Should I ship my car out? - a Shipping agent would say ‘yes’ and a New Zealand car salesman would say ‘No’! Like all decisions you will have to weigh up the pros and cons.
Shipping your car out to NZ is an expensive business and your initial reaction might be not to bring it, but take your time over this decision and cost it out carefully. It might not prove to be as expensive as you first think.
Obviously if your car is old and unreliable leave it behind If you have a newer model but do not think you will be able to sell it for its true value then you might consider taking it with you. Ring around the different shipping agents to get quotes, checking whether their prices include handling at the destination. It will need to be steam cleaned before exporting, so take this cost into consideration if it is not covered in their charges.
Some companies do a special deal whereby you can fill your car and boot with luggage, so take into account the money you could save on shipping out personal effects. Whilst others will build a crate around your car and allow you to fill the spaces with goods.
When you first arrive in the country you will very soon need transport and the hire of a vehicle is another expense that could be avoided by shipping your car ahead of you. If you could borrow a car from a friend or relative, for your last two months in the UK, you could arrange for both you and your car to arrive in New Zealand at the same time.
Spare parts for most British makes can be obtained. You will not have been in the country many days before you will start spotting the odd old Anglia, Zephyr or Morris Minor. The other day we saw a woman in her eighties, driving an Austin Seven. As she indicated her left turn, using hand signals, we wondered whether she had been driving the car from new!
Buying a Car
As anyone who has ever bought a second hand car knows - buyer beware. Here is no exception. Where it differs from Britain is that a large proportion of used cars are Japanese imports. The stringent tests imposed on three year old vehicles in Japan, often make it more economical for the car to be traded in for a new one and a vast majority of these cars find their way onto New Zealand forecourts.
Whilst many motors may well be genuine, Japanese imports do not have a service history and their sheer quantity makes choosing a used car in this category a headache.
Cars do not rust to anywhere near the same degree, as they do in the UK. It is not always possible to tell the condition of a car purely by the bodywork. ‘Turning the clock back’ on mileometers is not unheard of in New Zealand!
The other type of used car is the New Zealand assembled vehicle. The component parts of these cars are imported and then assembled and registered in NZ and normally have more of a traceable history.
Whichever type of car you choose, I would strongly recommend that you have a vehicle inspection carried out. There are two companies which provide this service, either AA or the Car Inspection Services. This mobile service will give a thorough inspection to any vehicle and provide you with a written report prior to any decision to purchase.
A Warrant of Fitness (MOT) has to be carried out every six months and a sticker is attached to the windscreen to indicate when the warrant expires.
Many New Zealanders are not too fussy about the cars they drive. The passenger railway system is practically non-existent and public transport can run less frequently than you may be used to. Our decision to buy two cheaper cars, instead of one expensive one, has proved to be the right one.