Buying a used car can be a daunting process, and we speak to AA Members every week who are overwhelmed by a sea of used car options. The main concern we hear from Members is that they want to avoid buying a ‘lemon’.

Thankfully, AA Motoring remove some of the guess work and make the choice much easier with  AA Appraised Used Cars.

What is an AA Appraised Used Car?

An AA Appraised Used Car is a vehicle which has been looked over by the AA with an entry level 43-point mechanical check which focuses on the mechanical and safety aspects of the car, giving a brief overall evaluation of the vehicle. Importantly, it is valid only for two months (or 5,000km) from the day of the appraisal date.

This limited inspection gives dealers assurance that the vehicle meets an expected standard to be on their yard and gives buyers assurance it has been independently assessed by us before it has been made available for sale.

One of the key benefits is the all-important road test, which may well be the first time an imported vehicle has been driven by someone other than the dealer on NZ roads. The road test helps to identify leaks such as coolant and oil leaks. It also assesses unusual noises, the drive operation and allows the car to run at a normal operating temperature.

Compliance reassurance

The road test also offers reassurance that the vehicle has been reassembled correctly if it is a used import and has been through a compliance shop. During this process, interior trims and coverings are removed for a vehicle’s structural inspection. Brakes are also disassembled as part of the compliance process.

Here are some of the checks conducted by the AA on an Appraised Used Car:

Brake System (Visual, External Only)

  • Brakes
  • Brakes - Under Body

Cooling System

  • Radiator
  • Water Pump (Where Visible)

Electric Accessories / Lamps

  • Lamps


  • Battery
  • Horn

Engine Ancillaries

  • Fuel System
  • Lubricants (Engine/Trans)
  • Engine
  • Air Filter

Engine Audible Noises

  • Engine Noise

External Items

  • Windscreen Washer
  • Windscreen Wiper
  • Rear View Mirror
  • Ancillary Items

Fuel System

  • Fuel Filler


  • Tools and Accessories

Road Test

  • Air Conditioning
  • Engine Test
  • Exhaust Test
  • Foot Brake Test
  • Transmission Test
  • Handbrake Test
  • Steering Test


  • Suspension
  • Wheels
  • Hubs


  • Tyres


  • CV Joints
  • Engine
  • Exhaust
  • Axle
  • Structure
  • Transmission
  • Differential
  • Driveshaft
  • Steering - Under Body

Ready to take the next step? Why not get a full AA Pre Purchase Inspection?

Once you’re happy with the AA Appraised Used Car report, we recommend taking the next step by obtaining an even more comprehensive vehicle inspection before you purchase the car.

An AA Pre Purchase Inspection (PPI) consists of an independent comprehensive 100+ point vehicle check, conducted by an experienced, qualified mechanic and generally takes between 60 and 90 minutes.

With so many used car dealers operating, AA Appraised Used Cars offer an easy way to narrow down your choices, and a positive appraisal is always a good foundation for your car purchase.

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

AA advice - We've got this!

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