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Australian Car Salvaging Laws

Australian Car Salvaging Laws

Australian Car Salvaging Laws: An In-Depth Overview

Car salvaging is a common practice in Australia where damaged or old cars are taken apart for spare parts or scrap metal. However, salvaging a car isn’t as simple as it sounds, as there are specific laws and regulations in place to ensure safety and protect the environment. 

In this blog, we’ll provide you with the basics you need to know about car salvaging laws in Australia, including what it means to salvage a car, the different types of salvage titles, and the legal requirements for selling or scrapping a salvaged car. Whether you’re a car owner or a mechanic, understanding these laws can help you avoid legal trouble and ensure that you’re getting salvage car removal in a responsible and legal manner.

Defining Car Salvaging: What Qualifies as a Salvage Vehicle

Salvage cars in NSW are categorised under two primary classifications: Repairable Write-Offs and Statutory Write-Offs:

  1. Repairable Write-offs: A repairable write-off is a vehicle that has been damaged but can be repaired and re-registered, provided it passes all necessary inspections. This category is for vehicles that have sustained significant damage but are still considered economically viable to repair. 

  1. Statutory Write-offs: A statutory write-off is a vehicle deemed too damaged or unsafe to be repaired. These vehicles cannot be re-registered and are generally suitable only for parts or scrap. 

Statutory write-offs are vehicles that the government declares unsafe for use on public roads. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as severe structural damage, water damage, or fire damage.

Auto Scrapping Laws In NSW

In NSW, the process of scrapping a vehicle is regulated by the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 and the Road Transport Act 2013. According to these laws, vehicle scrapping can only be done by authorised motor dealers and repairers who have obtained the appropriate licences from the state government.

Vehicle deregistration: If you plan to scrap your vehicle, you must first deregister it with the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) or Service NSW. This process includes filling out a form, providing proof of identity, and paying any applicable fees.

End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) facilities: It is important to choose a reputable, licensed auto wrecker or recycling facility for scrapping your vehicle. These facilities should adhere to the guidelines for managing ELVs in NSW, which includes proper disposal of hazardous materials and recycling of usable parts.

Certificate of Destruction (CoD): Upon scrapping your vehicle, the ELV facility should provide you with a Certificate of Destruction. This document serves as proof that your vehicle has been legally scrapped and is no longer in use.

Environmental regulations: Auto wreckers and recycling facilities must comply with environmental regulations, ensuring that hazardous materials such as oil, batteries, and fluids are disposed of safely and in accordance with local guidelines. Failure to do so can result in fines and penalties for both the facility and the vehicle owner.

For more details consider visiting the official NSW Government website or contact your local RMS or Service NSW centre.

The Role of Insurance Companies in Car Salvaging

Insurance companies play a crucial role in the process of salvaging cars. Salvage vehicles are those that have been deemed a total loss due to damage from accidents, theft, or natural disasters. 

  1. Assessing Vehicle Damage:

The first step in the car salvaging process is assessing the damage to the vehicle. The insurance company will typically send an assessor or adjuster to inspect the vehicle and determine the extent of the damage including interior and exterior. Based on the inspection, the assessor will decide whether the car is repairable or should be considered a total loss.

  1. Determining Salvage Categories:

After the car is deemed a total loss, insurance companies will assign a salvage category to the vehicle. The salvage category is based on the extent of the damage and the vehicle’s potential for repair. The most common salvage categories are:

  • Category A (Statutory write-off): The vehicle is beyond repair and can only be used for scrap metal. 
  • Category B (Written off – beyond repair):  This category applies to vehicles that are also considered beyond repair, but can be used for parts.
  • Category C (Repairable write-off): This category applies to vehicles that have damage that can be repaired, but the cost of the repairs exceeds the vehicle’s market value.
  • Category D (Repairable write-off): The vehicle has minor damage and can be repaired easily and the cost of the repairs is less than the vehicle’s market value.

Determining the salvage category is important because it affects the resale value of the vehicle. Category A and B vehicles are typically sold for scrap or parts, while Category C and D vehicles can be repaired and resold.

  1. The Claims Process:

After the vehicle has been assessed and assigned a salvage category, the insurance company will begin the claims process. If the owner of the vehicle has collision coverage, the insurance company will pay the value of the vehicle minus the deductible.

The insurance company will then take possession of the salvaged vehicle and sell it to a salvage yard or auction. The salvage yard or auction will then sell the vehicle to a salvage dealer, who will either sell it for parts or repair it for resale.

If you are looking to sell a salvaged vehicle in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, there are several important things to keep in mind. Salvaged vehicles are cars that have been damaged and may have been written off by an insurance company. Selling a salvaged vehicle in NSW requires following specific guidelines to ensure that the transaction is legal and safe.

Selling salvaged vehicles in NSW

Here are some key things to consider when selling a salvaged vehicle in NSW:

Check if the vehicle has been written off: Before selling a salvaged vehicle, you need to check if the vehicle has been written off by an insurance company. This information can be obtained by doing a written-off vehicle register (WOVR) check through the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) website.

Disclose the status of the vehicle: If the vehicle is a write-off, it is important to disclose this information to potential buyers. The buyer has the right to know the condition of the vehicle before purchasing it.

Get a roadworthy certificate: Before you can sell the salvaged vehicle, you need to obtain a roadworthy certificate. This is a document that verifies that the vehicle is safe to be on the road. You can get a roadworthy certificate from an authorised inspection station.

Transfer ownership: When you sell a vehicle, you need to transfer the ownership to the buyer. You can do this by completing the transfer of registration form and submitting it to the RMS.

Follow legal requirements: It is important to follow all legal requirements when selling a salvaged vehicle in NSW. This includes providing accurate information about the vehicle’s condition, obtaining a roadworthy certificate, and transferring ownership to the buyer.

Selling a salvaged vehicle can be a complex process, but following these guidelines will help ensure that the transaction is legal and safe. It is important to do your research and follow all applicable laws and regulations to avoid any legal or financial issues down the line. However, there are a lot of scrapyard and car removal companies in Sydney that buys write-off and salvage vehicles and pays cash for them. 


Understanding the salvage car laws in NSW is essential for anyone considering purchasing or repairing a written-off vehicle. By following the guidelines and processes mentioned in this blog post, you can ensure that you stay compliant with the law and avoid any potential penalties. Always consult with a licensed repairer and stay informed of any changes to the law to ensure a smooth and legal process.

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