Buying and Selling

Five reasons why an AA Vehicle History Report is worth it

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, and an AA Vehicle History Report is one of them.

Unfortunately, used cars sold often hold hidden secrets that can cost their new owners hundreds (or sometimes thousands) of dollars 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 have 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 freshly imported vehicles.

If the odometer reading is inconsistent, it may indicate that some tampering has occurred somewhere down the line (i.e. it’s been wound back or disconnected), meaning that the vehicle could be a much more worn vehicle than the mileage would indicate. In 2020, eight per cent of AA Vehicle History Reports have found an issue with the odometer reading.


An AA History check will uncover if a vehicle is de-registered. A de-registered vehicle can be a costly and unexpected expense incurred to get it back on the road. The vehicle cannot legally be driven on the road 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 de-registered) or the vehicle may have been in an accident and written off. If it’s the latter, you’ll need to get the vehicle repair professionals to give a comprehensive assessment of the damage and repair caused by the accident.


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

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


Every single year, thousands of vehicles are stolen and many find their way back onto 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 often one of the most significant purchase many of us make, other than maybe a house.

In 2020, an astonishing 24 per cent of all AA Vehicle History Reports finding some issue with the vehicle’s history, so be sure to avoid the uncertainty and invest 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 in the future.

Click here to buy an AA Vehicle History Report.

Find out more about how the AA can help when buying a used car:

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