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Heavy vehicle inspections

Heavy Vehicle Inspection Scheme - change of ownership inspections

The Heavy Vehicle Inspection Scheme (HVIS) requires a vehicle inspection upon change of ownership for all vehicles and trailers with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) or aggregate trailer mass (ATM) over 4.5 tonnes that are three years or older from date of manufacture.

This includes vehicles in the maintenance module of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme, but excludes buses that already undergo an annual inspection, and special purpose vehicles such as tractors, agricultural and road-making equipment.

A passed inspection is valid for three calendar months from the time of inspection.

The aim of the HVIS is to confirm that at change of ownership the heavy vehicle:

  • complies with Heavy Vehicle National Law
  • does not constitute a safety risk on our roads
  • complies with regulated design, construction and maintenance requirements.

Components that will be inspected include:

  • vehicle identification
  • brakes
  • couplings
  • steering and suspension
  • wheels, tyres and hubs
  • structure and body condition
  • seats and seatbelts
  • lights and reflectors
  • mirrors
  • windscreens and windows
  • engine, driveline and exhaust.

The above is not a comprehensive list of what will be checked. For additional information regarding the standards your vehicle will be assessed to, refer to the national heavy vehicle inspection manual on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website.

Inspections should take no longer than one hour.

The responsibility and cost to have the vehicle inspected and passed ultimately rests with the new owner, as they will not be able to register or transfer registration into their name until the vehicle has passed an inspection.

When buying a heavy vehicle or trailer (over 4.5 tonnes) that is three or more years old, you should consider that if you buy a vehicle that has not passed an inspection within the last three months, it may cost you more to have the vehicle inspected, repaired and passed.

Inspection locations

Change of Ownership inspections are carried out at the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure’s inspection facilities at Regency Park and various regional locations. Inspections can be organised by phoning 13 10 84.

For additional details refer to Roadworthy inspections.

Change of ownership inspection fees

Read more about vehicle inspection fees.

Change of vehicle configuration

If a vehicle is not being transferred to a new owner, it is not required to undergo any additional inspection other than what is currently conducted when changing the configuration from single vehicle use to B-double or road train through the DPTI inspection process.

Interstate vehicle inspections

A heavy vehicle purchased interstate must be inspected in South Australia, regardless of compliance with interstate inspection requirements.

Heavy vehicles three years or older, registered for the first time in South Australia, will require an identity and a roadworthy inspection for the transfer.

The identity inspection must be conducted first. Information on locations for identity inspections can be found on the Interstate vehicle transfer page.

If the vehicle is going to be registered in South Australia as a multi combination vehicle (eg road train or B-double) or under a maintenance management scheme, it also requires a roadworthy inspection that must be undertaken by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI). These inspections cannot be undertaken by a private authorised inspection station (AIS) as they are not able to issue mandatory restricted access vehicle (RAV) inspection labels.

Transfer of registration

Registration on a vehicle must be transferred within 14 days of the date of sale. However, Service SA will use discretion when applying late transfer fees to heavy vehicles where the registration and licensing database shows a recent inspection date.

A purchaser of a vehicle may contact Service SA asking for an extension of time to complete required repairs before presenting the vehicle for an inspection and transferring registration. Generally a 28-day period will be granted. After 28 days, if an inspection has not occurred, no further transactions will be permitted on the vehicle.

Alternatively, the current registered owner may apply to cancel the vehicle's registration within seven days of the date of sale; allowing the new owner as much time as is needed to undertake repairs before presenting the vehicle for an inspection. However, an unregistered vehicle is only permitted to drive on a road if it is displaying a trade plate or has been issued with an unregistered vehicle permit. You can apply for an unregistered vehicle permit online through a MySA Gov account or by phoning Service SA on 13 10 84 for further information.

The result of an inspection will be entered in the registration and licensing database by DPTI after the inspection is conducted.  You don’t need to present the inspection certificate at Service SA customer service centre when seeking registration for the vehicle.

Defects, faults, repairs and failed inspections

Only DPTI or South Australia Police can inspect and clear a defect notice recorded against a vehicle. The DPTI inspection is a full inspection and is also recognised as a change of ownership inspection for the purpose of sale of a vehicle. Therefore, if a DPTI inspection has been undertaken within the last three months, a further inspection at an AIS is not required.

If a fault has been identified during an inspection by an AIS, the vehicle will have a fail result recorded and cannot be transferred until the required repairs are completed and it passes a subsequent inspection. The vehicle’s faults can be repaired at the same location or at another repairer.

Once the repairs are completed the vehicle will undergo another inspection at an additional cost. The person conducting the repairs cannot inspect their own work.

Depending on the faults and the degree of a component’s deterioration the vehicle may be unsafe to drive on the road, and arrangements must be made to either have the vehicle repaired or towed away. It is an offence to drive an unroadworthy vehicle on a road.

Therefore, if a DPTI inspection has been undertaken within the last three months, a further inspection is not required. If an unsafe vehicle is left on site, the vehicle may be considered by a transport compliance officer or police officer resulting in it being issued with a defect notice and the driver being reported for a breach of the National Heavy Vehicle Law for driving a vehicle that does not comply with vehicle standards and poses a safety risk.

Restricted access vehicle (RAV) annual inspections

A RAV is a vehicle operating at greater than 42.5 tonnes, such as a road train or B-double, and requires an annual inspection label that can only be obtained by having the vehicle inspected at a DPTI inspection facility. The RAV inspection is recognised as a change of ownership inspection, therefore a further inspection at an AIS is not required if selling the vehicle within 3 months.

A RAV label is valid for 12 months from the date it was inspected by DPTI. Therefore, if the label has expired or will soon be expiring, you should be aware, even if your vehicle has been inspected at an AIS for the purpose of sale, it will need to be inspected again by DPTI at an additional cost to obtain the RAV inspection label.

If you are purchasing a prime mover or trailer that is registered and being used in a RAV combination, and you do not want to register the vehicle as a RAV you can have it inspected at a private AIS.

There are no changes to the inspection requirements of a RAV at this time.

Contact Service SA


Only send general enquiries online. Service SA will respond within three working days.

If the matter is urgent or is specifically about your current licence or registration, please phone or visit a customer service centre instead.

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Call Service SA Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays on:

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Service SA Customer Service Centre locations and opening hours.

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Page last updated 23 December 2019

Provided by:
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
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