Feature article

Buying or selling a car at Level 2

As we move to Alert Level 2, you need to continue staying safe while buying or selling a car. Here are our top tips.

Now that New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 2 of the COVID-19 lockdown, we have some more freedom with regard to what we can and can’t do but we need to continue proceeding with caution. While we have the chance for increased movement outside of our level 4 and 3 ‘bubble’, we still need to be careful when interacting with strangers when buying or selling a vehicle. We don’t want to undo the amazing work we’ve done as a nation in getting on top of the virus. Check out our top tips.

A clean machine

We spend a lot of time in our cars. Whether it’s our primary or secondary vehicle, the chances are you’d normally clock up a good few hours a week in there. Without proper cleaning measures, this is where germs can fester. You don’t want to sell a germ-filled car and risk the health of others, plus it’s more important than ever to reassure potential buyers that your car is clean. And when buying a car you need to ensure you keep yourself and others healthy and safe. For more advice on the best ways to spruce up your vehicle, check out our vehicle cleaning article.

How to handle car viewings

If you think you’ve found a serious buyer or the ideal car, under the current circumstances, we need to be extra vigilant when interacting with each other during a car viewing. Social distancing is currently recommended by the New Zealand government, so any meetings need to be undertaken with caution. Make sure to:

  • Keep a safe distance from each other – experts advise that we should maintain at least a one metre distance between ourselves and others to minimise the chance of infection spread. Communicate with each other at a safe distance at all times. 
  • Make sure everyone has clean hands – If they’re not wearing gloves it’s not unreasonable to request that someone viewing your car uses a hand sanitiser before entering and inspecting. And the seller should make sure their own hands are clean when interacting with the vehicle during the sale. 
  • Wear protective items – with the world in the midst of COVID-19 concern, nobody will bat an eyelid if you wear garden, kitchen, disposable or any kind of gloves while showcasing or viewing a car. In fact, it’s the intelligent thing to do. Wearing a mask is also recommended. 
  • Don’t enter someone else's house – there’s no reason why the viewer should be permitted to enter the seller’s house. Hands can be cleaned externally, and not entering someone else’s home is paramount for limiting potential germ spread, and also for mutual security.
  • Don’t shake on it – we know it’s polite to ‘shake on it’ when agreeing a deal, but under the current circumstances, nobody will think you’re rude if you avoid undertaking this social nicety! We don’t recommend an ‘elbow bump’ either as this would mean getting closer to each other than the advised two metre distancing.

After the viewing

If you’re the seller and the potential buyer has left without taking the car, here’s some actions to take to ensure the ongoing safety and cleanliness of your car:

  • Air it out – get all of those doors or windows open and get some good old fresh air flowing through the vehicle! This’ll prevent germs from settling inside the car. 
  • Give it another clean – wear your protective gloves and give the inside of the car a fresh spruce. Pay extra attention to any areas where your viewer has sat or touched. 


And if you were the potential buyer who visited someone to view their car:

  • Thoroughly clean your hands – just because you wore gloves doesn’t mean you can forget about giving your hands a good clean after the viewing. To avoid accidentally transferring germs to your mask before removal, you should first remove your gloves, intensively clean your hands, and then remove your mask. To make absolutely sure, clean your hands again after removing your mask in case any hazardous germs have transferred from it. 

Stay clean, stay safe

These have been challenging times and we understand you remaining a little nervous about interacting with people to buy or sell a car. Use the above tips and you can help keep yourself and your fellow Kiwis safe during Alert Level 2, while also successfully buying or selling a vehicle.

*All advice in this article is relevant to Alert Level 2 NZ, in line with New Zealand government policy.