Vehicle Safety Inspections in Australia

Information on vehicle safety checks in Australia. A guide to when one is needed in each state or territory and how to find a licensed testing station around the country...

Roadworthiness or roadworthy checks, such as the British MOT, are not required on a regular basis in Australia. Although the exact rules vary in each state and territory, a safety certificate (or 'safety') is usually only required when a car is being sold, is over a certain age or has been written-off but is repairable.

Safety Certificates

The exact requirements of a car safety certificate vary from state to state. In general, safety certificates are designed to ensure that vehicles are safe to drive. The certificate covers basic things that can affect the safe running of a vehicle such as:

  • Tyres
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Lights
  • Windscreen
  • Seats and seat belts
  • Suspension
  • Rust or damage to the vehicle body
  • Exhaust and emission controls
Only approved garages and workshops that have been granted permission by the state or territory transport department may carry out inspections.

A list of authorised inspection stations can be found on the transport pages of some state government websites:

Requirements by State and Territory

Specific information on safety certificates for each state or territory is given below.

Australian Capital Territory

A vehicle must be inspected and display a valid certificate in the following circumstances:
  • The vehicle is changing owner and is more than six years old
  • A vehicle from another state is being registered in the Australian Capital Territory
  • When the vehicle registration has expired by more than 12 months
  • Defect clearances
  • Establishment of registration
A certificate is valid for one month from the date it is issued. Cars that run on liquid petroleum gas (LPG) are required to undergo inspection annually.

New South Wales

In New South Wales, vehicle owners are informed on the registration renewal notice if a vehicle safety check is required for their vehicle. An eSafety inspection report (commonly called a pink slip) is needed to renew the registration on any vehicle more than five years old as well as on vehicles previously registered in a different state or territory.

Northern Territory

A vehicle roadworthy inspection is needed to register a car from another state or renew registration if the vehicle is more than three years old. Older vehicles require a roadworthy inspection every 12 months in order to renew its registration.

Queensland

A road safety certificate is needed to sell a vehicle in Queensland or registration is being transferred to a new owner. It is also required when transferring to Queensland registration from another state or territory, or when re-registering an unregistered vehicle.

In Queensland, light vehicles are classified as cars, motorbikes, caravans or trailers. Electronically issued certificates do not need to be displayed in the vehicle when it is listed for sale, but it must be produced if requested by a buyer, buyer's agent, police officer or transport inspector. If the certificate is written by hand it must be displayed in an obvious place as soon as it is up for sale.

For private sellers a certificate is valid for two months or 2,000 Km, whichever comes first, from the date of issue. A certificate can only be used for one sale, even if the vehicle is put up for sale again within the two month or 2,000 Km limit.

South Australia

The majority of vehicles do not require a safety inspection to be driven and registered in South Australia. However vehicle inspection is required in the following cases:

  • The vehicle was last registered in a different state, unless an interstate registration is held in exactly the same name as is being applied for in South Australia
  • The vehicle is more than seven years old
  • The vehicle is a previously written-off vehicle which has been repaired
  • The vehicle has been modified, including any of the following: fitted with a non-standard engine; converted from left-hand drive; rebuilt or had modifications made to its brakes; modified steering or suspension systems
  • The police have given the vehicle a defect notice
  • For further information on the road vehicle inspections in South Australia

Tasmania

In Tasmania a vehicle must pass a safety inspection if it has not been registered for more than three months, if a defect notice has been served against it, or if the vehicle has been moved to the state from elsewhere in Australia or a foreign country. A vehicle also needs to be inspected before it is sold.

Victoria

In Victoria a "Certificate of Roadworthiness" is required when a vehicle is sold, or if a used vehicle is to be re-registered. A vehicle may also need to be inspected if it is issued with a "Notice of Unroadworthiness" or "Vehicle Defect Notice" by the police.

The certificate is valid for 30 days after it is issued. If a vehicle fails an inspection the owner has seven days to carry out the necessary repairs and submit the vehicle for a second test.

Western Australia

A vehicle in Western Australia must pass a safety test in the following circumstances:

  • The vehicle has been modified, for example if it has a new body or engine
  • The vehicle is being registered in the state for the first time
  • To licence a written-off vehicle that can be repaired
  • The owner receives a compliance notice. These notices are yellow stickers which indicate that the vehicle is not considered to be roadworthy. The vehicle must be examined at an inspection centre within 14 days of the expiry date given on the sticker
  • The vehicle is subject to an annual examination. Left-hand drive vehicles and taxis must be tested every year. Owners receive notification by post if an annual safety test is required
  • For Western Australia vehicle examination guidelines