Post purchase used car checklist

Buying a used car

You've bought a second hand vehicle, but what now? Your next steps are to:

  • Insure your second-hand car before you drive it home
  • Ensure you transfer the registration promptly
  • Make sure your car is mechanically sound
  • Join the NRMA for breakdown cover and save on car insurance when you bundle your polices

These five steps will ensure you and your car will be confident and covered for stress free driving.

1. Insurance

Transfer the insurance from your old car to the new one before you drive it home. Not only will this cover you should you have an accident; you'll also get to keep any policy benefits you may have accrued over the years, such as a no-claim bonus.

You might want to consider getting car insurance so that your old car remains insured while you sell it. If you need a quote or a new policy you will have to choose from a third party property or comprehensive insurance policy.

A third party property insurance policy - distinct from a compulsory third party green slip, which is a registration requirement, covers you for the damage your car might cause to someone else's vehicle or property.

Third party fire and theft car insurance covers your car if it’s stolen or catches fire, and covers other people’s cars and property if you cause an accident.

A comprehensive insurance policy provides third party property cover, as well as cover for your car for any accidental damage. If you've got an NRMA Membership you can save when you bundle your polices with NRMA Insurance.

2. Transferring registration

When a used car changes hands, the registration has to be transferred from the seller to the buyer. It's the buyer's responsibility to transfer the registration.

The printed form is found on the reverse of the vehicle registration certificate. You can take this to an RMS or Service NSW office or the transfer online. You must pay a transfer fee as well as stamp duty on the sale price or market value on the price you paid for it, whichever is higher. Use the Office of State Revenue's stamp duty calculator.

The seller will complete the disposal notice on the reverse of the registration certificate and submit it to the RMS, also done online - within 14 days. This provides proof to the RMS that you're no longer the owner in the event the new owner receives a traffic infringement notice.

3. Sell your old car

Selling your old car is not difficult. In fact, if you trade it in, there's nothing to it. However, you might wish to get more for your car by selling it yourself. Our guide to selling your car explains the pros and cons of the different ways of selling a car and guides you through the steps involved to complete a successful private sale.

4. Mechanical precautions

Soon after you buy a used car it's a good idea to change its vital fluids - the engine oils (and filter) and at least, and ideally the transmission oil/fluid and the brake and clutch fluid as well. 

5. Become an NRMA Member

You've bought wisely, taken out insurance and done your due diligence in terms of maintenance. But life happens. A flat battery or tyre is when you'll be glad you've got NRMA roadside assistance.