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How to Check a Car’s Registration Status

A toy car next to a keyboard and a magnifying glass.

Are you looking to buy a secondhand car but you’re not sure where to find important info on your new set of wheels? Doing the right checks, including a registration check, can help you to find out important information about your potential new car before you buy it.

Why should you do a registration check?

A registration check will give you the details on the car’s registration history, including whether the vehicle is currently registered and when it’s due to expire. 

Based on the State and Territory laws across Australia, it’s illegal to drive an unregistered vehicle on a public road in Australia and if caught, you could face hefty fines and loss of demerit points. The penalties for driving an unregistered vehicle on a public road will vary depending on where you live. 

Without registration you’re also not covered by Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP). According to the Understand Insurance site, an initiative of the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), CTP is legally required for all registered vehicles in every State and Territory.  Without CTP cover, your legal liability isn’t covered, which puts you at serious financial risk if you’re involved in an accident while driving an unregistered vehicle on a public road. 

Registration checks are essential for financial, safety and legal reasons, not to mention the peace of mind they provide knowing your new car is unencumbered. They can also be useful for cross-checking information with the registration papers and identification documents that the seller of a secondhand vehicle provides. 

How to check a car's registration status

To run a registration check, you can access the report via your State or Territory's transport authority website. The information you need to perform a rego check depends on the site itself, but they generally require the car’s registration number or the VIN number. 

Here’s where to get a rego check based on your State or Territory.


The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) provides a checklist to assist parties with checking registration status. This check includes:

  • Registration status and expiry date;
  • Make, model and body shape;
  • Learner approved motorcycles;
  • Purpose of use - for example private, commercial; and
  • Inspection due date - for vehicles that need an inspection.

It’s worth noting that this service doesn’t provide a registered owner's details or details if the registration has been cancelled. To use this search, you’ll need to use the vehicle’s registration number or VIN number for vehicles manufactured after 1 January 1989.

New South Wales

The Service NSW site provides details on how to check a vehicle registration. This free registration check includes:

  • The registration expiry date;
  • Whether the registration is suspended or cancelled;
  • Any registration restrictions;
  • Any registration concessions (additional charges that might apply when transferred to a new owner); and
  • The Compulsory Third Party insurer and policy expiry date.

All you need to carry out the registration check is the vehicle’s NSW registration plate number.

Australian Capital Territory

The Road Transport Authority of ACT offers free registration checks for ACT registered vehicles based on the vehicle’s plate number. As part of the registration check, you’ll be able to check:

  • Whether a vehicle is registered in the ACT;
  • The vehicle registration expiry date; and
  • The vehicle inspection date (if needed).


To run a registration check for a Victorian vehicle, you’ll need to head to the VicRoads website. This vehicle registration check displays the registration information recorded in the Victorian Vehicles Register but it doesn’t include boats or personal watercrafts. This check details:

  • Whether a vehicle is registered on VicRoads;
  • The car rego expiry date;
  • The Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer and expiry date;
  • Any registration restrictions; and
  • Confirm the vehicle model and body type.

You’ll just need to input the vehicle type and identify the vehicle using it’s registration number, VIN or chassis number to complete the check.     

South Australia

If you’re looking to run a check on a South Australian vehicle, you’ll need to consult the Department for Infrastructure and Transport website to complete a registration check using the vehicle’s registration number. The check includes the following information:

  • Registration details;
  • Make;
  • Body or hull type;
  • Compulsory third party (CTP) insurer (vehicles only); and
  • Heavy vehicle details (gross vehicle/combination/trailer mass).


The TAS Department of Transport provides free registration checks for Tasmanian vehicles. This registration check will provide you with:

  • Whether a vehicle is registered in Tasmania;
  • The car rego expiry date;
  • The Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer and expiry date;
  • Any registration restrictions in TAS; and
  • Confirm the vehicle model and body type.

Simply input the Tasmanian plate number to run a search.

Western Australia

To complete a registration check for vehicles registered in Western Australia, you’ll need to head to the Department of Transport website and input the licence plate number. This check includes:

  • Whether a vehicle is registered in WA;
  • The car rego expiry date;
  • The Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer and expiry date;
  • Any registration restrictions in the State; and
  • Confirm the vehicle model and body type.

Northern Territory

The NT government provides free registration checks for vehicles registered in the NT. Just enter the registration number to find information about:

  • Whether a vehicle is registered in NT;
  • The vehicle registration expiry date; and
  • The vehicle inspection date (if needed).

Other second hand car checks

Although registration checks provide potential buyers with important information, it’s usually limited to details regarding the car’s registration status. Buying a used car comes with risk, but according to the Australian Financial Security Authority, doing a car search on the Personal Property Security Register (PPSR) can help to minimise this risk by checking whether the vehicle is recorded as debt free, stolen or written off. A PPSR check also protects you against the car being repossessed whether you purchase the car from a private vendor or a dealership. A check on the PPSR will set you back just two dollars and all you need is the vehicle’s VIN or chassis number. 

It can also be worth taking the car for a pre-purchase inspection or mechanical check to make sure it’s in good working order. Many mechanics offer these services or you can also book in with your State-based Australian Automobile Association

If you’re currently in the process of looking for a secondhand car, you can check out our secondhand cars guide for some tips for buying a secondhand car.

Don’t risk driving an unregistered, uninsured vehicle, make sure to check the car’s registration details and other relevant information by doing the right searches and checks before buying a secondhand car. If you’re in need of insurance for your new set of wheels, check out Youi’s range of car insurance options to see if there’s a policy that meets your needs.


The information provided in this article contains general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s particular objectives, financial situations or needs. 

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