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Home > Consumers > Motor vehicles > Buy a used car > Vehicle checks

Vehicle checks

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PPSR search and certificate

A search on the national Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) will show if there are any unpaid debts, such as a car loan, recorded against a vehicle. A search certificate can be issued after conducting a search. The search certificate may be used as evidence to prove the results contained in that search result.

You can conduct a search on the PPSR website.

Vehicle plate checks

Check the build plate to see the construction date of the car. Make sure the advertised year of the car is the same as its true age.

The compliance plate indicates the date that the car met certain Australian safety standards, making it legal to drive. This date is not necessarily the same as the manufacture date of the car, nor does it indicate the year model.

The build plate date is commonly used to value a car when you resell it. If you have bought a car based on its compliance date, rather than build date, its resale value could be significantly less than expected.

Other checks

Depending on the age and cost of the vehicle, consider having an independent, professional inspection by a qualified mechanic. Ask to see servicing records.

When purchasing a used vehicle it is important to check any existing modifications meet legal standards and have received approval. They may require a certificate of approval or a modification plate to be displayed.

P1 and P2 licence holders should be aware there are restrictions on the type of vehicle you are allowed to drive.

Visit the Department of Transport and Mains Roads to find out more information on modification standards and vehicle restrictions for young drivers.

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Last reviewed 30/01/2012

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