A deregistered vehicle is nothing but a huge burden on your shoulders. Not only does such a car take up unnecessary space in your garage, but it is legally not allowed on public roads.

So, what is the use of such a vehicle? Why not sell it while you can still get good money for it in the market?

In this guide, I will tell you all there is to know about selling a deregistered vehicle. You will learn more about local NZ laws, whether you are even allowed to sell such automobiles, and the correct legal procedure to sell deregistered cars.

It’s time to buckle up because we are in for a ride.

In this article we will cover

Selling A Deregistered Vehicle vs. an Unregistered Vehicle

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Before I outline the ways to sell a deregistered vehicle, it’s necessary to know if you can even sell one or not. Moreover, it’s important to classify what you are selling as an unregistered or a deregistered vehicle.

You might think they are one and the same, but both terms are different and they can affect the value you get for your car.

Deregistered Vehicles

When a vehicle is totalled, damaged by water, or written off for some other reason, it is classified as a deregistered vehicle. In other words, the Transport Authority de-registers the car and deems it unfit for public roads.

But all is not lost with a deregistered vehicle, since there is another way, you can put it back on the road. Alternatively, you can sell the vehicle in an auction or to a car wrecker.

If the vehicle is salvageable, you can repair it and put it back on the road. But if it is a lost cause, you have no other option but to take the selling option.

With that comes the question:

Can I sell a deregistered vehicle in the market?

The good news is you can and it is legal. The bad news is you only have limited options.

Since deregistered vehicles are damaged and out of commission, serious buyers are not on the lookout for them. You only have scrap yards and auction houses as choices. Sometimes, the odd person looking for a donor car might pop up, but that’s about it in terms of your choices.

This also means that you might not get an attractive offer for your car. However, you don’t need to worry about that, as I am going to tell you how to get the most value out of your deregistered vehicle later in this article.

Unregistered Vehicles

When you buy a brand-new car through a dealership, they hand you an unregistered vehicle. Once you get it, you must get a vehicle license and register the car with the Transport Authority to make it road-legal.

The interesting thing is that you can also cancel the registration of your car if you are not driving it presently. The ‘registration’ is only required to make a vehicle road-legal. If you don’t drive your car, you don’t need it!

Also, once you get rid of the registration, only the status of your car changes from registered to unregistered. There are no demerit points or fines in case you frequently cycle between registering your vehicle and unregistering it. Although, it is not advisable since registration is not cheap.

The Waka Kotahi is the New Zealand Transport Authority, which registers all the vehicles you see on the roads. Without their approval and documentation, it is illegal to drive a car. So, you have to be very careful about the procedure.

But can you sell the vehicle? No worries, you sure can!

How To Sell Your Unregistered Vehicle

First, you would have to notify the other party about the status of your car. They would be paying the registration amount, so they’ll need a heads-up from you. Also, you would be required to clear all outstanding licensing fees and the Road usage charges (RUC) (if applicable) before moving on to the next step.

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The Waka Kotahi requires you to also have an up-to-date warrant of fitness (WoF) or certificate of fitness (CoF) for the vehicle before negotiating a deal with the buyer.

Once you have ticked off all these things, you can sell your unregistered car to the highest bidder.

Note: You have to notify the Transport Authority when you sell a vehicle to avoid fines. It is a legal requirement, that you can luckily fulfil through an online portal. Nowadays, there is no need to physically visit the Waka Kotahi office.

How To Get the Most Out of Your Deregistered Vehicle

The first thing you need to know is that there are no extra costs involved in disposing of a deregistered car. Once a vehicle is awarded this status, it is practically useless for you, and the Waka Kotahi doesn’t put any specific conditions on its sale. Therefore, the best way to make the most out of the situation is by immediately selling the car to an auction house or a car wrecker.

All you’d need to do is contact a reputable auction house or scrap yard to get a quote. But before entering the market, you should be aware of your scrap car’s worth.

The last thing you’d want is to get lowballed by somebody and end up selling your vehicle at a price lower than its actual value.

Here is how you can get a better price:

Ask Multiple Places for a Quote

The best way to not get lowballed is by asking several places for a quote on your car. Use the information you get to take out an average. The mean figure, or preferably something better than that, should be your aim.

Sell Parts Separately

Sometimes it is better to sell the parts separately rather than selling the entire car. Several scrappers gladly accept spare components at an attractive price, especially if your car is rare. Once you have gotten rid of the parts, you can then scrap the vehicle and get some extra money on the metal skeleton.

Search Classified Ads for People Wanting your Car

This is a long shot, but you can get the most out of your deregistered vehicle by selling it to someone who is desperately looking for parts. If you are in the Waikato region then you can find a few people willing to pay a handsome amount of cash for cars in Hamilton; just for the sake of completing their car project. If your vehicle’s model and make are in demand, you are lucky.

Sell To a Car Wrecker

With car wreckers, you have three options:

i) You can sell your complete car

ii) You can sell the parts separately

iii) You can sell the chassis and keep the components

The decision is up to you. But, if you want to get a lucrative offer, it is advisable to sell the valuable parts first, and the shell later. This way, you can make the most of the market’s steel prices and dispose of your vehicle at the best time.

Why Wreckers are a better option?

It is possible to sell a deregistered car in other ways, but wrecking is by far the best method. If you decide to go with selling your car to an auction house, you might not get the full value of the vehicle.

The auction house keeps a commission, and you can never trust the bidding process to be transparent or to go in your favour. Moreover, the value of the vehicle is judged based on its current condition.

On the contrary, scrap yards accept your car in any condition. They pay you for parts, for the chassis, for the battery and whatnot. In simpler words, car wreckers offer the best value for your car.


Selling a car is easy, regardless of its status. As long as you follow the rules and regulations, there is nothing to worry about. But with deregistered vehicles, you should keep in mind that the sooner you sell the more valuable your car.

Waiting for the ideal time won’t bear the most fruit, and selling the entire car at once will also have negative results. So, sell your vehicle to a car wrecker and get the best value for your car right now