How Long Can A Car Be Unregistered In QLD

QLD Vehicle Registration

Understanding the regulations governing vehicle registration might be challenging, particularly when a car is unregistered. In Queensland (QLD), Australia, the regulations regarding unregistered vehicles are clear, but there are a few things every car owner should be aware of. This blog aims to demystify the timeframe a car can remain unregistered and the implications of such circumstances.

Understanding Registration Expires 

First and foremost, it is crucial to understand what happens when your car’s registration expires. In QLD, once your vehicle’s registration expires, there is no grace period. This means your vehicle is considered unregistered from the day after the expiry date.

The Immediate Implications

Driving an unregistered vehicle is illegal and carries significant penalties, including fines and demerit points. Moreover, unregistered cars are not covered by Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance. This lack of insurance is critical because if you were to be involved in an accident, you would be personally liable for any damages or injuries caused.

How Long Can It Stay Unregistered?

There is no set period for how long a car can remain unregistered. However, the longer it remains so, the more complex the re-registration process can become. For vehicles unregistered for less than three months, the process is relatively straightforward. You can usually re-register your vehicle without needing to undergo a roadworthy inspection.

However, once a vehicle has been unregistered for over three months, the requirements change. To re-register, the vehicle must pass a safety inspection, and you will need to obtain a safety certificate from an approved inspection station. This certificate proves that your vehicle meets the minimum safety standards for being on the road.

Must Read: Penalties and Permits for Driving an Unregistered Vehicle

Additional Considerations

Cancellation of Registration: If you decide not to use your vehicle for an extended period, you might consider cancelling its registration. While this might save money on registration fees, keep in mind the process and requirements for re-registering the vehicle later.

Selling an Unregistered Vehicle: Selling a car that has been unregistered for a significant period can be more challenging. Potential buyers might be wary of the vehicle’s history and the additional steps required to get it back on the road legally.

Tips For Managing Unregistered Vehicles

Managing an unregistered vehicle in Queensland requires a strategic approach to avoid legal issues and ensure that the process of re-registration, should you choose to do so, is as smooth and cost-effective as possible. Here are additional tips and strategies to effectively manage an unregistered vehicle:

  1. Explore Non-Use Status Options

If you plan not to use your vehicle for a while, you might explore options such as placing it on a non-use status with QLD Transport and Main Roads. This action officially notes that the vehicle is not currently in use, potentially saving you from paying for registration during this period. However, it’s crucial to understand the specific requirements and implications of this status, including the process for returning the vehicle to active registration.

  1. Secure and Store Your Vehicle Properly

An unregistered vehicle should not be on public roads, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be moved or stolen. Ensure your vehicle is securely stored in a private area, such as a garage or a secure parking space. Proper storage not only protects your vehicle from theft but also from potential fines if your vehicle is considered abandoned on public property.

  1. Maintain the Vehicle’s Condition

Even if you are not using the vehicle, maintaining its condition is important when you decide to re-register and use it again. Periodic maintenance checks, ensuring the battery is charged, the tyres are properly inflated, and running the engine occasionally can prevent deterioration. This foresight can save you significant expenses in repairs and make the re-registration inspection process smoother.


While QLD laws do not specify the maximum period a vehicle can remain unregistered, the implications of keeping a car unregistered for too long are clear. The process of getting back on the road legally becomes more complicated and potentially more costly. For vehicle owners, the best approach is to stay proactive about registration matters, ensuring your vehicle remains legal and insured at all times. The rules are there to keep everyone safe on the road, and adhering to them helps protect you, your vehicle, and other road users.