Is a Safety Certificate the same as a Roadworthy

In Queensland a safety certificate is needed when:

  • A registered light vehicle is offered for sale in Queensland, or
  • Transferring registration to a new owner, or
  • When transferring to Queensland registration from another state or territory, or
  • When re-registering an unregistered vehicle.

Vehicles requiring a safety certificate are:

  • Cars
  • Motorcycles
  • Trailers (including caravans) with an aggregate trailer mass (ATM) between 750kg and 3,500kg
  • Any other vehicles up to 4,500kg gross vehicle mass (GVM).

This inspection covers the basic vehicle safety standards for many components including:

  • Tyres
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Body rust or damage
  • Windscreen
  • Lights.

The Vehicle Inspection Guidelines explain how a safety certificate inspection is performed and the reasons a vehicle may fail an inspection.

A lot of customers believe that a safety certificate is a comprehensive vehicle check when it is not. It is a basic check of a vehicle across specific points at a moment in time. DO NOT be confused with a pre-purchase inspection.

A safety certificate/ roadworthy certificate is not a warranty that there is nothing wrong with the vehicle.

If you wish to have piece of mind over the vehicle that you are purchasing, then you need to ask our team at East Coast Mobile to conduct a full and comprehensive pre-purchase inspection. For a small amount of cost a pre-purchase inspection will provide you with a detailed report and recommendations about the vehicle’s health and requirements (if any).

Getting a safety certificate Rules & Regulations

It is a must to obtain a safety certificate/ roadworthy certificate before offering registered vehicles for sale or disposing of a registered vehicle, unless it is to a registered dealer.

Approved inspection stations or (AIS)locations or mobile operations provide vehicle inspections, and they are the only businesses in Queensland qualified to issue safety certificates. East Coast Mobile Safety Certificates provides you with either a handwritten certificate or an electronically issued certificate.

If you receive an electronically issued certificate you don’t need to be displayed these on your vehicle when it is listed for sale, however you must produce it if requested by a buyer, buyer’s agent, police officer or transport inspector. Approved inspection companies like East Coast Mobile will email you a PDF or give you a printed copy of the certificate once the inspection is complete. If you cannot produce the safety certificate/roadworthy certificate you may be fined $560.

If a handwritten safety certificate/roadworthy certificate, you must display the certificate (or the blue cover label) on your registered light vehicle from the moment you offer it for sale, including when you:

  • list the vehicle for sale online like gumtree, carsales, Ebay etc.
  • display that it is for sale in public including out the front of your house
  • drive the car with a sign in the window offering it for sale, including wording such as ‘Buy me or interested? —Ph 0000 111 222’.

Obtaining a Safety certificate for unregistered vehicles

It is legal to drive your unregistered vehicle to get the safety certificate/roadworthy certificate, providing you take the following steps:

  • remove all number plate(s) and the registration label (if applicable) from the vehicle. All standard number plates must be handed in to a Queensland Transport Office. You can keep Queensland-issued personalised plates so don’t be concerned.
  • Complete and take with you a vehicle registration application (F3518)
  • You will also require the original compulsory third party (CTP) insurance certificate (6- or 12-month registration period) from any of the licensed insurers.

Once you have completed all this and have your paperwork you must take the shortest and most direct route to an:

  • AIS or call a mobile safety certificate service that will come to you and provide you with a safety certificate/roadworthy certificate.
  • authorised mobile gas installer to obtain a gas certificate, if your vehicle uses LPG or is a caravan fitted with gas appliances.

Should your vehicle not pass a safety certificate/roadworthy certificate:

  • You have 14 days to repair the vehicle to a safe standard.
  • Most reputable Mobile AIS will be able to arrange the repairs for you or advise where to get the work completed in the timeframe required.
  • East Coast have been in the industry for nearly 20 years and can help with any repair work required to suit your budget.Permits are available to drive unregistered vehicles in the event they need to be moved to repairer locations for jobs that cannot be done by mobile repairs.
  • East Coast have workshop facilities as well as mobile mechanics that can get you running.

Once the repairs are completed and you have your safety certificate/roadworthy certificate, you are legally allowed to drive the vehicle to your nearest Queensland transport office to get the registration.

How & Where to Display a safety certificate

Handwritten safety certificates (or the blue cover label) must be displayed in an obvious area, for example:

  • Motorcycles – on the front forks or guard
  • Cars – on the windscreen or window
  • Trailers or Caravans – on the drawbar.

When displayed, all information written on the safety certificate/roadworthy certificate (or blue cover label) must be able to be seen clearly from outside the vehicle. So if you display it through a tinted side window or if there is anything obscuring the view of the safety certificate/roadworthy certificate, it will need to be moved to clear spot so potential buyers and authorities can read it clearly.

Please be aware you can be fined over $560 if you don’t clearly display a handwritten safety certificate/roadworthy certificate (or the blue cover label) on a vehicle the very first time you offer your vehicle for sale.

Electronic certificates are emailed to you immediately after the inspection and do not need to be on your vehicle when offering it for sale. However, you must have must be able to produce it if requested by a buyer, buyer’s agent, police officer or transport inspector. When asked to produce the certificate it can either be in printed form or via an electronic devise i.e. smart phone, laptop, email etc.

How long are safety certificates valid?

This depends on who is selling the vehicle:

  • If the seller is a licensed motor dealer—certificates are valid for 3 months or 1,000km (whichever comes first) from the date of issue
  • all other sellers—certificates are valid for 2 months or 2,000km (whichever comes first) from the date of issue.
  • If you do not sell/dispose of the vehicle within this time period, you will be required to obtain a new safety certificate in order to sell the vehicle.

The same safety certificate/roadworthy certificate can be used to register an unregistered vehicle and then transfer the registration to a buyer, if you meet the regulations set by Queensland transport.

It is a requirement that you get a safety certificate/roadworthy certificate every time you sell a vehicle and must do so under the terms and conditions set out earlier. You can only use the certificate once. People are under the misunderstanding that when they buy a vehicle with a safety certificate, they can use the certificate again to sell the vehicle and this is not the case.

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