Guide to Selling

To make your vehicle visible to 200,000 new and used car buyers every month, sell your car on Auto Trader. Below is everything you need to know about getting the best price and the quickest sale for your car.

Photography helps sell – Glenorchy, New Zealand

Preparing For Sale

A little elbow grease is worth the effort. If you're cleaning the car 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 and black the tires.
  • Alternatively, a more time effective option would be to get your car groomed, you can find car groomers in your area with a quick Google search.
  • 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.

Checklist for your car advert

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

  • What are your car details?
  • Selling price
  • Mileage
  • Engine number or Registration and expiry date
  • Photos of your car
  • Complete the Notice Of Disposal forms online at the
  • A credit card

Listing your car on Auto Trader couldn't be easier. We have 200,000+ car buyers on the site every month, with standard or premium listing options to help you sell your car.

How to write an effective used car sales advert?

The ad you write must be clear, to the point and honest.

What are the essentials?

  • Year Make, Model, Series, Body Type, engine, transmission, mileage and general condition. For example, “2002 Holden Commodore VX Station Wagon 3.8L V6 Auto, great condition 150,000km”
  • Detail is key. Add additional information and attempt to relate a benefit. 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).
  • 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. View the current used car listings on Auto Trader.

Meeting a potential buyer

  • 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!

  • 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 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.

Safe Selling Checklist

  • Beware of freight forwarding scams - "Interested" buyers can lure you into paying for transport by sending through a fake payment screenshot. Read more on freight forwarding scams.
  • Ensure the money is in your account before you hand over the vehicle. Never trust a screenshot. Fake payment screenshots with edited account numbers are sometimes used to trick sellers into thinking a payment is on the way.
  • When you have received the funds, ensure buyers fill out and submit the ’Bought a Vehicle’ change of ownership form through the NZTA. This can now be completed online through a simple form. The last thing you want is to be stuck receiving toll road fees, speed camera fees, or more.