Introductory Specials – Safety Certificates $79 | Pre-Purchase Inspections $140 Servicing Gold Coast suburbs near you

Avoid re-inspections and cancelled vehicle sales

Our collection of tips and cheat-sheets will save money and get the best out of your car.

What is a safety certificate?

A safety certificate is issued after a vehicle passes an minimum safety standard inspection. A safety certificate covers basic things that could affect the safe operation of the vehicle, such as:

  • tyres
  • brakes
  • steering
  • suspension
  • body rust or damage
  • windscreen
  • lights.

The safety certificate offers buyers better protection and makes sure vehicles being offered for disposal or being re-registered are safe – reducing the likelihood of crashes caused by defective vehicles.

Note: A safety certificate inspection is not a comprehensive mechanical inspection of a vehicle. Before you purchase a used vehicle, we recommend you contact us for a Pre Purchase Inspection for a full mechanical inspection of the vehicle.

When is a safety certificate needed?

You have to display a safety certificate on any registered light vehicle from the moment you offer the vehicle for sale, including when you:

  • list the vehicle for sale online
  • place the vehicle in public offering it for sale
  • drive the vehicle with a sign on the window, such as ’Interested? Ph 1234 5678’ or ’Buy Me – Ph 1234 5678’.

Note: You are required to obtain and display a safety certificate on a registered vehicle when it is being offered for sale, even when you plan on cancelling the registration when the vehicle is sold.

Unregistered second hand and registered interstate vehicles must have a safety certificate as part of the Queensland per-registration process (unless exempt). This includes:

  • cars
  • motorcycles
  • trailers (including caravans) with an aggregate trailer mass (ATM) of 0.751–3.50 tonnes (t)
  • any other vehicles up to 4.50t gross vehicle mass (GVM).

Displaying safety certificates

Safety certificates must be displayed in a very obvious place, for example:

  • motorcycle – front forks or guard
  • car – windscreen or window
  • trailer – draw-bar.

You may get a $550 fine if you don’t display a safety certificate on the vehicle from the moment you offer it for sale.

When is a safety certificate not needed?

Selling a vehicle without a safety certificate

Vehicles that are unregistered or are traded to, or between, licensed motor dealers do not need a safety certificate. Vehicles can still be sold for parts but they must be de-registered before being offered for sale.

Transferring a vehicle without a safety certificate

You don’t need a safety certificate if the vehicle meets one of the exemption criteria. Some exemption situations may include:

  • the disposer being in an exempt area
  • a beneficiary of a deceased estate
  • between spouses, including separated spouses
  • remote locations.

For more information on exemptions, phone 13 23 80.

Who issues safety certificates?

Safety certificates can only be issued by approved inspection stations. These are service stations, garages or workshops approved by the Queensland Government.

To find approved inspection stations near you, please refer to the yellow pages or phone 13 23 80.

How long are safety certificates current for?

The time a safety certificate is valid for varies depending on who is selling the vehicle:

  • licensed motor dealers: certificates are valid for 3 months or 1000km (whichever comes first) from the date of issue
  • all other sellers: certificates are valid for 2 months or 2000km (whichever comes first) from the date of issue.

The same safety certificate can be used to register an unregistered vehicle and to transfer the registration of that vehicle, provided it is within the limits set out above.

A new safety certificate is needed each time you sell the vehicle even if it is within the limits above. A single safety certificate cannot be used for 2 transfers.


Top ten tips for helping you buy the right vehicle


  1. Choosing the vehicle
  2. Get the right finance
  3. Protect yourself
  4. Make safety a priority
  5. Get an independent inspection
  6. Put things in writing
  7. Conduct background checks
  8. Check your contract
  9. Important documents
  10. Insure your car before you drive away

Here are our top ten tips for helping you buy the right vehicle:

  1. Choosing the vehicle

Buy the car that best suits your needs and your budget. Always research the market first so that you know what to expect in terms of value for money. Visit an online car selector to help narrow down what you’re looking for.

  1. Get the right finance

Shop around for competitive finance before going car shopping. Never accept a loan or finance agreement just because it’s quick, easy or convenient. The interest rate may be much higher than what you could get from other providers. Where possible you should consider obtaining finance before hand or be aware of rates of finance available before you visit a dealership or commit to anything.

  1. Protect yourself

It is risky to buy from an unlicensed dealer or a private seller. They are unregulated and there is little legal protection in the event of a problem. Licensed dealers must offer a cooling-off period and Statutory Warranty on most used vehicles they sell. Always make sure the vehicle actually exists, is available and meets your expectations. It is ‘buyer beware’ when buying a car.

  1. Make safety a priority

Choose a car with a high ANCAP or Used Car Safety Rating and comprehensive safety features.

  1. Get an independent inspection

Always have a used car inspected by a qualified mechanic before you buy it. A safety certificate or Statutory Warranty isn’t a substitute for a vehicle inspection. Make an independent inspection part of the contract and make sure the wording allows you the right not to purchase if the inspection is unsatisfactory. Most importantly don’t accept the car unless you are satisfied with its condition.

  1. Put things in writing

Ignore any promise, warranty or guarantee that isn’t in writing as it is difficult to enforce.

  1. Conduct background checks

If buying privately, check the Personal Property Security Register online or by phoning 1300 007 777 to determine if there is any money owing on the vehicle or if it is listed as stolen or written off. The search certificate will also provide information about the vehicle’s features that should be confirmed to ensure it’s the correct vehicle. If there is money owing on the vehicle, don’t buy it if there is any doubt it won’t be paid as you will not get clear title to the vehicle and it could be repossessed.

  1. Check your contract

Never sign an incomplete contract. Always read and be sure you understand it before signing. Also be sure it is the car you want, can afford and that it is in a condition you will accept. With new vehicles, specify the car’s colour and delivery date on the contract. If a dealer does not deliver as agreed, depending on the terms of sale the contract may be terminated and deposit money refunded, particularly if the deficiency cannot be appropriately remedied by the dealer. If the dealer’s standard contract does not make provision for your specific requirements then you may need to insist on certain wording being inserted into the contract to protect your interests.

  1. Important documents

Always get a copy of any contract, warranty documents and for used vehicles, the safety certificate. Remember to check the safety certificate is current, has sufficient remaining life to complete the registration transfer and all vehicle details are correct

  1. Insure your car before you drive away

Compulsory Third Party insurance (CTP) is part of your car’s registration in Queensland, but you’ll need more protection. CTP insurance only covers personal injuries sustained by passengers in your vehicle, not at fault drivers and other users. CTP Insurance does not cover damage caused to or by your vehicle. You should have Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Insurance or Third Party Property insurance as well.

Courtesy of RACQ