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What To Do After Buying A Used Car Australia – The Complete Guide

Buying a used car can be both exciting and daunting, especially if it’s your first time. After completing the purchase, there are several things you should do to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly and stays in good condition. In this article, we’ll guide you through the necessary steps to take after buying a used car in Australia.

Check the Car’s Registration

As soon as you purchase a used car, you should check if the vehicle is legally registered in Australia. To do this, you can visit the relevant state or territory transport authority website and enter the vehicle’s registration number. Ensure that the registration is up to date and that there are no outstanding fines or penalties attached to the vehicle.

Transfer Ownership

After purchasing a used car in Australia, you’ll need to transfer the ownership to your name. This process varies depending on the state or territory you’re in, but generally, you’ll need to complete a transfer of ownership form and provide proof of identity and ownership. You can usually do this online or in person at a transport authority office. Once the transfer is complete, you’ll receive a new registration certificate in your name.

Get Car Insurance

Car insurance is mandatory in Australia, so it’s essential to arrange cover for your new vehicle as soon as possible. You can compare prices and policies from various insurers online or through a broker. Make sure to choose a policy that suits your needs and budget and provides adequate coverage for your vehicle.

Get a Roadworthy Certificate

A roadworthy certificate is a legal requirement when selling or transferring ownership of a used car in most states and territories in Australia. This certificate ensures that the vehicle meets the minimum safety standards set by the state government. You’ll need to have the car inspected by a licensed mechanic who will issue the certificate if the vehicle passes the necessary checks.

Check the Car’s Service History

It’s important to check the car’s service history to ensure that it has been well maintained and serviced regularly. This will give you an idea of any potential issues that you may need to address and help you plan for future maintenance and repairs. It’s best to ask the previous owner for the service records or contact the dealership for this information.

Get the Car Serviced

Even if the car has a good service history, it’s still a good idea to get it serviced soon after purchasing it. This will help identify any issues that may not have been noted in the service history or during the inspection for the roadworthy certificate. It’s also a good opportunity to get the fluids and filters changed and ensure that the brakes and tyres are in good condition.

Check and Update the Car’s Manual

Ensure that you have the car’s manual and that it’s up to date. The manual contains important information on the car’s features and functions, as well as maintenance and care instructions. If the previous owner doesn’t have the manual or it’s outdated, you can usually find a copy online or order one from the dealership.

Clean the Car

Cleaning the car is not only a good way to show off your new purchase, but it’s also essential for maintaining the vehicle’s condition. Clean the interior and exterior thoroughly, including the carpets, seats, dashboard, and windows. You may also want to have the car professionally detailed to remove any stains or odours.

Plan for Future Maintenance and Repairs

It’s important to plan for future maintenance and repairs, as even well-maintained cars will require servicing and repairs over time. Consider setting up a regular maintenance schedule and budgeting for unforeseen repairs. You may also want to consider purchasing an extended warranty or roadside assistance plan for added peace of mind.

Familiarize Yourself with the Car’s Features

Take the time to familiarise yourself with the car’s features and functions. This includes the entertainment system, air conditioning, heating, and any other features unique to the vehicle. This will make driving and using the car more comfortable and enjoyable.


Buying a used car in Australia can be a great way to save money and get a quality vehicle. However, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that the car is in good condition and legally registered in your name. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your new car runs smoothly and stays in good condition for years to come.


How long does it take to transfer ownership of a used car in Australia?

The time it takes to transfer ownership of a used car in Australia varies depending on the state or territory you’re in. On average, it takes between 2-4 weeks to complete the transfer.

Can I drive a used car without insurance in Australia?

No, car insurance is mandatory in Australia, and it’s illegal to drive without it.

Do I need to get a roadworthy certificate for a used car I’m buying interstate?

Yes, if you’re buying a used car interstate, you’ll need to get a roadworthy certificate before transferring ownership.

Can I get a refund if I’m not happy with a used car I’ve bought?

It depends on the seller’s refund policy. Generally, if you buy a used car from a private seller, you won’t be entitled to a refund if you simply change your mind. However, if the car has significant faults that were not disclosed prior to purchase, you may be entitled to a refund or repair.

How often should I service my used car?

The frequency of servicing your used car depends on the make and model of the vehicle, as well as its age and condition. As a general rule, it’s recommended to service your car every 6-12 months or every 10,000-15,000 kilometres travelled.

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