Buying A Car In NZ? Here's How To Lower Your Driving Costs For The Long Term

May 28, 2021
Car Insurance
By Staff writer

It’s so easy to spend thousands of dollars just for your driving needs in NZ. Aside from the initial car purchase, you’ll also start factoring in fuel costs, car insurance, breakdown cover, parking, cleaning, and routine maintenance; costs that can really add up in the long run if you have no reliable way of managing any of them. Fortunately, it’s easy to lower your driving costs by changing something in your driving habits.

Buy the car you need, not the one that looks flashy

The first step goes all the way back to the vehicle purchase itself. Now buying a car is a very fun and exciting experience, especially for first-time buyers. It’s easy to get swept away during the test drive or even when you’re just browsing, looking for a model you like. However, even if you have the money to spare, it still pays to work under a budget and buy only the car that you need.

Consider the following when it comes to buying a car for the first time:

  • You can often get vehicles either from a dealer or through a private sale. While both can equally get you good deals and both options can be utilized even when you’re using a car loan. The difference is, you tend to be protected when you purchase a vehicle from a dealer while a private seller has no responsibility whatsoever.
  • When choosing to buy privately, try to go through a lot of pre-purchase checks in order to protect yourself and avoid getting burnt from a sale.
  • In the case of imports, you can get assurances when you check the car’s importation/export sheet, which also indicates its condition once it arrives in NZ.
  • Also, be sure to compare car loan providers in order to get the best interest rates for your circumstances. Whether you’re going with a secured or unsecured loan, there’s always a provider that will best suit your repayment schedule, your financial circumstances, and most of your other preferences.

Read: Top 10 Most Anticipated Cars In 2021


Avoid “Premium Fuels” for your standard car

Unless your dealer or manufacturer specifies a certain kind of fuel for your own vehicle, it’s never really practical to buy premium fuel for most vehicles. They’re always more expensive by around 10 to 40 cents per litre, and they barely make any difference for your car.

Be careful when going for your WOF

A Warrant of Fitness (WOF) is an official New Zealand document that certifies that a light motor vehicle passed a compulsory periodic inspection of safety and roadworthiness. Standard fees for a WOF ranges from $45 to $55 however, depending on where you get one, there may be additional costs incurred. 

For instance, it’s recommended to look into WOF providers without a garage in order to reduce the incentive to fail you and quote repairs for certain parts of your vehicle. Use Google to check WOF providers in your area and look for those with great reviews. Avoid some of the cheaper $20 offers floating around. Chances are, they’ll probably give you a higher estimate in repair costs.

Take care of any common fails before going for your WOF

Of course, you may want to fix up any actual problems your car may have in order to smoothen the process. Look into the following components prior to applying for your WOF:

  • Lights - Are all your lights working? It pays to check on your headlights, signal lights, hazard lights, and other indicators prior to applying for your WOF. Get any damaged lights replaced fast before the scheduled date.
  • Suspension - Try conducting a simple test to see if your suspension is fine, even without the equipment necessary. Simply apply weight on all corners of your vehicle and then release it. Your vehicle should bounce back if your suspension is alright.
  • Handbrake - This is very important. This needs to have tension while still feeling responsive. It shouldn’t be loose or lacking in efficiency. If it is, then it’s best to take it to a mechanic to sort it out prior to going for your WOF.

Make sure your license is still valid

Many drivers still forget to make sure their license is up to date despite reminders from the NZTA. Remember that you may be instantly fined around $400 should you be caught driving with an expired driver’s license. On the other hand, it only costs around $45 to renew your driver’s license for another 10 years. Check your license and set a date on your calendar and get that license renewed today!

Adjust the way you drive

This is often used for people looking to drivers looking to save on their fuel charges. You can reduce your driving speeds and the amount you accelerate out on the highway. Aside from that, you can also coast a bit more though it takes a bit of practice.

Another aspect you can modify at almost no cost is by reducing the weight in your car. Removing any unnecessary load makes your engine more efficient and the car more streamlined, burning less fuel in order to move. You’d be surprised at what removing some of the junk and cleaning out the glove compartment can do for your savings.


Look for more affordable parking within city centres

If you’re commuting every morning, you may be able to take advantage of renting a dedicated car park space should your workplace not offer any private parking. This can help you save hundreds of dollars a year from avoiding some of the higher costs of parking on daily parking services.

Shop wisely when replacing your tyres

Depending on where you look, you can easily save $100 or more when you call and compare different garages and tyre companies in your area before buying the closest replacement available. And even when you’re getting your tyres looked at or rotated, just having some awareness can save you a lot of money. For instance, if your garage suggests that you need new tyres, you don’t necessarily have to buy them from the garage. If you already have some at home, you can arrange for those to be fitted instead.

Of course, you can also take the proper measures to ensure your tyres last long before needing replacements. Take care to remove any embedded objects such as pebbles, glass, etc., when checking your tyre pressure. See if your tyres are showing signs of uneven wear. Ensure routine tyre rotation when your car is brought into a service. Check them for tread wear. Ensure proper balance and alignment when fitting new tyres. All of these things add up to the longevity of your vehicle tyres, ensuring that they last as long as possible.

Avoid expensive car rental services

In the event you’re not actually driving your own car and just need a rental to temporarily get around town, you can still save on cost by comparing different providers. You can also run your dates through international price comparison websites and their price is often cheaper than what is locally available.

Use public transportation

New Zealand has made great strides when it comes to improving the public transportation infrastructure, allowing more buses and trains for moving mass numbers of people. If you’re only travelling around locally, you can try using monthly bus and train passes for cheap, starting at around $215 a month in Auckland.

And while moving from city to city can be a bit more challenging if you’re not using your car, it’s not completely impossible. InterCity allows you to either build your own bus pass itinerary or use a pre-planned transport pass with flexible timing. Aside from that, you can also try flying. It can be less of a hassle rather than trying to make your journey on land.

Cut down on your Insurance costs

While it’s an important policy to have, it’s also possible you may be paying more for your car insurance in relation to the cover you receive. In order to get the best premiums for your needs, you need to determine what level of cover your car really needs. If you only drive your vehicle once in a blue moon, you may be able to get by with just the standard third-party policy. If you use your car often, then it might actually be safer with a comprehensive policy in the long run.

And of course, it’s best to always shop around and compare your options. Here at glimp, we’ve gathered all the best car insurance deals from the most reliable car insurance providers and laid it all out in one page, allowing you to compare them at your own time without the hassle! Hop on over to our comparison page and start your search now!

Shane Egan (Popup) , 2023-07-10

Excellent service. Responsive and easy to deal with. Got me an awesome deal on Broadband. Well worth calling to see what they can do. 👍

Jamie Martin , 2023-06-18

Really great service, helped us save about 30% on power plus a free $100 sign up bonus. Very fast and efficient.

Kat W , 2023-06-20

Very helpful and informative. Lovely chatting with them on the phone, helped me find a power supplier, pretty simple and straight forward

Dee Painter , 2023-08-08

So easy to use, very helpful and got a great deal with my power and gas