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When you purchase a vehicle what should you be aware of? Check all that apply. When you purchase a vehicle what should you be aware of? Check all that apply.

  • A. Unpaid loans - you'll be liable to pay them if they are not cleared before the car is transferred into your name

  • B. A stolen vehicle

  • C. Suspicious odometer

  • D. WoF and/or registration has expired

    The correct answer is A,B,C,D
    Correct. You should get a vehicle history report before you purchase a car.

The pitfalls of buying a secondhand car

It makes sense to get a mechanical inspection before you purchase a car, but it's also important that you check the vehicle's history because it can be hiding a multitude of sins.

There are hundreds of thousands of debts registered on vehicles in New Zealand, including on past plates. This means a debt registered against a licence plate that has been changed from the original one when the debt was first lodged against it. You should be able to get a history of the vehicle's licence plates.

Vehicle clocking, where the odometer is wound back, is still common. Vehicles can also be imported damaged (which could mean fire and flood damage, or structural damage) and repaired. Two vehicles can be joined together ('cut and shut'), and other issues.

Some vehicles are stolen and immediately offered for sale before the owner has a chance to register them as stolen. A free stolen car check is available on vehicle history websites.

A full vehicle history report will include whether the vehicle is fully licenced and registered - if it isn't, you might be liable to pay backdated licence fees. The licence could have been cancelled, and if it has a report should say why. The current registration status will be shown, as well as the origin of the registration and when it was first registered in New Zealand. If it was first registered overseas, the report will show which country and when.

Is the vehicle allowed to be driven on the road? The Warrant of Fitness status will be displayed, and when it passed its last inspection, along with the latest details including the odometer reading. A report might give you an estimated odometer reading which can be useful if the last check was more than a few months ago.

The ownership history, including how many owners, will be displayed. You won't be able to get name and address details on individual owners unless they have a debt registered against the vehicle, but you will be able to find out details of non-individual owners such as companies.