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Pink Slips: What to know

What is a pink slip and do you need one? Here's what you need to know about pink slips.

Updated

Fact checked

Whether you're registering a vehicle for the first time, or you've been behind the wheel for a few years, you may be required to get a pink slip. Inspection is a legal requirement and you cannot register your car without it. Depending on the age and condition of your car, it can be a breeze to pass. Here's what you need to know about pink slips.

What is a pink slip?

Despite the name, a pink slip isn't always pink. Also known as an eSafety check, a pink slip is a letter from your mechanic stating that your car is in good working order and fit for the roads. If your car is over a certain age, a pink slip will be required in order to register your car.

Your mechanic will inspect your car and either issue a pink slip or a list or repairs needed for it to pass inspection. Although you are under no legal obligation to carry out the repairs after the inspection, it is illegal to drive an unregistered and unroadworthy vehicle. The mechanic will also submit a report to Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) on the outcome of the inspection.

How long does a pink slip last?

Light vehicle pink slips are valid for six months (excluding public passenger vehicles), so you'll need to use the report to renew registration within six months of having your safety check.

Interstate reports are valid for 42 days or less if the state has an earlier validity period.

If you do not register within that time, you will be required to obtain another pink slip and pass inspection again. Depending on your length of registration, you will typically be required to get a pink slip annually. Your registration papers will state if an inspection is required.

How much do pink slips cost?

Pink slips have a standard cost, which depends on your vehicle, and are separate to the cost of registration. We got these costs from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) website. Costs are for NSW only.

Type of vehicleCost
Light vehicles$42
Motorcycles$23
Trailer without brakes$21
Trailer with brakes$33

Pink slips won't protect your car, but insurance will

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary: Bingle consistently come up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. They only cover the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps their premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low cost option that covers them for the basics.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: While it has similar features to other brands, it has one of the higher limits for personal effects and key replacement. Plus, you'll earn Qantas points and get access to the Qantas Wellness App.

Who it might be good for: People who love collecting frequent flyer points.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in their policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also have a live chat feature on their site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. You'll get 15% off when you buy online and get access to their hail hero service.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy that's affordable.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription - you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at anytime. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who only need cover for a short period of time.
Real Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Real Comprehensive Car Insurance provides similar coverage to other insurers for the important stuff like looking after your car if it's stolen or you crash. They're also one of the few insurers who offer a Pay As You Drive policy, so you might be able to save big if you don't drive much.

Who it might be good for: Those that don't drive much can take advantage of their Pay As You Drive policy.
Kogan Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Kogan comes with all the perks that most comprehensive car insurance policies include but you'll also be entitled to some benefits on their online store. This usually comes in the form of a gift voucher or discount if you buy online. Plus, Kogan offer a pay as you drive option, which could be good if you're not on the road that much.

Who it might be good for: Kogan shoppers and those that don't drive much.
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What does a mechanic check during a pink slip inspection?

When you go to get your pink slip, your mechanic will assess your vehicle on a number of factors, and run a variety of tests and checks that must be passed. Assessments generally take about 30 minutes. Your vehicle will be assessed on the following:

  • Tyre quality and tread depth
  • Vehicle body condition
  • Working electrics such as headlights, blinkers, interior lights and dash lights
  • Engine/suspension/exhaust and driveline condition
  • Seatbelt condition
  • Engine and driveline fluid leaks
  • Brake efficiency test

What requirements are there for a pink slip?

You will be required to get a pink slip if your car is more than five years old. If you fail inspection for a pink slip, you will need to make all required repairs and then have your vehicle inspected again. Generally, a mechanic won't charge you if your vehicle needs to be inspected again, though they are under no legal obligation to do so.

What happens if my car fails to pass an inspection?

Should your vehicle not pass an inspection, your mechanic will issue you a Repairs Needed report. This report states where your car failed the inspection and what repairs are required before a pink slip can be issued.

If you disagree with a mechanic's assessment of your car and the subsequent Repair Needed report, you are not obliged to have the repairs completed and you can go to a different mechanic for a second opinion and inspection. However, your car is required to pass inspection before a pink slip can be issued for registration.

Do I need a pink slip for a motorcycle?

You will be required to get a pink slip if you have a motorcycle that is more than five years old. A pink slip is needed for registration just like a car, with similar requirements to meet, such as an oil check, lights, blinkers and tyres tests. The inspection process is typically shorter for a motorcycle than a car and the cost is lower too.

What is a car safety check?

A car safety check is when a qualified mechanic inspects your car to identify issues that could affect your safety or the safety of other drivers and pedestrians.

Your pink slip inspection is just one example, but there are other situations where it's a good idea to go in for a safety check:

  • You're about to sell your car. Some states require you to provide the buyer with a roadworthy certificate showing that the car is safe to drive. Even if your state doesn't require it, it can be a good way to gain the trust of potential buyers.
  • You've just had a child. There's no better time to make sure your car is safe than when you've had a child who will be riding along with you.
  • You're getting other damage repaired. If you're taking your car in for repairs, it's a good idea to have your mechanic do a quick safety inspection to make sure nothing else got jiggled loose.
  • You have free servicing on a new car. Taking your car in for free servicing is a no-brainer. They'll usually do a safety check as part of the overall service.

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