How to buy a car in Australia?

by Kate Moran
The Ford Laser

Our 1990 Ford Laser, but how do you buy a car in Australia?

We purchased a red 1990 Ford Laser for $300… Bargain. Once we settled into our temporary home, up in the Adelaide Hills. We noticed how remote we were, with only a few other houses nearby, we decided and were advised by T to buy a car.

We call her Veyonce inspired by the fierce independent Beyonce 

Kate , 2019

However, if you don’t have your very own T, you can, of course, find a reliable car on online sellers sites such as Gumtree (they love Gumtree over here), Facebook Market Place (and Facebook backpacker groups) and eBay. 

‘Transfer of registration’ document needs to be filled in when you purchase a new car. You and the old owner of the car need to sign, this is just proof of ownership and pretty straight forward. 

It’s different from the UK;

Australians have ‘EzyReg’, this is road tax but also includes third party insurance for all drivers with a valid license. We were advised by family members here in Australia, that you should get extra insurance.

We found our car insurance through a comparison site ( and opted for Third Party Fire and Theft.

Charles and I used Woolworths Car Insurance, which costs around $26 a month. 

Service SA

Once you have purchased a car and you need to visit your local Service SA, within 14 days. Make sure you arrive to Service Sa with (a lot) ID, to submit the change of the ownership. I needed to take my passport, bank statement with proof of address, my visa, and my Medicare card.

Please see here for all the documents they accept.  

It is worth mentioning that once all the paperwork has been signed for, you do need to pay an admin fee and a Stamp Duty of the vehicle- this in total was $27 for us. This amount is decided by the total value of the car.

After visiting the Service SA, you need to wait to receive your new Ownership document, this usually takes around two weeks. 

EzyReg is like car tax, you need to make sure this is always in date. You can apply for EzyReg online. This is either every three, six or 12 months tax rather than the monthly or annual option in the UK. 

After all the paperwork and admin, you are free to roll around the Adelaide Hills in your new whip. 

All states in Australia are slightly different , please check your state.


In addition to our little red car, we have recently purchased our big van, Antonia- check out our new blog

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