any stalls or power loss?
  • when you take your foot off does the engine power down smoothly?

Find a hilly road that is safe for a test drive. How does the car drive up hill? This is a good time to check for blue exhaust smoke (from burning oil). Go down the hill, foot off the accelerator. At the bottom push the accelerator. If the engine is old it may take a while to accelerate and you may see a big puff of smoke from the exhaust.
Test out the vehicle’s brakes. Do they:

  • respond quickly to a touch of the pedal?
  • stop the vehicle in a straight line, without pulling to either side?

Find a quiet stretch of road and try an emergency stop, from about 30 km/h. Put on the brakes firmly, but don’t slam them. The car should slow down quickly and in a straight line (if the car starts to veer to one side, release the brakes and correct the steering).
Test out the vehicle’s gears:

  • Can you change the gears easily and smoothly?
  • Try changing down quickly a few times – is there a crunching noise? The gearbox may need work.
  • If the car’s an automatic, do the gears change smoothly? Unexpected changes or bumping noises aren’t good.
  • Is the transmission oil clear red? A burnt smell indicates problems.

Stop the car, and leave the engine running
Check under the bonnet for:

  • smoke
  • oil or water leaks
  • problems with the cooling or electrical systems.

Before you purchase a vehicle, an NZTA agent can check to see whether it is registered and licensed, or has been reported stolen. It’s a good idea to do this before you buy the vehicle, because once you have bought it:

  • you will be liable for any outstanding fees owing on the vehicle
  • you may lose the vehicle if it has been stolen.

Once you’ve bought a motor vehicle, you need to notify the NZTA within seven days of the sale. The seller may want to confirm that you’ve done this before they hand over the vehicle. You need to do the following:

  • Obtain the vehicle’s Certificate of registration from the seller. The form for changing the ownership is printed on the back of the certificate. If the seller has lost the certificate, you will need a buyer’s change of ownership form (MR13B), available from the post office
  • Complete the change of ownership form and give it to the post office with the appropriate fee.
  • Show the agent your New Zealand driver licence as evidence of identification. If you don’t have your driver licence, you’ll need to show other identification that includes your full name, signature and date of birth.
  • Ask the agent to give you a transfer receipt. Take this to the seller when you pick up the vehicle – it shows you have changed the vehicle’s registration into your name.

A new Certificate of registration, showing that you are registered as the owner, will be sent to you (give them our office address) once you have completed the change of ownership. The Certificate of registration isn’t legal title for the vehicle – it is simply a record of who is responsible for the vehicle.

  • If you buy and drive a vehicle in New Zealand you have to have Insurance. If you have an older car that isn’t worth a lot of money we recommend the so called „Third Party Insurance“: If you have a car crash and it was your fault, the insurance will cover all property damage on the car(s) of other people involved (minus percentage excess), it won’t cover the damage on your own car though. If you have an old car it might not be worth it to repair the damage and you should buy a new car instead.
  • One of the only and most comprehensive vehicle insurances for backpackers/tourists (who stay in New Zealand for up to one year) is the Third Party Insurance by AA, the New Zealand Automobile Association. You can book this insurance in their offices in every major city in New Zealand. You can get insured for different periods of time.
  • Insurance excess is the part, which the policy holder has to pay in case of claim. Only the amount above this is covered by insurance.

Motor vehicle licensing is where you pay a fee to use your vehicle on public roads. The fee helps to pay for roading projects and road safety programmes.

Motor vehicle licensing is often incorrectly called registration. However, registration is different – it is where a vehicle is added to the Motor Vehicle Register and given registration plates. The combination of numbers and letters on the plate is used to identify the motor vehicle.

How do I relicense my motor vehicle?

You’ll receive a relicensing notice in the mail two to four weeks before your licensing fee is due. It will set out the fees and your options. You can pay for your motor vehicle licence at an NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) agent e.g. Post Office.

