Check the status of a second-hand vehicle

Before buying a second-hand vehicle you should check that it doesn't have any money owing on it.

If you buy a second-hand vehicle that is under finance and the finance is not paid out, the interest holder may seek to repossess the vehicle from you.

Checking the Personal Property Securities Register may save you from buying a vehicle that could be repossessed.

The Personal Property Securities Register provides a record of financial interests in most types of personal property including motor vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, caravans and boats.

If a person borrows money to buy a vehicle, they can't dispose of the vehicle without the permission of the lender. The lender may register their interest on the vehicle on the Personal Property Securities Register.

If the person disposes of the vehicle without permission and then fails to repay the loan, the financier may repossess the vehicle from the new owner.

Checking financial interest

Obtain the vehicle identification number (VIN) or chassis number from the vehicle, or the Hull Identification Number (HIN) for a boat search (do not rely on registration papers or other documentation).

Then check the online Personal Property Securities Register or phone 1300 007 777.

For more information see the Personal Property Securities Register website.

Registering financial interest

Security interest holders will register their financial interests over motor vehicles directly with the Personal Property Securities Register.

Motor vehicle dealers or purchasers of second-hand motor vehicles will be able to purchase a certificate of encumbrance status on the Personal Property Securities Register website or contact centre.

Checking if a vehicle is recorded as stolen, written-off or defected

You can find out whether there are any stolen, written-off or defected incidents recorded on the Register of Motor Vehicles in SA when you check a vehicle's registration expiry date online, or by phoning 13 10 84. You will need the registration number of the vehicle, cycle or trailer.

If the vehicle has any stolen, written off or defected interests recorded on the register, these will be returned as part of the check.

Check now

The Personal Property Securities Register provides an online enquiry facility to check the vehicle's encumbrance and incident status nationally.

Reporting a stolen vehicle

If you have information on stolen vehicles phone the Crimestoppers anonymous hotline - 1800 333 000.

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Page last updated 27 May 2022

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