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Safety certificates

What is a safety certificate?

A safety certificate is issued after a vehicle passes an minimum safety standard inspection. A safety certificate covers basic things that could affect the safe operation of the vehicle, such as:

  • tyres
  • brakes
  • steering
  • suspension
  • body rust or damage
  • windscreen
  • lights.

The safety certificate offers buyers better protection and makes sure vehicles being offered for disposal or being re-registered are safe – reducing the likelihood of crashes caused by defective vehicles.

Note: A safety certificate inspection is not a comprehensive mechanical inspection of a vehicle. Before you purchase a used vehicle, we recommend you contact a motoring group such as the RACQ, for a full mechanical inspection of the vehicle.

When is a safety certificate needed?

You have to display a safety certificate on any registered light vehicle from the moment you offer the vehicle for sale, including when you:

  • list the vehicle for sale online
  • place the vehicle in public offering it for sale
  • drive the vehicle with a sign on the window, such as ’Interested? Ph 1234 5678’ or ’Buy Me – Ph 1234 5678’.

Note: You are required to obtain and display a safety certificate on a registered vehicle when it is being offered for sale, even when you plan on cancelling the registration when the vehicle is sold.

Unregistered second hand and registered interstate vehicles must have a safety certificate as part of the Queensland pre-registration process (unless exempt). This includes:

  • cars
  • motorcycles
  • trailers (including caravans) with an aggregate trailer mass (ATM) of 0.751–3.50 tonnes (t)
  • any other vehicles up to 4.50t gross vehicle mass (GVM).

Displaying safety certificates

Safety certificates must be displayed in a very obvious place, for example:

  • motorcycle – front forks or guard
  • car – windscreen or window
  • trailer – draw-bar.

You may get a $550 fine if you don’t display a safety certificate on the vehicle from the moment you offer it for sale.

When is a safety certificate not needed?

Selling a vehicle without a safety certificate

Vehicles that are unregistered or are traded to, or between, licensed motor dealers do not need a safety certificate. Vehicles can still be sold for parts but they must be de-registered before being offered for sale.

Transferring a vehicle without a safety certificate

You don’t need a safety certificate if the vehicle meets one of the exemption criteria. Some exemption situations may include:

  • the disposer being in an exempt area
  • a beneficiary of a deceased estate
  • between spouses, including separated spouses
  • remote locations.

For more information on exemptions, phone 13 23 80.

Who issues safety certificates?

Safety certificates can only be issued by approved inspection stations. These are service stations, garages or workshops approved by the Queensland Government.

To find approved inspection stations near you, please refer to the yellow pages or phone 13 23 80.

How long are safety certificates current for?

The time a safety certificate is valid for varies depending on who is selling the vehicle:

  • licensed motor dealers: certificates are valid for 3 months or 1000km (whichever comes first) from the date of issue
  • all other sellers: certificates are valid for 2 months or 2000km (whichever comes first) from the date of issue.

The same safety certificate can be used to register an unregistered vehicle and to transfer the registration of that vehicle, provided it is within the limits set out above.

A new safety certificate is needed each time you sell the vehicle even if it is within the limits above. A single safety certificate cannot be used for 2 transfers.

Last updated
18 November 2014