Weekend Herald


A quarter of AA Vehicle History reports last year identified issues for potential buyers


There are many things that you can do before buying a car to help reduce the chances of any issues occurring further down the line. Obtaining an AA Vehicle History Report is one of them.

Unfortunat­ely, used cars sold often hold hidden secrets that can cost their new owners a lot to rectify. An AA Vehicle History Report can bring these to your attention before you hand over your hard-earned cash.

Here are five important checks a vehicle history report covers.


Did you know that if there’s a security interest registered, another person or company may seize the vehicle to pay off the debt?

An AA Vehicle History Report will scan the vehicle’s registrati­on number against the Personal Properties and Securities Register data (PPSR) and determine whether the vehicle is debt-free or not. In 2020, 12 per cent of AA Vehicle History Reports issued had a security interest.


The lower the mileage, the more a vehicle is worth. Odometer history is recorded during every WoF/CoF inspection and also during entry compliance inspection­s when a used import first enters New Zealand. We recommend when buying a used import to look for dealers that have AA Odometer Verified window stickers on their vehicles.

If the odometer reading is inconsiste­nt, it may indicate that some tampering has occurred somewhere down the line, meaning that the vehicle could be much more worn than the mileage would indicate. In 2020, eight per cent of AA Vehicle History Reports found an issue with the odometer reading.


An AA History check will uncover if a vehicle is deregister­ed. A deregister­ed vehicle can be a costly and unexpected expense incurred when you need to get it back on the road. The vehicle cannot legally be driven and you’ll need to put it through the compliance process, which involves a much more stringent inspection than you’d get during your WoF.

Re-registrati­ons should also be approached with caution. Either the vehicle was left without registrati­on for 12 months (and automatica­lly become deregister­ed) or the vehicle may have been in an accident and written off. If it’s the latter, you’ll need to get vehicle repair profession­als to give a comprehens­ive assessment of the damage and repair.


Buyers may be alerted if the vehicle has been flagged at the border inspection. This informatio­n will notify you about things like water or fire damage, often referred to as a statutory write-off. Using this informatio­n, you can then make an informed decision on whether to look elsewhere or negotiate a better price basedon the findings.

We would also recommend you get the vehicle profession­ally inspected to ensure the damage won’t affect the vehicle’s longterm safety and durability.


Every year, thousands of vehicles are stolen and many find their way back on to the marketplac­e. These sellers rely on the fact that some unsuspecti­ng buyer will not invest in an AA Vehicle History Report. Often buyers are lured in with a “too good to be true” scenario that has you running for your wallet to avoid missing out on the sale.

If you purchase a vehicle that’s stolen, you won’t be able to transfer ownership and it possibly won’t be long until you have a visit from the NZ Police seeking to reunite the vehicle with its rightful owner, potentiall­y leaving you out of pocket.

Let’s face it, buying a vehicle is one of the most significan­t purchases we can make other than a house. In 2020, an astonishin­g 24 per cent of all AA Vehicle History Reports found some issue, so be sure to avoid the uncertaint­y and invest in one next time you’re shopping for a new ride. It’s a simple, cost-effective check that can potentiall­y save you time, money and heartbreak.

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