Safety certificates

In Queensland a safety certificate is needed when:

  • transferring registration to a new owner
  • when transferring to Queensland registration from another state or territory
  • 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 4,500kg.
  • 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 Manuals explain how a safety certificate inspection is performed and the reasons a vehicle may fail an inspection.

A safety certificate inspection is not a comprehensive mechanical inspection on the quality, or life expectancy of a vehicle. If you are buying a used vehicle, you should contact a motoring group such as RACQ for a full mechanical inspection.

A safety certificate is not needed in some situations.

Getting a safety certificate

A safety certificate is no longer required before offering a registered vehicle for sale. You must still obtain a safety certificate before disposing of a registered vehicle, other than to a dealer. You may be fined over $700 for not having a current safety certificate when disposing of a vehicle. Please note there may be older, out of date blue safety certificates still in circulation that indicate that the label must be displayed. This is no longer the case, and these older safety certificates are being phased out.

Approved inspection stations (AIS) offer vehicle inspections and are the only businesses in Queensland that can issue safety certificates. An AIS will give you either a handwritten certificate or an electronically issued certificate. For electronically issued safety certificates, the AIS may email you a digital copy or give you a printed copy of the certificate.

Inspection fees—safety certificates (handwritten and electronic)

Vehicle type Fee (as at 1 July 2023)
Motor vehicles up to 4,500kg GVM $92.90
Trailers over 750kg up to 4,500kg ATM $46.55
Motorcycles $59.75 

Replacement certificates

Certificate type Fee (as at 1 July 2023)
Replacement inspection certificate $26.20
Approved examiner's inspection report—issued by the Department of Transport and Main Roads $26.20

Giving a safety certificate to the new owner

When you transfer registration of a vehicle, you must give a current safety certificate to the new owner. It is not the new owner's obligation to obtain a safety certificate and you may be fined over $700 for failing to obtain and give a current safety certificate.

  • You can give the new owner either:
    • The original version of a handwritten certificate
    • A digital copy of an electronic safety certificate
    • The certificate number of an electronic safety certificate
  • The new owner will not be able to transfer the registration out of your name without a current safety certificate.
  • You will remain liable for tolls and infringement notices issued for the vehicle while it remains registered in your name.

Example safety certificates (handwritten and electronic)

* An unassigned certificate is issued when your vehicle's details are not recorded in our system (for example, interstate registered vehicles) or do not match what is already recorded in our system.

Getting a safety certificate for an unregistered vehicle

Find out more about the requirements to drive your unregistered vehicle to be registered, which includes getting your safety certificate.

How long are safety certificates valid?

The time a safety certificate is valid depends on who is selling the vehicle:

  • licensed motor dealers—certificates are valid for 3 months or 1,000km (whichever expires first) from the date of issue
  • all other sellers—certificates are valid for 2 months or 2,000km (whichever expires first) from the date of issue.

You can use the same safety certificate to register an unregistered vehicle and then transfer the registration, as long as you do this within the limits set out previously.

You will need to get a new safety certificate every time you sell a vehicle, even if you sell it within the limits set out previously. A single safety certificate can be used for 1 transfer only.

When is a safety certificate not needed?

Selling a vehicle without a safety certificate

Vehicles that are unregistered or are traded to, or between, licensed motor dealers do not need a safety certificate. Vehicles can still be sold for parts, but they must be de-registered before being sold.

Transferring a vehicle without a safety certificate

You do not need a safety certificate if the vehicle meets 1 of the exemption criteria. Some exemption situations may include:

  • the disposer being in an exempt remote area
  • a beneficiary of a deceased estate
  • between spouses (including separated married couples and registered partners – until such time that the divorce or application to end the registered relationship is finalised).

For more information on safety certificate exemptions, call the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 23 80.