Women is excited she's about to drive her new car having completed the rego

Everything You Need to Know About Car Registration in Australia


Recent Blog:

Facebook Posts

Your car rego (Aussie for ‘registration’ in case you live under a rock) is integral to getting a new or used car on the road. Legally, that is! If you’ve bought a new vehicle on home turf, then registering your car is essentially par for the course. And if you’re planning to buy a used car then a rego check beforehand can help you make sure you’re not being swindled. There’s so much to know about motor vehicle registration in Australia – read on.

noun: registration; nickname: rego; pronunciation: ‘redjo

Vehicle registration is not only a legal requirement before you or anyone else can get behind the wheel; it needs to be registered in the state or territory you live in. That’s why you’ll also need to transfer car rego if you’re buying interstate. Like we said, lots to learn…

Let’s dive into the top 15 car rego questions.

1. What is rego?

Just like you and I have an I.D. document so does a car. Registering a car in Australia isn’t merely a nice-to-have, the government requires it.

Why? Simple. Car rego ensures that vehicles meet certain safety and environmental standards and it allows them to be legally driven on public roads.

Motor vehicle registration is proof of concept. It’s your car’s formal I.D document and generally needs renewing every year. When that renewal comes up the rego needs to be done by state or territory according to where the owner lives.

2. Is rego and RWC the same thing?

Car rego shows who owns the vehicle and as we mentioned it’s a bit like your car’s ID document. This is different to a roadworthy certificate (RWC).

Every state and territory has its own rules with a RWC but for older cars you’re required to get the certificate annually (same as getting CTP and other car insurance). You get this certificate by taking your car to an authorised roadworthy inspector, usually at a vehicle service centre.

If your car is new, it likely has a grace period of a few years before it requires its first roadworthiness inspection. For example, in NSW when you buy a brand new car you won’t need a yearly safety inspection report (also known as a pink slip) for five years.

Also in NSW, you must purchase your CTP cover before you can register your car. It’s different in VIC, WA, TAS and the NT, where CTP is included in the price of your vehicle rego.

When you’re scouting out a used car to potentially buy, doing a rego check will uncover whether it has rego. If it doesn’t and you’re still thinking about making the purchase then you should do a roadworthy check. Without an RWC you can’t get rego – having it means the vehicle meets the safety checks and it’s legally drivable.

Car licence plate number can be used to do a car rego check

3. Why should I check my rego? 

As pointed out, if you’re planning on buying a used car you should definitely start by doing a rego check before signing on the dotted line. Instant Vehicle Registration Checks gives you the following info (and peace of mind):

  • Rego details. Vehicle identity number (VIN number), moptor vehicle registration number and status (expiry date), make, model and body shape, transmission and engine capacity.
  • Vehicle finance check. Is the car you’re planning to buy still being paid off? Is there any outstanding debt (that will transfer to you with ownership)? Since no one wants to buy a car that could be repossessed, the finance check is invaluable.
  • Third party data. This report includes valuable commercial, consumer and Government sales info.

Read our used car checklist for more details when choosing between second hand cars vs new.

4. How do I register my car?

Registering your car can be done at your state or territory transport authority. In general, you’ll need to bring along proof of identity, proof of vehicle ownership, and sometimes a roadworthiness certificate (if applicable). Additionally, you’ll need to pay the required registration fees.

You might also need a vehicle identity check and proof of purchase receipt. Because there is some variation, always check your local transport authority to be sure of what to bring along.

5. What is my car rego number? 

If you need to do a car rego check you can either punch in your licence plate number or the VIN number. It’s a free check you can do on your local transport authority’s website.

Traffic in Australia consists of cars registered by the state or territory the owner resides in. If you're not sure when to renew car registration do an online car rego check.

6. How much does it cost to renew car registration in Australia?

Car rego costs may differ slightly between states and territories. It can also vary depending on whether you opt to pay bi-annually, annually or in some cases, quarterly or monthly.

Another factor is the weight of your vehicle. For instance, a yearly motor vehicle registration can cost you $70 in NSW as the baseline rate plus a fee per kg. However, in some states and territories these costs are slowly being transitioned from a weight based fee to an emissions based fee.

The total fee includes costs over and above the licence fee, such as CTP, goods and services tax (GST) on the insurance, insurance duty and an admin fee. Check out how much car rego costs on your transport authority’s website, up next.

7. How do I pay my rego in Australia? 

The easiest way to pay your car rego is online via the transport department in the state or territory you live in. Depending on your preference, you can also set up a direct debit, pay in person or via mail.

Options for car rego payments might differ between states and territories. Visit your jurisdiction’s website for specifics on choosing and making payments:

Women does a car rego check then pays the annual fee online

8. When is my car rego due? 

Your car rego papers should tell you when payment is due. But if you’re not entirely sure, you can do a car rego check for free on your local transport authority’s website.

Be sure you know when payment is due to avoid making a late payment, getting whacked by added fees and ending up in a pickle. It’s best to pay well before the due date listed on your registration notice.

9. Can I register a car in a different state than I live in Australia? 

Car rego must be done in your state or territory. If you’re buying a car interstate then you’re going to need to transfer rego from that state to yours and get new number plates fixed to the car. (Read our fun facts about number plates)

However, if you’re driving interstate, then of course you aren’t going to want to renew your car rego since you plan on returning home. If you’re going for an extended work trip or holiday then know that each state and territory has a grace period. For instance, as a visitor in SA you can drive your non-SA registered car for up to 90 days.

Suburban view of Sydney opera

10. Can I transfer my car registration to another state?

Yes, you can generally transfer your motor vehicle registration to another state or territory within Australia. (And you need to if you move!). The process and requirements may vary depending on where you go, so it’s advisable to contact the relevant motor vehicle registration authority in the state or territory where you’re planning to transfer your registration.

11. Is car rego and history the same?

A car rego check gives you a lot of valuable info on the vehicle’s history. But, it’s different to a car history check that gives you additional specs.

For example, a history check gives you about when the car was first ever sold and whether it’s ever been stolen or written off. It also includes odometer checks, current valuation and a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) certificate.

Speaking of car theft, read stolen car statistics and what to do if your car is stolen.

The costs of registering your car may be claimable on your tax return. Do a car rego check to see when to renew your registration.

12. Can you claim car rego on tax? 

Happily, car rego can be claimable on your tax returns if you use it for business or work. Make sure you fit the criteria by reading up on claiming car expenses on your tax returns and claiming car expenses for business.

13. Is car rego and CTP the same?

Car rego is the official documented registration of a vehicle by state or territory. On the other hand, CTP is compulsory third party insurance (also known as green slip insurance).

Although they’re not the same thing, they go hand in hand. CTP is included in car rego in all states except NSW where you’ll instead get it via a third party provider.

14. Do you get rego back if your car is written off? 

If you’re thinking ‘no’ and hoping ‘yes’ then you’ll be happily surprised. While the concept of a total write off is no fun, you can get any remaining rego back from your transport authority. The silver lining includes also getting back any unused compulsory third party insurance.

Read up on replacement value for your car after total loss.

cars drive along an ocean highway in Australia

15. Where should I go for car insurance after my motor vehicle registration?

Now you know all about doing a car rego check, here’s another safety check: car insurance. Regardless of whether you get a new or used car, having insurance is the ultimate financial buffer against damage, theft or road incident.

With PD Insurance you’ll get the benefit of cost-effective award winning car insurance policies with a range of benefits. Plus, no matter what level of cover you choose, you can add 24/7 roadside assistance for all.

Why wait for a rainy day? Click below to get your quote started now.

Share On:

How would you, like to proceed?

How would you, like to proceed?