The Anatomy of Healthy Cars: A Service and Repair Blog

New to Australia? What You Need to Know about Vehicle Eligibility

by Brittany Marshall

Australia is one of the top destinations in the world for migrants, and each year, thousands of fresh-faced individuals arrive on these shores looking for a new way of life. Certainly, the Australian way may be quite predictable and recognisable, especially if people come from a similar Western-style country, but they will still have to get used to certain idiosyncrasies, such as differences in transportation. If you're in this situation, you need to learn about these new rules and regulations, especially when it comes to the legality of vehicles on the road. What do you need to know?

Safety Above All

As a country, Australia has some specific rules that govern the eligibility of a vehicle from a safety perspective. These federal rules are augmented by additional requirements imposed by individual states and territories, but the overarching intent is the same—to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy.

All-Important Certificate

As you look to buy your first vehicle in this new land, you need to ensure that it has a roadworthiness certificate, or that it will be eligible to get one after the sale. You won't be able to register it unless you have an active roadworthy certificate and will need to take it into a tester working in a facility that is equipped for the specific vehicle inspection process. The good news is that there are a large number of these facilities, and you shouldn't find it difficult to locate one in your neighbourhood.

Areas of Focus

You may wonder what the regulators look for, and while there are certain differences between different states, the major elements are the same. Typically, the vehicle must be not just free from any serious defects but may not have been altered in any way that can compromise its capability.

The inspector will not just look at the mechanical components as designed by the manufacturer, but they will also look at any aftermarket modifications and have the authority to reject the vehicle if they're not happy. Should this happen, you will typically have up to a week to go away and complete repairs before a secondary inspection, or you may not use the vehicle thereafter.

Getting Help

If you're not mechanically minded and are unsure, it may be a good idea for you to take a mechanic along with you whenever you look at a prospective vehicle for purchase. This may help you to uncover any issues that may fail an inspection and could save you both time and money.


Always ask the seller if the vehicle comes equipped with a current certificate of roadworthiness and if not, make sure that it will pass a subsequent inspection.