Relicense your motor vehicle online

It’s quick and easy to relicense your vehicle online at NZTA’s Transaction Centre. We’ll send the label to you in the post.

What to do with your licence label

When you pay the licensing fee, you get a label that shows the date your licence expires. You must display this label on the left-hand side of your motor vehicle’s windscreen.
Your motor vehicle must have a current warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness before you can get a licence label or use the motor vehicle on the road.

What if I don’t relicense in time?

If your motor vehicle is unlicensed, you’ll be sent notices to remind you that you need to relicense it.

  • Six weeks after your licence expires, you’ll receive an overdue notice.
  • If you’ve still taken no action six months after the original licence or exemption expiry date, you’ll receive a warning notice.
  • If the vehicle remains unlicensed for 12 months, its registration will be cancelled. You’ll be sent a final notice two to four weeks before this happens. The NZTA will then use a debt collection agency to recover outstanding licence fees.

What should I do if I don’t get the notices?

Not all owners receive all the notifications outlined here – it depends on the address recorded on the Motor Vehicle Register and when the ownership transferred to the new owner’s name. If you don’t receive any of these notices, you are still liable for licensing fees. If your licence has expired and you haven’t received a notice, don’t wait – use a licensing form (MR1B), available from an NZTA agent.
Note also that the New Zealand Police and local authorities fine owners caught using unlicensed motor vehicles on the road. You could be fined $200 for not displaying a current licence on your vehicle.

I’ve bought a vehicle without a licence

You’ll only be required to pay from the date you or the seller notifies the NZTA of the change of ownership, not the date the licence was due. The seller is liable for the unpaid fees before the change of ownership date.

WOF Neuseeland

A warrant of fitness (WoF) is a periodic safety inspection that is compulsory for light vehicles (eg, most cars, vans, utes and 4WDs).

  • Vehicles first registered anywhere less than six years ago must have WoF inspections every 12 months.
  • All other vehicles must have WoF inspections every six months.

Who carries out the WoF safety check?

Approved garages and testing stations (WoF agents) carry out WoF inspections. There are around 3,500 WoF agents in New Zealand. To find one near you, look in the Yellow pages.

What does the WoF inspection include?

The WoF inspection is a general safety check, and includes:

  • tyre condition (including tread depth)
  • brake operation
  • structural condition (Rust is not allowed in certain areas)
  • lights (Are all bulbs working? Do lights comply?)
  • glazing (Is your windscreen safe?)
  • windscreen washers and wipers
  • doors (Do they open and close safely?)
  • safety belts (Must not be faded or damaged; buckles must work properly)
  • airbags (if fitted)
  • speedometer (Must be working)
  • steering and suspension (Must be safe and secure)
  • exhaust (There must be no leaks and the exhaust must not be smoky or loud)
  • fuel system (There must be no leaks)

Note that a warrant of fitness inspection isn’t a prepurchase inspection. It doesn’t cover many areas of a vehicle’s condition — for example, it doesn’t cover:

  • engine, clutch, gearbox and differential
  • lubricant levels and condition
  • brake pad thickness or life expectancy
  • paint work condition and rust in non-structural areas

The WoF label

If your vehicle passes its WoF check, a WoF label will be attached to the inside of the front windscreen, on the same side as the steering wheel. The circle showing the month the WoF expires will be punched out when the WoF is issued. You must have your vehicle inspected again before the expiry date on the label.
It’s illegal to drive a motor vehicle on the road if:

  • it doesn’t meet the WoF requirements, or
  • it doesn’t display a valid WoF sticker

What if my vehicle fails its WoF inspection?

If your vehicle fails its WoF inspection and your old WoF has expired, you are not allowed to drive it on the road (unless it is being operated solely for the purpose of bringing it into compliance and obtaining a new WoF — and provided the vehicle is safe to be operated for that purpose). When all the areas that required attention have been fixed, the reinspection is free of charge if you return the vehicle to the same WoF agent within 28 days of the first inspection.

