Buying Car Interstate – How to Purchase a Vehicle from Interstate in Australia?

Interstate Car 1

The internet has offered us many wonderful things, including a large platform to share what you ate for lunch with others, memes and the ability to get rich and famous by doing incredibly little.

It’s also opened up a whole world of choice to consumers, which is either a blessing or a curse, depending on how decisive you are.

Those after a bargain when buying a car are no longer strictly beholden to their nearest new car dealer or used car lot, with the internet giving them access to a far wider range of makes, models, and price ranges.

Australia is, of course, practically planet-sized when compared to, say, Iceland, which is good (way more cars, way more choice!), but also bad (I found the perfect car, but I’m in Perth, and it’s in Cairns!).

Still, if you find the right car at the right price, and it’s not too difficult or prohibitive in terms of cost when transporting it back to your home state, a little bit of extra effort can absolutely be worth buying a vehicle interstate (and easier, obviously, if you’re buying a car interstate NSW to VIC, rather than buying a car interstate WA to QLD).

So, if you want to know how to buy a car interstate and are bursting with questions like ‘What’s the cost of car transport interstate?’, ‘How do I go about buying a new car interstate?’, ‘Is buying a car without looking at it interstate a good idea?’, and ‘How do I organise interstate car transfer?’, all will be answered below in our handy guide to buying a car interstate NSW to QLD (or buying a car interstate VIC to SA, or buying a car interstate VIC to NSW, or buying a car interstate QLD to NSW, or buying a car interstate VIC to QLD, or buying a car interstate SA to VIC, or… you get the picture).

Can I buy a car from interstate?

You sure as heck can, but as mentioned, buying a car from an interstate dealership means you have to get it home somehow, so if you’re buying, say, a NSW registered vehicle from interstate, make sure you do your homework and look into interstate car delivery and be aware of how much extra that car transport interstate is going to cost you.

Buying private or from a dealer interstate: what’s possible?

Either option is doable, so whatever floats your boat.

If you’re looking at buying from an interstate dealership, it’s worth checking in with a dealership in your home state first to see if they can match the price, thus saving you a whole lot of hassle in regards to getting you and your car together in the one place.

If you find the perfect used car interstate, be reassured that used-car dealers are required by law to provide a three-month/5000km warranty as long as the car you’re buying has less than 160,000km on the odometer and is less than 10 years old.

Is buying a car interstate through an auction possible?

Indeed it is. Buying a used car from a licensed auctioneer also means you’ll be covered by the previously mentioned second-hand-warranty laws, which should bring some peace of mind when going through with the transaction (if for some reason the car isn’t covered by warranty, the auctioneer will tell you, in which case it’s buyer beware).

How do I do a pre-purchase car inspection when buying a car that’s interstate?

If distance prohibits you from inspecting a car yourself, the next best thing is, of course, sending someone on your behalf to do it for you, which may come at a cost if it’s not a mate that’s doing a favour for you.

Also, get a pre-purchase vehicle inspection to make sure the car is roadworthy, and be to take a look at the Personal Property Securities Register to double-check the car isn’t stolen, or encumbered with debt or any other nasty surprises.

How are you going to get the car home?

You’ll need to shop around for freighting cost quotes, which will of course vary wildly depending on how much distance is between you and the car of your dreams, and the size of said car.

If you’re after a ballpark figure, it can be from anywhere as low as $250, to anywhere as high as $1500, so it pays to figure that out before you commit to purchasing the car.

What paperwork needs to be done?

If the car’s second-hand, you’ll be dealing with interstate car registration, and will want to get the registration put in your name, and you’ll want to make sure you have the requisite insurance to be able to legally drive the car on the road.

The process of transferring registration when the buyer and seller are in different states can be tricky, so it’s best to investigate what the requirements are in the appropriate states (or territories, let’s not be biased here).

If you’re personally driving an unregistered car from one state to another, it will require you to obtain an unregistered vehicle permit, which can be acquired from the corresponding state authority.

What do I do with the numberplate?


Surprise, surprise: this differs from state to state, varying from certain plates being able to be kept (i.e. special, personalised, custom and prestige plates can all by hung onto in Queensland and South Australia), to needing new plates (NSW), to keeping all plates (Victoria, Tasmania), to not being able to keep any plates at all (WA, ACT, NT).

Contact the appropriate state department of motor vehicles for further info.

Is selling a car interstate possible?

It is, and if you’re the seller, putting it on the internet and casting the net wide is a great way to put your vehicle in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

The result may be a whole lot of phone calls and emails from potential buyers who can’t inspect the car themselves, so factor in some serious time dedicated to correspondence if this is the route you’re going to go.

By Stephen Corby


*Disclaimer: Prices, features, warranties and other information that may be shown in this editorial content (Review Information) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (CAMS) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Information was correct at the time of publication. CAMS does not warrant or represent that the Review Information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon the Review Information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.

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