If you are buying a car privately you should conduct a search of the PPSR to check that there is no money owing on the car.
If your search shows there is debt registered on the PPSR for the car you are buying and you then choose to buy or lease the vehicle, if the seller stops making payments, there is a very real chance the finance company listed on the PPSR can turn up on your doorstep and take the car away.
What protection does a PPSR search provide?
If your search shows that no debt is registered on the PPSR for the vehicle you are buying and you then choose to buy or lease the vehicle on the day of the search or the next day, you usually take the vehicle free of encumbrances or debt. For more information and exceptions see searching and buyer protections
When should I search the PPSR?
You should complete your search the day or the day before you purchase your car to ensure you receive the protection that a search of the PPSR can provide. For more information see searching and buyer protections
How can I check a search provided to me is correct?
If someone else has conducted a search and provides you with a copy of the certificate you can verify the details online.
Retrieving a search has no cost and will provide the details as per the initial search. If you require an up-to-date version of the search results you will need to complete a new search.
For more information about retrieving your search see retrieve search results
What else may be returned in my search?
A PPSR search may also return other useful vehicle information from NEVDIS. This may include details about the cars description, registration (plate) information, and stolen and written off status. If the vehicle you are searching for is identified as being part of the compulsory Takata airbag recall you will also see details on where to find further information.
How do I know if the car is currently road registered?
View the State vehicle registered and Registration expiry fields to locate details of the cars registration.
View a copy of the current registration papers to confirm the current registered owner of the car, or even ask the owner for proof of purchase.
By viewing the registration certificate you can also cross check details with your search certificate, including the registration plate number, VIN, engine or chassis number, to ensure they match.
TIP: ‘Current’ refers to the registration state searched against in the PPSR. The search is looking for current PPSR registrations against the serial number. It does not refer to whether or not the car is registered for the road.
What else should I do before I buy a car?
If you want to have the vehicle inspected by a professional, ask your state road assistance association or motor traders association for a recommendation. Ask them to confirm the identity of the vehicle by checking the VIN or chassis number has not been tampered with.
Check the vehicle’s service manual for records of odometer readings to ensure they are correct and consistent.
Takata Airbag recall
The PPSR will show you if the vehicle you have searched is identified as part of the compulsory Takata recall, on screen and on your search certificate.
These recalls affect a large number of car makes and models and a small number of motorcycles. You are strongly urged to confirm whether the motor vehicle you are looking to purchase has been recalled to replace potentially faulty Takata airbags.
If your search shows that the vehicle is listed as affected by the recall you should confirm the recall status by visiting: www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au. You will need the vehicle registration plate and state the vehicle is registered.
For more information about the recall visit: Product Safety Australia
How do I conduct a search of the PPSR?
Find out more about how to conduct a Quick Motor Vehicle Search and receive a search certificate by email.
Buying a car case studies
We’ve developed case studies to help people understand the importance of doing a $2 PPSR search before buying a car to check if it is safe from possible repossession - even after you’ve paid for it.
Common issues that can be a problem include outstanding loans, stolen vehicles, undisclosed write-offs and the ongoing Takata airbag recall.
Additional vehicle information
A PPSR search may also return other useful vehicle information from NEVDIS. See additional search results information for motor vehicles.