Buying a Car in Queensland

Buying a Car in Queensland

Welcome! You have arrived and now you need some wheels! So what do you need to know?

There are some laws you need to be aware of, as it does differ if you are buying from a dealer, or at auction, or from a private seller.

We have tried to provide a detailed guide here but please do check with your local authority at the point of buying just to make sure everything is covered when you do get round to buying one.

Buying from a Dealership

Buying from a licensed dealer may appear more expensive at first glance but it can come with advantages and sometimes be safer.

If you are buying from a licensed dealer you are entitled to

  • Test drive the vehicle
  • You have a 1 day cooling off period – this means if you change your mind you can end the contract without incurring big penalties. The 1 day refers to a dealers trading hours so if you sign a contract on the Friday and the dealer is open on the Saturday then the Saturday counts as 1 day. If you take the vehicle home then your cooling off period ends straight away. You can however take the car for an independent inspection by a mechanic. The contract is legally binding for the dealer within that 1 day period, but not by you – unless you take the car home. Also a dealer cannot refuse to give you that one day period.
  • Certain vehicles have a statutory warranty – this can protect you from financial loss if the vehicle is faulty. It will cover you if the vehicle has less than 160,000k’s and the date of manufacture if less than 10yrs before the sale date. The warranty usually expires after 3 months or the first 5000k’s. To find out more about warranties go here:
  • You are protected by the motor dealers legislation
  • You have access to a claim fund that can compensate you if you lose money due to the dealers actions.
  • A clear title guarantee – this means you are guaranteed that the vehicle doesn’t have any unpaid debts attached to it!

Buying Privately:

If you are buying privately I would say the rules that apply are similar no matter where you are from:

  • Make sure the seller actually is the owner of that vehicle and its not a stolen car
  • Make sure the car matches the paperwork you are given
  • Make sure there is no outstanding debts owing on the car
  • Make sure the car has not been written off at some point

To carry out a check on the car, go to the Personal Property Securities Register to double check the registered owner of the car and any outstanding debts or write off history. For about $2 this search could save a lot of trouble later on

You can also do this search on boats, caravans, motorbikes, trucks….

This is a very low cost search on that register can help clear your mind on the above mentioned risks!

A couple of good websites for second hand are:

Be aware, as mentioned above, you are not entitled to a cooling off period, or a warranty and you cannot access the compensation claims fund if anything goes wrong. So be very sure before you buy.

  • Check that the car is not stolen, if its registered does it have a current safety certificate?
  • Can you get an independent vehicle inspection done by a mechanic before buying?
  • Check the sellers’ drivers license to ensure they are who they say they are and the vehicle registration address matches theirs. The current car registration certificate will detail who the current owner is.

Stamp Duty

When you purchase a car in Australia you will be expected to pay Stamp Duty on top of the purchase price of the car.
This includes second hand cars.

To work out the stamp duty the QLD gov website has a handy calculator

Safety Certificates

What is a safety certificate and do I need one?

A safety certificate in Queensland is a basic safety check on things like tyres, brakes, steering, windscreen, lights, suspension and body rust or damage. It is not a comprehensive mechanical inspection. If you need one of these done then companies like RACQ offer that service.

A car up for sale must have a safety certificate (there are a few exceptions as always to any rule but if you are new to the state and looking to buy a car you can immediately drive around in, the car you buy should have a safety certificate)

Third Party Insurance v Comprehensive

When you buy a new or used vehicle you need Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance.

**Please note if you are coming from the UK, third party insurance is not the same as UK third party insurance!

Your CTP insurance comes with your car registration (rego) and it does not cover you for fire and theft, it is purely insurance to pay for injuries you have caused to someone else. If you do not have rego you do not have CTP so it is very important to make sure your ownership of the car has been transferred over and you are the registered new owner.

(Taken from the Motor Accident Insurance Commission:

About CTP insurance

In Queensland, Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance protects motor vehicle owners and drivers from being held financially responsible if they injure someone in a motor vehicle accident. It also enables a person who is injured wholly or partly due to the actions of another driver to access medical treatment and rehabilitation support as well as receiving fair and timely compensation.

As the name suggests, CTP insurance is a compulsory product, conveniently and cost-effectively purchased by motorists along with their vehicle registration. Because it is compulsory, there is a scheme objective to ensure premiums remain affordable for motorists.

CTP insurance is important for motorists and injured people alike. The average cost of a CTP insurance claim is around $100,000 and some claims can cost millions of dollars. This would represent a life-altering burden for motorists if they were required to pay this compensation from their own pockets.

The Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) regulates Queensland’s CTP insurance scheme. For over 25 years, MAIC has delivered financial protection for motorists, recovery for claimants, opportunity for service providers, and economic growth and skills building in the community.

Registering a car (Rego)

Transferring ownership

The registration of the vehicle has to be transferred over to the new owner within 14 days and there are fees associated with this!

Moving your vehicle interstate

If you move to Queensland from another state or territory, you must get Queensland registration and a Queensland driver licence. You have 14 days to register your vehicle in Queensland and may be fined if you don’t.

When you register your vehicle in Queensland, you can apply to get a refund on the remaining part of your interstate registration.

To do this, you need to hand in your interstate number plates and provide a current Queensland safety certificate to atransport and motoring customer service centre or, if you live in a rural area, a QGAP officeMagistrates Court or local police station that provides vehicle registration services.

You will get a receipt for the surrender of the number plates. To cancel the interstate registration and receive a refund you must contact the interstate authority where your vehicle was previously registered.


QLD (and Australia) has a number of toll roads and tunnels. If you travel without a toll pass you have to jump online and pay within 3 days.

We advise you to get a pass and put it in the car. This will automatically bill you when you use a toll road and then you don’t need to worry about forgetting.

Your Linkt Tag, Tagless or Commercial account covers you for travel on all toll roads in Australia

If you drive on a toll road, and did not arrange payment before travel or pay your toll within 3 days, the vehicle’s registered owner will receive an unpaid toll notice from that toll road’s payment provider. This notice may also include additional fees. The notice will include instructions on how to pay.

If you rent a vehicle, check with the rental company about their tolling arrangements. You may need to note the rental vehicle’s number plate to pay the toll, including its state of registration if it is not registered in Queensland.
Prices and toll pass info can be found here:

Transferring your license

The following link will include:

  • How to apply for a QLD licence
  • Need an interpreter
  • List of Recognised countries and jurisdictions in regards to licence testing

If your driver licence has been issued in a country or jurisdictions not listed, you will need to pass a written road rules test or PrepL online, click on the link below for more information:

Once you have passed the written road rules test or PrepL, (make sure you have taken your overseas licence and evidence of ID into your closest customer service centre) you can than book a driving test
by calling 132380.

From 1 January 2014 if you hold a foreign licence and you fail a practical driving test, your authority to drive on your foreign licence will be withdrawn.

You will be able to use your foreign licence for the next practical driving test you take. If you need to practice before taking your next test you will have to get a Queensland learner licence.

Find you closest Customer Service Centre here:

Find out what Evidence of ID you will need:

Did you know that the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads has a wide range of online services available?

These services include receiving your registration renewal and certificate by email plus email reminders to help you remember important dates such as when your licence is due for renewal.

Find out more at :

More information

Many of the services are now available online.

Here’s a link to all of the DTMR services currently online (you may want to bookmark this for future reference):

These services also include receiving your registration renewal and certificate by email, plus email reminders to help you remember important dates such as when your licence is due for renewal.

Find out more at

Thanks and remember to drive safely!

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