Searching for motor vehicles

Before you buy a motor vehicle from a private seller you should check that there are no existing security interests on it by searching the PPSR. If a security interest has been registered against the vehicle, it may not be debt-free and may be repossessed, even after you have bought it.

Motor vehicles include cars, trucks, tractors, motorbikes, trailers, caravans, or any vehicle capable of travelling at more than 10 km/h that has a total motor power of more than 200 W.

Make sure you search the PPSR on the day, or the day before, you intend to make your purchase, to protect yourself against repossession. For more information on buyer protection, see searching and buyer protections.

Before you start

To search, you need identification information for the vehicle:

VIN

  • In most cases the serial number of a vehicle built after 1989 will be the vehicle identification number (VIN). This is not the number plate (registration) number.
  • A VIN can only be made up of the following characters: 0-9, A-Z (uppercase) excluding letters I, O and Q,
  • When searching by VIN, if you enter the letters i/I, O or Q the system will normalise or correct these letters when searching on the PPSR for a security interest and for the retrieval of third party NEVDIS data.
  • The VIN generally can be located on the body of the vehicle, under the bonnet, at the bottom of the windscreen on the passenger side, or along the drivers side door closure area.

Chassis Number

  • If the vehicle was manufactured before 1989, you will need the Chassis number.
  • Chassis numbers are normalised or corrected in the PPSR when searching for a security interest.
  • Chassis or corrected for the retrieval of third party NEVDIS data

Manufacturers Number

  • If the vehicle does not have a VIN or a chassis number, you can search using the manufacturer’s number.
  • For further information on VINs for imported cars, see vehicle identification numbers (VINs).

You can search for a motor vehicle in two ways:

  • A quick motor vehicle search quick motor vehicle search QMVS using either a VIN or chassis number. The PPSR will email you the search certificate.
  • A motor vehicle search using a VIN, chassis number or manufacturer’s number. The PPSR will email you the search certificate. If you do not have an email address select ‘View search certificate’ and the PPSR will display the search certificate for you to print or download.