What is

Buying a used car can be tricky business. was created to help Australians used car buyers do the right checks on cars they intend on purchasing.

Did you know that if you buy a used car with money owing to a financier from a previous owner, it could be repossessed?

It’s true, if you don’t check for financial encumbrances (REVs check) you could end up losing the car you have just purchased.

Before purchasing a used vehicle you should always do a REVS check to see if there is any money owing on the vehicle you are buying.

Just enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on’s Home Page and we will direct you to companies that provide the most comprehensive REVS checks and vehicle history checks in Australia.

Tips for buying a used car in Australia

Looking over the used car and having a mechanical inspection performed are necessary steps. However there are some very important things that can still remain a mystery.

For instance:

  • Is the car really the one it is supposed to be, and does the VIN, engine and registration number match up?
  • Has it been reported stolen or ever written-off?
  • Is there clear title on the vehicle?
  • Has the odometer been rolled back?
  • When the car was first registered, how many times has the registration been transferred and for what purpose was it used (taxi, rental car, etc)?

Why are vehicle checks so important?

Licensed dealers are obliged to guarantee that no money is owing on the car, it has not been deregistered due to parking fines or previously declared a written-off vehicle. If a car turns out to be stolen, the purchase price must be refunded by the dealer or, if no longer trading, the Motor Dealer Compensation Fund.

However, if you are buying privately, it is your responsibility to find out if there is any money owing on the vehicle. Doing a REVS check and buying a car history report will tell you if a car has been reported stolen, written off by an insurance company, if there is money owing on it or if the rego has been cancelled due to unpaid fines.

If you purchase a vehicle from a private seller who has an outstanding loan attached to the vehicle (this is called an encumbrance), the vehicle could be repossessed and you could lose your money.

We recommend you purchase a REVs Certificate on the day you intend to purchase the vehicle.

If the vehicle is encumbered, you should not purchase it until you are satisfied with the arrangements made by the current owner to repay the debt.

You need to be sure that the registration, engine and Vehicle Identification (VIN/Chassis) numbers on the registration papers are identical to those on the vehicle.

If there are any discrepancies, it would be wise to seek an identification check at an Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Station (AUVIS), available for a small fee.

Decided to buy?

Make sure you organise insurance before you drive the car away. Also, notify the appropriate authorities that you are the new owner of the vehicle.

Check whether the car you are looking at has been recalled as part of a safety campaign and, if it has, ensure the repairs have been made.

Consider the additional cost of stamp duty / transfer fees when you're working out the total cost of the purchase.

Ask the seller to show you:

  • A current certificate of registration
  • A safety check report (pink slip*) that is not more than one month old
  • Proof that the person selling the car is the owner -- such as a driving licence and sales receipt.

Check that the information on the certificate of registration and safety check report matches the details of the vehicle.

You will need to examine the vehicle and write down the:

  • Vehicle registration number
  • The engine number
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN) or chassis number

Transfer the Registration

After you purchase the vehicle, you must visit a Motor Registry within 14 days to transfer ownership of the vehicle to your name. You will need:

  • your proof of purchase
  • at least two forms of identification
  • and money to pay the stamp duty and transfer fee.