Buying a Car in Western Australia

buying a car in western australiaIf purchasing a car, you will need to understand the Australian car registration system or “Rego” as we call it.

Charges, and regulations/requirements vary greatly across Australia; in New South Wales it can cost over $800, while in Western Australia it can be half that. Rego must be renewed every year.

The Rego includes the minimum legal third-party insurance. This provides you with unlimited cover against claims for personal or fatal injury caused to another person (but not their vehicle/s and or property), as a result of your negligent driving of a Western Australian licensed vehicle anywhere in Australia.

In Australia every vehicle with a valid number plate (Rego) has compulsory third-party insurance along with it. It doesn't matter who's driving it - so insurance goes along with the vehicle. Sellers usually factor in the unused Rego into the selling price of the car. The reason you get additional insurance is to cover repairs on someone else’s car (and/or yours) should you be in an accident that is your fault. RAC Western Australia is a good provider of additional insurance cover. Fees, however are more for drivers under the age of 25, more again for drivers under the age of 19 or those with a bad driving history. RAC also offers the most comprehensive roadside assistance throughout Western Australia. This cover is a wise investment (about $140 per year) for those travelling in remote areas. See

Any person buying a car, regardless of how much Rego is left on it, is still responsible for the registration transfer fee, currently about $125 in Western Australia based on a vehicle worth $4000.

Your best bet is to buy a car that is registered in the State that you are buying it, with at least six months of Rego left on it – however this is often not an option that arises, particularly with travellers buying and selling cars in different States. If the annual Rego is due, or if you are buying a car in a different state to which it is registered, this will need to be paid and other conditions may apply such as compulsory mechanical inspections in New South Wales. Victoria and Queensland require you obtain a roadworthy inspection before you can even sell your car, so it may actually be more cost effective to transfer the Rego to another state, like Western Australia, and sell it here. When purchasing a licensed vehicle in Western Australia you must complete the vehicle license transfer form with the seller and submit the 'purchaser's copy' within 14 days of purchasing the vehicle. Failing to do so may result in a penalty. Failure to pay the vehicle license duty and transfer fee within 28 days of the invoice being issued will result in an infringement.

The following outlines the steps required to transfer vehicle ownership. More detailed information is provided in the vehicle license transfer form from

Step 1: Complete the vehicle license transfer form with the seller (form obtainable from

Step 2: Obtain licence papers and immobiliser information You (the purchaser) are responsible for ensuring that a government approved immobiliser is fitted to the vehicle. We therefore recommend you ask the seller if an immobiliser is fitted and if so obtain as many details as you can (e.g. type, date fitted). Please refer to web page on immobilisers for detailed information on what vehicles require an immobiliser, exemptions, 'approved' immobilisers and how to get one fitted.

Step 3: Complete the 'fitment of immobiliser' declaration form (if not exempt). If you are unsure we recommend you take the vehicle to an auto electrician or similar. Refer to (search keyword 'immobilisers').

Step 4: Mail the 'Seller's copy' to Western Australian Department of Transport

Department of Transport Driver and Vehicle Services
GPO Box R1290, Perth WA 6844
Department of Transport – West Perth
Phone: 08 6551 6000
Facsimile: 08 6551 6001
Address: Corner Troode Street and Plaistowe Mews,
City West, West Perth WA 6005
Opening hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday
Open Mon-Fri 8.15am-4.30pm

If you bring a registered vehicle from interstate and want to register it in Western Australia, you can usually do so without the need for a vehicle examination, unlike in other States where a Roadworthy Certificate is required from an approved mechanic (within the State where the vehicle was registered). See for exceptions.

Cars in Australia are quite cheap with the cost of a typical backpacker vehicle ranging between $2000-$6000. As like in the rest of the world, buying second hand cars can be very dodgy, so have any vehicle that you are considering buying checked out by a mechanic.

It really is money well spent and the chances are, they will find something that will help you negotiate $80 or so off the asking price and if not, you’ve found a great vehicle. Cheap, reliable cars are generally large cars such as the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore, which can cost a bit to run but are generally cheap to fix and service.

Check notice boards/websites and buy your car from another traveller, as it may come with camping equipment and you could be able to get a good bargain, considering that other travellers have a flight home to catch and are in a hurry to sell. Again, have any prospective purchase checked out by a mechanic. Some backpacker car dealers offer a buy-back guarantee, where they offer to buy the car back from you at an agreed (lower) price at the end of your trip. You can usually get a much better price selling the car yourself but a buy-back guarantee is handy if you don’t want to waste precious time trying to sell the car when you have finished with it. If you buy from a car dealer that offers a buy-back guarantee, read the fine print and make sure that you are not required to pass a roadworthy inspection. Very few vehicles can pass a roadworthy after a trip around Australia and a buy-back guarantee with this condition is virtually worthless. Travellers’ Auto Barn and are established buy back/resellers of vehicles and have depots nationally. See

Vehicle licensing in other States:

New South Wales -

Victoria -

Queensland -

South Australia -

Northern Territory -

Tasmania -

Australian Capital Territory -


#16 Nic 2016-04-27 03:14
I wanna sell a NSW car in Western Australia, it got 2 months of rego left.
The easiest for the buyer would be to let the rego run out and register it in Western Australia am I right ? Cause I am in Broome and do not really wanna drive to NSW...

#15 Sophia Devanny 2015-09-28 09:55
Car registration is basically the proof or the evidence that you have paid the taxes and fees for car on the road legally.Registr ation is tied with your insurance and your title and it is a fee that must be paid on an annual basis and gives you benefit.
#14 Nicole Stanley 2015-07-14 06:06
Quoting Nicole Stanley:
Completley agree that car that you are going to buy should be registered in the state. Infact there are manyonline car buying sites avaiable in Australia which can provide you new or used car easily without much complications.
#13 Nicole Stanley 2015-07-14 06:05
Completley agree that car that you are going to buy should be registered in the state. Infact there are manyonline car buying sites avaiable in Australia which can provide you new or used car easily without much complications.
#12 Laurie Fouillen 2014-12-15 06:31
I want to buy a van registered in Western Australia; the van is in Melbourne at the moment, so do i. Do you know how we can proceed ? And if we can buy the van in Victoria letting it registered in WA ?
Thank you!
#11 Phil Lemieux 2014-12-11 03:50
This is a great article for information about owning a car. Cost of owning a car in a given time includes a lot of factors. Insurance is probably one of the things to consider before buying a certain car model. For your insurance quotes you car refer to this website:
#10 Daran Thomson 2014-12-10 02:32
Hi I have a 1993 Nissan pulsar for sale it is an automatic transmission , economical engine, air conditioning, power windows, it is registered till 17/02/2015. This car runs very well and is in very good condition, ideal for a backpacker. I'm asking $1850 this figure is negotiable, and I live in the mandurah area south of Perth West Australia. Please contact me for photos on 0437314056 if you need a cheap reliable car for your working holiday.
#9 Brayden 2014-06-12 08:19
I have been facing so many questions about car from the people who move their state. This article will help me to give them a good resource.
#8 Ses 2014-06-03 22:50
Can someone advise -want to buy a car who's rego is due in a few days. Does buyer or seller pay for this given transfer papers won't have been submitted by due date?
#7 john kerr 2014-05-18 03:29
Quoting Lisa:
So, can any one help me… I have bought a car from VIC and will be driving it to Perth and living in Perth. It has rego (VIC rego) until August. Do I need to re-register straight away with WA or can I wait til August and just renew it with WA when needs be?

Thank you.

you are allowed 3 months,then renew

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