Buying your first used car? Don’t get caught out – do a $2 PPSR search before you buy 

Shopping for your first car is exciting. There’s lots to think about… budget, make, model, mileage, and of course, colour. Then there’s the practical side, like getting a mechanical inspection and insurance – and doing a PPSR search.   

You can get some great deals buying privately, but there are also more risks.  Before you or your parent's hand over any cash, it’s important to check if the car is hiding any secrets. That’s where the Australian Government’s $2 Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) search comes in – it’s a tool that can tell you vital information about the car you’re set on.  

What can a PPSR search tell me? 

A PPSR search can tell you if the car is: 

  • debt free (if finance is still owing the lender may repossess it, leaving you out of pocket) 

  • not reported as written off (e.g., has it been in an accident or impacted by natural disasters, such as floods and hailstorms) 

  • not reported as stolen 

  • not on the Takata airbag recall list (meaning it could contain dangerous airbags). 

When to search 

You should do a PPSR search twice – first when you find the car of your dreams, and then on the actual day of purchase.  This is to make sure nothing changed since you last checked and give you the strongest risk protection.   

How do I search the PPSR? 

To do a PPSR search, you need: 

Step 1 

  • a credit or debit card 

Step 2 

  • the car’s serial number (VIN or chassis number) 

  • Most cars built after 1989 have a unique identifier called a VIN. It’s 17 letters and numbers and stamped on a small metal plate attached to the car. 

  • Note: You can’t search using a number plate or engine number. 

Step 3 

  • to fill in the key information on the PPSR.  

  • Results appear immediately on screen, and a copy of the official search certificate is emailed to you.  

  • If you need more help, see Understand your car search results

The PPSR is available online 24/7. 

For more information about the $2 PPSR search see: 

PPSR Case Studies 

To do a search now visit $2 PPSR Search. 

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