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Buy From A Car Dealer Or Privately?
Car dealer or private sale: what’s the difference when it comes to buying a car? Buying your car from a dealer offers safeguards that private sales don’t.
The choice between buying a car privately or through a dealer comes down to a choice between convenience and security and the chance of a ‘real bargain’.
And remember: if you are not buying from a licenced motor vehicle dealer you are buying privately. A private sale can be one organised through the newspaper, Trade Me, an Auction or a street side car fair.
Price versus Total Cost & Convenience
What you pay for your car is just one part of the total cost of owning a vehicle.
You may pay more for a vehicle you buy from a dealer than you would privately. The Dog and Lemon Guide is characteristically blunt:
‘If you’re looking for a bargain, you won’t find one at a car yard.’
But buying from a dealer removes many of the risks from the car buying process, offering the security that comes with legal protection including warranties.
And dealers can make the process of selling the car you are replacing for a reasonable price easier with the opportunity to trade it in.
The Risks of Buying Privately
Buying privately is easier now with websites such as Trademe, leading the way of selling vehicles online in New Zealand. Trademe and other online sale venues have also made vehicle pricing more transparent.
Hundreds of people buy privately every week without any trouble. It’s important to understand the risks, though. You could end up with a car that breaks down a few hundred metres down the road or, worse still, buying a vehicle that the seller has no right to sell. There are also several formalities that come with buying a car, such as ensuring the Warrant of Fitness is up to date, and that the change of ownership gets completed correctly. It's important that you are aware of what needs to be done, and who is responsible. You can find a list of relevant documents here.
Buying a used car requires you to answer a number of questions:
- Does the seller own the vehicle?
- Is the seller an unlicensed dealer
- Is there money owing on it?
- How many owners has it had?
- Is the mileage genuine?
- Has it been in a serious collision?
- Is the car mechanically sound?
A dealer can help you answer these questions but answers are also available elsewhere:
- AA Lemon Check or Carjam will answer many of the vehicle history questions
- And arranging a mechanic to look at the vehicle or using a vehicle inspection service (see AA or VTNZ ) can give you some insight into likely reliability and servicing needs.
- So, if you want to hunt down a bargain, many of the risks of buying privately can be dealt with. But even with all the essential questions answered you can’t guarantee that the vehicle will be reliable...
Buying through a dealer may cost you more upfront. But what price do you put on the peace of mind that comes with added legal protection? How valuable is knowing what your new car will cost to service over time?
At Toyota we believe in going the extra mile and that means supporting you through the sales process AND after your purchase. We consider your decision to buy a Toyota the start of your relationship with us...
With extended warranties and comprehensive service plans we’re committed to looking after your vehicle at a price that conceals no surprises. Buying a vehicle through a member of the Toyota dealer network offers:
- 24/7 support for you: call us any time if you have an issue with your Toyota.
- Superior technical support for your dealership: dealers can contact more factory trained technicians than dealers for all other dealer networks Highly trained dealer technicians: our high tech training facility – the best of any provided by a NZ car franchise – ensures the mechanics at your Dealer really know their stuff.
- 95% overnight parts availability: your dealer will have the part they need either on the day or the next morning and we cover the airfreight on anything we have to get from Japan – no cost to you.
- Local parts warehouse: parts go directly to your dealer or garage from our well-stocked Auckland warehouse.
- Nationwide dealership locations: get servicing at 86 locations around the country – more than any other franchise – we will always be near you!
- Strong residual value: all this support and the quality and reliability of our vehicles means your Toyota will hold its value better than most... A real bonus when you eventually decide to trade it in on your next one!
- The security and peace of mind that comes with our Signature Class brand. All cars are inspected and refurbished to the highest standard and our after sales package (3 year warranty, free WOF’s and AA Roadservice) offers the best ongoing support package available.