Interesting News and Tips

Checklist for Buying a Used Car Interstate

By in Interesting News and Tips

Australia has eight states and they all have different laws when it comes to buying cars. But don’t let that put you off.

Buying a used car interstate can be tricky but worth the effort, especially if you can’t find the make or model you want at home. Use our checklist to find out what’s involved with buying a car in a different state.

Do your research

What kind of used car do you want to buy? The same rules apply for researching a used car interstate as you would closer to home. Do you need a large family car or something smaller to run around town? Do you want to keep petrol costs down or is budget not an issue? Once you decide exactly for what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to filter your searches to specific makes and models that fit your price range, no matter where in the country they’re being sold.

Read up on state laws

There’s no doubt that buying a car in the state where you live is the easiest thing to do. But if you’ve fallen in love with a car that’s registered in another state you’ll need to find out exactly what the department of transport in that state requires.

Is it roadworthy?

When you buy a car interstate it’s always advised that it have a certificate of roadworthiness. It’s important that you don’t buy a car without one, whether privately or through a dealer. To make doubly sure that you’re not buying a lemon, have a mechanic check it out.

Is it registered?

The number plate of the car will tell you the state where it’s registered. But don’t just use that as proof of legal registration. The car also needs to have registration papers because if it doesn’t, there is a possibility it could be stolen.

New registration

Once you’ve bought the car you’ll need to visit the local department of transport with your purchase receipt, certificate of roadworthiness and drivers license. There are fees involved with registering a vehicle to your name, so it’s a good idea to budget a couple of hundred dollars.

You’ll need to pay a registration fee, either three months or six months (if it is due) as well as a registration transfer fee. As you’re buying a car interstate you may also be charged another fee for this. Some states let you register the car for three months instead of six, so you can save a bit of money on upfront costs. Check if you also need to pay for third-party insurance as in some states this is a legal requirement.

Transferring ownership

It’s more straightforward to transfer ownership in some states than others, for instance, in Western Australia the transfer of registration can be done online, so it’s one of the easiest places to buy a car interstate. Others require you to collect the registration document from a permanent address in that state which is harder as you don’t live there. You could always arrange with a hotel to hold your mail until you arrive and collect it in person, or use the address of friends or family in that state.


Don’t forget that once you’ve organised everything for your new ride, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to get that baby home! If you’re tight on time and the drive interstate will take a day or two, perhaps it’s best to leave this up to a professional car courier. Door to Door Car Carrying specialise in interstate car transportation and will get your car home to you safely. Factor this into your budget and it’ll be money well spent, considering you won’t even have to take a day off work to welcome your new car into the family!

As you can see, buying a car interstate isn’t without its headaches. However, if a car has a certificate of roadworthiness then it can be bought anywhere. Door to Door Car Carrying can help with getting your interstate car home safely.