Can you sell a car without a roadworthy certificate?

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Can you sell a car without a roadworthy certificate?
Sell Salvaged Vehicle
Doug Whiffin
Doug Whiffin
National Automotive Buyer and Second-In-Command Manager
February 10, 2023
minute read

The roadworthy certificate (RWC) is an essential document for any vehicle owner. It certifies that the car is safe to drive on public roads and meets the necessary safety standards. However, many car owners are unsure of whether they can continue selling a car without a roadworthy certificate. 

Whether you’re a seasoned car seller or a first-timer, it’s important to understand the legal requirements and best practices for selling a car in your state. So, buckle up and let’s find out if it’s possible to sell a car without a roadworthy certificate, and what you need to know before making the sale.  

Selling a private vehicle in Australia

Which states require a roadworthy certificate when selling a car? 

If you’re selling a registered vehicle privately and not opting for a cash for cars service, there are some important and sometimes tricky rules you must follow depending on the state where you live. While selling a car without RWC is allowed in most cases, it’s important to be aware of when it’s not. 

New South Wales roadworthy certificate regulations

The NSW Roads and Maritime Services allow you to make a vehicle transfer without a roadworthy certification. However, if the vehicle is over five years old, an annual safety inspection is mandatory before the registration can be renewed. This is called an e-Safety Check (also known as a ‘pink slip’). 

Unsure of your vehicle’s age? Don’t worry. NSW residents receive a registration renewal notice, which will notify them when they need a pink slip inspection. Alternatively, if your car doesn’t need a pink slip - it’s important to know when it will. Usually, this is calculated from the month and year on the vehicle’s compliance plate.  

How long do pink slip inspections last?

In NSW, a pink slip typically remains valid for six months from the date of issue for the purposes of vehicle registration renewal. After this period, a new pink slip will be required to renew registration. However, it's important to note that the validity period may vary depending on specific circumstances or changes in regulations, so it's advisable to check with the relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information.

What if I purchased an unregistered vehicle in NSW? 

If you purchase an unregistered vehicle in NSW, you will need to re-register the car before it can be driven. To do this, you will need what’s called a ‘blue slip’ inspection, which verifies that an unregistered vehicle is safe. 

Therefore, while you don’t necessarily need roadworthy certificates when selling a car in NSW, you do require a pink slip roadworthy inspection if the vehicle is older than five years. This helps potential buyers understand the safety capacity of your vehicle. 

Victoria roadworthy certificate regulations

According to VicRoads and their guidelines on roadworthiness, you are allowed to go about privately selling a car without a roadworthy certificate. However, you must sell the car without number plates (which must be returned to VicRoads before the sale.) This means you will be suspending the registration. If you plan to sell a registered car, it must be sold to the new owner with a roadworthy certificate.  

The only time you are exempt from obtaining a roadworthy certificate for a registered vehicle is if the vehicle is not designed to carry passengers or goods, and is instead a specially constructed vehicle. In this case, no safety inspections are needed. 

How long does a roadworthy certificate in Victoria last?

According to VicRoads, a roadworthy certificate is considered current and valid for a period of 30 days from the date of issue. If the RWC expires before the vehicle is sold or transferred, a new inspection and certificate will be required. It's essential to keep the validity period in mind to avoid any legal complications during vehicle transactions in Victoria.

Queensland roadworthy certificate regulations

In Queensland, In Queensland, you must acquire a safety certificate (their version of a roadworthy certificate) before selling a registered car privately, regardless of its age. According to the Queensland Government’s Transport Registration services, obtaining a certificate of roadworthiness is only exempted when selling to a dealer. In all other cases, the certificate must be clearly displayed during the car sale process. Otherwise, a fine of over $700 may apply. 

How long does a safety certificate last in Queensland?

The duration of safety certificates in Queensland varies depending on the seller. For instance, licensed motor dealers have safety certificates that are valid for three months or when your vehicle passes 1000km (whichever comes first) from the date of issue. In comparison, all other sellers have safety certificates that are valid for two months or 2000km (whichever comes first).

It’s also important to note that you will need to obtain a new safety certificate every time you sell a future car, as a single safety certificate can be used for one transfer only. 

ACT roadworthy certificate regulations

In the ACT, you only need a roadworthy certificate and a Certificate of Inspection in the following cases:

  • Transferring registration for a vehicle over six years old 
  • Moving interstate registration to the ACT
  • Clearing a defect notice 
  • Re-establishing a cancelled or lapsed registration 
  • Establishing new registration for a vehicle bought privately 

How long does a Certificate of Inspection last in the ACT?

In general, Certificates of Inspection in the ACT are known to be valid for one month from the initial inspection date. If you have not sold your registered light vehicle or machinery within this time, you will need to undergo new roadworthy inspections to obtain another Certificate of Inspection. 

All other states, including Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory, do not require a certificate of roadworthiness when selling a vehicle.

Can a dealer sell a car without registration and a roadworthy certificate?

If you’re not buying a vehicle privately but through a dealership, they will likely conduct a roadworthy test on your behalf. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about obtaining a roadworthy certificate for your registered vehicle.

Usually, you will not find a large organisation or licensed dealer selling a car without a roadworthy certificate or registration. 

Can you get a fine for selling a car without a roadworthy certificate? 

As a general rule, if you are selling a registered vehicle, you will need to obtain a roadworthy certificate in most states. However, if you are selling an old car and an unregistered vehicle, you do not need an RWC.

Potential fines for selling a car without a roadworthy certificate differ from state to state. Although most do not have any penalties, those selling a vehicle registered in Queensland should remember that a fine of over $700 may apply if you do not have the current safety certificate and detailed report when disposing of a registered vehicle.

Sell your car with ease at 1800 Salvage

If you’re looking to sell a car that is no longer roadworthy or not registered, the team at 1800 Salavge can help. We offer cash for all types of second-hand cars and light vehicles.

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