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Can you sell a car without a roadworthy certificate?

Information Centre
Can you sell a car without a roadworthy certificate?
Sell Salvaged Vehicle
Doug Whiffin
Doug Whiffin
Business Development 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, there are 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 

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. 

So, while you don’t necessarily need a safety certificate when selling a car without an RWC, the assumption is that it is safe to drive anyway.  


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.  


In Queensland, you must acquire a safety 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. 


In the ACT, you only require a roadworthy certificate if the car being sold is older than six years. 

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 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 when disposing of a registered vehicle.

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