Being the proud owner of a car or campervan on a trip Down Under gives you the complete freedom to travel when and where you want. Whether you are travelling with a group of friends or on your own, owning your own set of wheels can be a cost-effective way to get out and about to explore the real Australia.
But with freedom comes a little responsibility, and you should be aware of the paperwork that goes hand in hand with owning a car in Australia.
To help you out, here are the top questions backpackers ask around all things rego and pink slip:
1. What is a Pink Slip and why do I need it?
A pink slip (or an e-safety check) is basically a safety check for vehicles in NSW that certifies that your car is safe to be registered in the state. You have to have your vehicle seen by a qualified mechanic before you can get your hands on a pink slip, and once you have it you will be able to renew the registration (or rego) in your car.
Don’t forget the pink slip is only for NSW and other states have equivalent checks that go by a different name.
2. What does a mechanic look at before signing off my pink slip?
A mechanic will look over your things like your tyres, steering, windscreen wipers, and horn.
Think of your pink slip as more of a general safety test rather than a true indication that your vehicle’s engine and systems are in good health – so you could get your pink slip, only to have your gearbox fail 2 weeks later.
Buying a car or campervan from a reputable dealer, like Travellers Autobarn, that specialises in the backpacker market is a good way to help avoid this hassle.
3. How long does a pink slip last?
Once a mechanic signs off your pink slip it is valid for 42 days from the date of issue. This means you have 42 days to use it to register your vehicle in NSW.
4. What if my car fails its pink slip?
Then you would be given a white slip. This will list out all the repairs you need to fix before it can be registered and it’s valid for 14 days. During this period you need to get the repairs done so that you can take it back to the mechanic to have it checked again (this second check is normally done free of charge if it happens within the 14 days).
5. What is rego?
The registration of your car, or the ‘rego’ as it is more commonly known, refers to the set of registration papers that every car must-have. These must be renewed every year and are specific to each state.
If you want to see how long the registration lasts for a vehicle look for a sticker on the windscreen. Remember that when you are buying a used car you always need to see the paperwork as well as the windscreen sticker as valid proof of registration.
6. Are the registration rules the same for every state?
No, each of the 8 Australian states has slightly different rules – if in doubt check the state website:
If you are backpacking around Australia in your second-hand car or campervan then you may find yourself having to renew the vehicle registration in a state that is different to the one that you bought it in. What you need to remember is that a car is registered to a specific state and you may need to return to that state to obtain the right paperwork you need to complete the registration (such as a new valid pink slip for NSW).
7. What happens to the rego when I sell my second-hand vehicle?
At the end of your trip, you’re probably going to want to sell your campervan or car to help raise some extra funds.
You should be aware of some of the costs this can involve.
If you are selling your car in a different state to the one you bought it in then you will need to pay to transfer the rego from one state to another.
Some states Victoria and Queensland have you further reaching into your pockets to pay out for a new ‘roadworthy test’ before they let you sell your car.
Although dealing with something as mundane as vehicle paperwork is likely to be the last thing you want to think about when you’re backpacking around Australia on the trip of a lifetime, it is important. And if you don’t keep up to date you could face big fines.
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.