2 February 2023

Buyer Beware of Flood Damaged Vehicles in Private Sales

Aucklanders and people in Northern regions looking to buy a second-hand car through a private sale should get the vehicle thoroughly checked by a professional, the Motor Trade Association (MTA) says.

The warning comes after thousands of vehicles were caught in this week’s devastating flooding.

While many vehicles will be written off by insurers, some won’t – and others won’t have been insured at all.

“Flood damage can sometimes be difficult to determine and it may take time before problems show up in the form of electrical failures and corrosion,” says MTA Sector Manager – Dealers, Tony Everett.

“People selling privately may be unaware of the true extent of damage to their vehicle, or dare we say it, might not disclose that it was in the floods to a prospective buyer.

“We would strongly recommend anyone buying a second-hand car in a private sale to get an expert, professional opinion on its roadworthiness and safety.

“The last thing you want is to buy a second-hand car, then two months later, the electronics or safety features shut down.”

MTA has commenced dialogue with Waka Kotahi on how registered and unregistered vehicles are to be tracked as flood damaged and will be working with auction houses and online marketplaces.

“Many people will be looking to replace their written off vehicle ASAP,” Tony says.

“Just remember that some people will be trying to offload a flood-damaged one just as quickly.

“Don’t be tempted into buying in a quick private sale with a cheap price – it could come back to haunt you.”

Buying from a dealer, especially an MTA member, offers the best protection for buyers, Tony says.

While the floods will have an impact on supply, but there are still yards with unaffected stock in the region and around the country.

“Buying out of town has its risks, due the distances involved, so buyers should always seek a pre-purchase check before making any final decisions.

“Better to check before you buy than after it lands in your care.”

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