  • Complete the Notice of person selling/disposing of motor vehicle form (MR13A) and post it to NZTA Palmerston North Office, Private Bag 11777, Palmerston North 4442
  • Ask the buyer to give you a transfer receipt to show they are registered in respect of the vehicle before you hand over the vehicle.
  • Make sure you and the new owner complete change of ownership forms within seven days of the sale. If you don’t, you could be liable for the new owner’s speed camera tickets, licensing fees and any fines they may receive for not displaying a current WoF or a current licence. Ask them to show you one of the following documents as evidence they’ve changed the vehicle into their name:
    • a change of ownership transfer receipt
    • an email confirmation page (if completed transaction online)
    • a receipted Notice of change of ownership (form MR13B).
  • If you sell your car through a registered trader they should notify the change of ownership for you, but it is wise to check that they have done this.

Call the motor vehicle registration contact centre on 0800 108 809 if you have any questions about:

  • your ownership responsibilities
  • where to obtain any of the forms, or
  • where to find an NZTA agent.

Autofahren in Neuseeland

Zu Deiner eigenen Sicherheit (und der anderer Verkehrsteilnehmer) empfehlen wir, nachfolgende Informationen zum Autofahren in Neuseeland durchzulesen. Ergänzend dazu findest Du auf DriveSafe weitere Informationen zu diesem Thema. Ebenso solltest Du Dir Zeit nehmen, den neuseeländischen Online-Test für Fahrer aus dem Ausland zu absolvieren!

Fahre immer auf der linken Straßenseite. Nimm Dir nach einer Pause bitte die Zeit, Dich wieder an den Linksverkehr zu gewöhnen, bevor Du weiterfährst. Man vergisst schnell, wo man sich befindet!

Vor dem Abbiegen immer blinken.
Halte vollständig an und gewähre allen Fahrzeugen Vorfahrt.



Verlangsame Deine Fahrt, sei bereit anzuhalten und gewähre allen Fahrzeugen Vorfahrt.
An Kreuzungen, an denen ein Fahrzeug den Weg eines anderen kreuzt und beide an Stopp- oder Vorfahrtsschildern warten (oder an Kreuzungen ohne Beschilderung), gelten besondere Vorfahrtsregeln.


Gewähre beim Abbiegen allen Fahrzeugen, die nicht abbiegen, Vorfahrt.

Kein Linksabbiegen bei roter Ampel
In Neuseeland darf an einer roten Ampel nicht nach links abgebogen werden.

Reisezeiten werden in Neuseeland schnell unterschätzt.
Entfernungen können auf der Karte kurz erscheinen, aber neuseeländische Straßen sind schmaler als Du es eventuell gewöhnt bist, führen durch bergiges Gelände und reichen von Schnellstraßen bis zu unbefestigten Schotterstraßen.

Wenn Du müde bist, steigt das Unfallrisiko. Hier einige Tipps, die helfen aufmerksam zu bleiben.

  • Ruhe Dich vor einer langen Fahrt gut aus.
  • Lege alle zwei Stunden eine Pause ein.
  • Wechsle Dich, wenn möglich, beim Fahren ab.
  • Vermeide schwere Mahlzeiten und trinke viel.
  • Solltest Du müde werden, versuche, für bis zu 40 Minuten zu schlafen.
  • Solltest Du sehr müde sein, suche eine Unterkunft für die Nacht.

Geschwindigkeitsschilder zeigen die zulässige Höchstgeschwindigkeit an. Manchmal sollte die Geschwindigkeit jedoch aufgrund von Straßen- oder Wetterbedingungen verringert werden.
In Neuseeland gelten verschiedene Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzungen. Achte auf die Schilder. Wenn kein Schild auf eine niedrigere Höchstgeschwindigkeit hinweist, ist die Geschwindigkeit auf Neuseelands Hauptverkehrsstraßen zumeist auf 100 km/h begrenzt.

