Buying a car in Australia

We then decided a 4 wheel drive would be better than a camper, in case we get stuck or encounter many of Australia’s “chicken” playing native species.

We found a beauty on a search of good ol’ Gumtree. $xxxx for a 1989 Mitsubishi Pajero including full years rego, surf board, snorkel & fins, DVD player, cooking utensils, gas stove, tarp, solar shower, etc. It even had a double bed in the back because the seats had been ripped out. It was perfect.

We took a day trip to Bondi and asked the guy a few q’s, had a little look around and we were satisfied that aside from needing new wipers and tyres we were set. Anita offered him $500 less than the asking price, he accepted – we thought we were on to a winner. We checked the paper work, we had a vague idea of what we were looking at and we saw that there was a one year safety check – supposedly a pink slip. He kept hold of the rego paperwork to complete the necessary details…until his money went in.

Let’s just say we were a little naive and our research was obviously less than sufficient because we soon realized when we received our part of the paperwork that the car was not registered. More to the point it expired the day we bought it!

So it was time to panic, there’s no where to park where we work or live and we were sure to get a fine. We had 14 days to register the vehicle before we had to have further rigorous tests on it, so off to the RTA we went.

My advice to anyone travelling Australia and wanted to buy their own vehicle to do so is research before you start looking and then make informed decisions.

1 – Check the advertisement and take a screen shot if you can, because as soon as you buy it you can bet your but it will be removed from interwebland.

2 – Ask for the registration number, you can check the validity of any vehicle registration here.

3 – Check what you need to be legal:

  • Green Slip – This is your compulsory insurance to cover 3rd parties in the event of an accident. You can chose the level of cover to suit you, it is a legal requirement to complete re-registration of a vehicle. Be aware it does not cover you or your vehicle for driver caused damage or theft. For more information look here.
  • Vehicle Safety Check / e-safety check (formerly known as a Pink Slip) – This is a standard safety check for vehicles over 5 years old. It can only be completed at a registered station and an e-safety certificate will be issued to the governing authority. Where your vehicle does not pass or needs work on it you will be issued with a Repairs Required Notice (formerly a White Slip). These repairs must be made within 14 days of the notice if the vehicle is to be registered. For more info on Pink Slips look here.
  • Registration – This is similar to UK road tax and requirements and legislation changes between states as does the registering authority. For NSW when you have your Green and Pink slips confirmed  you can register here:

Roads and Maritime Service


Requirements differ from state to state as does the documentation. Our vehicle is registered to NSW and the information here is primarily relevant for NSW, however, you must check the requirements if your vehicle is registered in NSW and then will expire in another state you may need a new safety check to register the vehicle in another state. If you need to register a vehicle before you set off on your trip plan ahead to where you expect you will be when your rego expires as you could be hit with unexpected costs to make your vehicle legal again. Don’t learn the hard way.

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