Mistakes to Avoid When Importing Vehicles to NZ

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Posted on 28th April 2023

If you are planning on importing a vehicle to New Zealand, there are several things you need to consider to ensure the process goes smoothly. Leveraging our years of experience in international car shipping, we have created a list of pitfalls to watch out for when importing and how to avoid them.


Ensure Your Vehicle Meets NZ Importing Regulation Standards

New Zealand has strict regulations for importing vehicles, which must comply with our environmental and safety standards. Understanding these standards will ensure your car gets into Aotearoa without a hitch. Here are some key importing regulations you should be aware of.  


Emissions Standards

All vehicles imported into New Zealand must meet strict emissions standards, which are designed to reduce air pollution and improve the quality of the air we breathe. These emissions standards are based on the age of the vehicle, engine size, and fuel type.


Right-Hand Drive

All imported vehicles must be right-hand drive, and the steering wheel must be on the car's right-hand side. New Zealand's roads are designed for right-hand drive vehicles. Driving a left-hand drive vehicle on the country's roads can be dangerous.


Safety Standards

All vehicles imported into New Zealand must meet the country's safety standards to protect drivers, passengers, and other road users. Vehicles must have various safety features, such as airbags, seatbelts, and anti-lock brakes.


Low Carbon Footprint

New Zealand is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. All imported vehicles must meet the country's low carbon standards, which means that cars must have low emissions and be fuel-efficient.



All imported vehicles must be roadworthy, meaning they must be in good condition and able to pass a warrant of fitness inspection. Vehicles that are not roadworthy will not be allowed on New Zealand roads.


It is important to note that these regulations can vary depending on the vehicle's age, make, model, and country of origin. Conduct thorough research and seek advice from a reputable vehicle importer to ensure that the vehicle you intend to import meets New Zealand's regulations.

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Do Your Research Beforehand

Proper research is vital before importing a vehicle to ensure it's in good condition and meets New Zealand's import regulations. This research includes checking its history for debts, accidents, and flood damage.


You can complete research through online history checks and pre-purchase inspection or seek advice from a reputable importer, such as Cars2NZ.


The consequences of not researching can be severe, resulting in a non-roadworthy vehicle or costly repairs. Importing a vehicle with debts or liens can also hold the buyer responsible. Proper research helps avoid these pitfalls, ensuring a suitable car for New Zealand's roads.


Understanding the Costs of Importing a Car

Understanding the costs of importing a vehicle will help you avoid financial surprises. The prices of importing a vehicle can include shipping costs, taxes, duties, compliance costs, registration fees, and any necessary modifications to meet New Zealand's import regulations.


Failing to consider the cost of importing a vehicle can lead to unexpected expenses or an inability to afford the total cost of the import process. Consider all the costs associated with importing a vehicle before making a purchase decision to ensure it is feasible for your budget.


Hire an Experienced Vehicle Importer

With so many hurdles to jump through when importing a vehicle, hiring a reputable vehicle importer to handle everything will ensure you can handle all the previously mentioned obstacles. Through their expert knowledge, vehicle importers can help guide you through the complex import regulations and compliance requirements. They will ensure you meet all the necessary standards and avoid costly delays or legal issues.


Importers will also take care of the necessary paperwork and logistics involved in the import process, including shipping, customs clearance, and registration. They will ensure this paperwork is completed on time and accurately, helping you to avoid delays or penalties. And through their well-established relationships with compliance companies, shipping agents, and other service providers involved in the import process, you are sure to get the best price possible.


Get Your Car Where it Needs to Go with Cars2NZ

Importing a vehicle to New Zealand can be complex, with many regulations and requirements to navigate on your own. Meeting with a professional importer will ensure this process is easy and stress-free. To ensure your car gets where it needs to go, contact Cars2NZ today to learn more about our vehicle transport services. We'll take care of the nitty-gritty to ensure your car is ready when needed. 

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