Wenn nicht anders angegeben, ist die Höchstgeschwindigkeit in Wohngebieten auf 50 km/h begrenzt.

Laut Gesetz muss jede Person im Fahrzeug einen Sicherheitsgurt tragen – ganz egal, ob sie vorn oder hinten sitzt.

Alkohol und Autofahren passen nicht zusammen – in Neuseeland wird Trunkenheit am Steuer strikt gehandelt und die Strafen sind hart.

Die meisten Straßen in Neuseeland sind zweispurig mit Überholspuren in regelmäßigen Abständen. Von diesen sollte, wenn möglich, Gebrauch gemacht werden. Das Überfahren einer durchgängigen gelben Linie auf Deiner Seite des Mittlestreifens ist verboten. Diese gelbe Linie zeigt an, dass das Überholen hier zu gefährlich ist.

Viele Straßen in Neuseeland führen über einspurige Brücken. An diesen Brücken muss dem Gegenverkehr gegebenenfalls Vorfahrt gewährt werden. Diese Schilder zeigen an, dass Du auf eine einspurige Brücke zufährst. Verlangsame Deine Fahrt und achte auf Gegenverkehr. Der kleinere rote Pfeil zeigt an, welche Fahrtrichtung Vorfahrt zu gewähren hat.

Diese Schilder zeigen an, dass dem Gegenverkehr Vorfahrt zu gewähren ist.


Dieses Schild bedeutet, dass Du Vorfahrt hast und die Brücke mit Vorsicht überqueren kannst.

Achte auf Nutztiere und Pferde auf der Fahrbahn, besonders in ländlichen Gegenden. Sollten sich Tiere auf der Fahrbahn befinden, verlangsame Deine Fahrt. Hupe nicht – es könnte die Tiere erschrecken. Du musst eventuell anhalten und die Tiere vorbeiziehen lassen oder fahre langsam auf die Tiere zu und folge den Anweisungen des Bauern.

Achte auf dieses Schild. Es weist auf nasse oder vereiste Straßenbedingungen hin. Verlangsame Deine Fahrt und vermeide abruptes Bremsen. Schnee und Eis machen Straßen gefährlicher, besonders auf Bergpässen. Sollte die Möglichkeit bestehen, dass Du unter diesen Bedingungen fährst, stellen Autovermieter für gewöhnlich Schneeketten zur Verfügung. Stelle vor Reiseantritt sicher, dass Du weißt, wie diese anzulegen sind.

Unbefestigte Straßen, so genannte „gravel roads“, sind meistens schmaler als normale Straßen. Reduziere die Geschwindigkeit auf 40-50km/h und bei Gegenverkehr noch weiter, da aufgewirbelter Staub Deine Sicht einschränken könnte.

In Neuseeland ist das Parken auf der falschen Straßenseite verboten. Du kannst dafür ein Bußgeld erhalten oder abgeschleppt werden. Du darfst nur in Fahrtrichtung auf Deiner Straßenseite parken (d. h. auf der linken Straßenseite, sollte es sich nicht um eine Einbahnstraße handeln).

Tollroads gibt es nur auf der Nordinsel, genauer gesagt nur Nahe Auckland und Tauranga. Man muss für die Nutzung dieser Straßen eine Gebühr bezahlen. Für die Tollroad bezahlt man mit Kreditkarte auf der Website der Regierung unter
Man kann entweder bereits bezahlen bevor man die Straße passiert, oder auch nach der Nutzung der Straße. Hier hat man aber nur 5 Tage Zeit zu bezahlen, ansonsten erhält man eine Mahnung, durch die höhere Kosten entstehen.

Bei allen Fragen zum Thema Auto ist Benny Dein Ansprechpartner:

Auszeit Neuseeland Ansprechpartner Benny

Benny Horst

Auszeit Neuseeland Director - spricht Deutsch und Englisch
Telefon:+64 (0)3 929 5645