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Standard fact sheet.

Motor vehicle repairers 

The information on this page is to assist motor vehicle repairers. If you are unsure of your obligations you should refer to the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 (the Act), the Motor Dealers and Repairers Regulation 2014 (the Regulation), or seek legal advice.

Licensing 

You will need a motor vehicle repairer’s licence if your business involves carrying out repair work on motor vehicles. This includes part-time, mobile work and sub-contractors and includes working in a partnership or a company.

A motor vehicle repairer’s licence allows the holder to only contract to do repair work. It does not allow the holder to do the repair work. The people who do the repair work require a valid tradesperson’s certificate in an applicable class of repair.

Repairers of motor vehicles with a mass over 4.5 tonnes (i.e. those covered by the Heavy Vehicle National Law) are regulated under the Act and the Regulation. This means that repairer businesses that contract to do heavy vehicle repairs will require a motor vehicle repairer’s licence and tradespeople who perform the repair work will require a valid tradesperson certificate.

A motor vehicle repairer’s licence is not required for certain types of vehicles. These include:

  • vehicles not acquired for the transport of goods or passengers on public roads (e.g., agricultural equipment)
  • vehicles that are not capable of being registered in NSW (e.g. quad bikes, segways, motorised wheelchairs and battery powered bikes).

Transport service owners (also known as commercial vehicle owners) do not require a motor vehicle repairer’s licence. However, they must not allow any employee to do repair work on heavy vehicles that they own unless the employee holds a valid tradesperson’s certificate. A transport service owner is a person or company who, as part of their business, operates a motor vehicle for the carriage of people or goods. This includes NSW Government agencies.

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Trailers and towable recreation vehicles  

All businesses that specialise in underbody repairs on towable recreation vehicles (e.g. caravans) and trailers are required to hold a motor vehicle repairer’s licence. However, the people doing the work do not need to have a tradesperson’s certificate so long as the work is being done at the place of business of the licensed repairer and the work is only on towable recreation vehicles or trailers.

Licensed repair work on caravans and trailers involves repairs to the underbody of a trailer or caravan and includes such things as the brakes, suspension, axle, wheels, tyres and chassis.

A repairer licence will not be required to work on the living area of a caravan (e.g. electrical wiring work), but such work will continue to be regulated under other relevant laws.

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How to get a licence?  

An application for a motor vehicle repairer’s licence must be lodged with Service NSW or NSW Fair Trading. To be granted a licence you must meet the following criteria:

  • be over the age of 18
  • be a fit and proper person to hold a licence
  • not be a controlled member of a declared organisation
  • not be disqualified from holding a licence
  • not be an undischarged bankrupt
  • have approval from the relevant local council
  • not, as an adult, have been found guilty, in the past 10 years, of a motor vehicle stealing offence
  • have sufficient financial resources to carry on the business.

Licensees will have the choice of a 1 or 3 year licence. Licensees who choose a 3 year licence will save on processing fees.

You can apply for a motor vehicle repairer’s licence online at Service NSW. For more information please call 13 77 88 or visit a service centre.

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Signs and advertising 

Licensed motor vehicle repairers must include their name, and the words ‘licence number’, ‘Lic. No.’ (or a similar abbreviation) followed by their licence number, on a sign at each place of business for which the licence is granted. The business name can be included on the sign, but not in place of the licensee’s name. The sign must be readily visible to anyone who approaches the place of business.

Licensed motor vehicle repairers must include the same details in any advertisement related to their business so that consumers know who they are dealing with. The requirement covers any material that gives publicity for, or otherwise promotes, a business. For example, if a licensee advertises on TV and mentions their places of business, they would be required to display their licence details in the advertisement. This requirement does not apply where only products are advertised, such as when a franchisor advertises its brand or products on behalf of all franchisees.

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Obligations 

Under the Act, all repairs conducted by a repairer or tradesperson must be completed in accordance with the consumer guarantees provided under the Australian Consumer Law. This includes that repairs be done with due care and skill, fit for purpose and be completed within a reasonable timeframe.

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Marking of prescribed parts 

Motor vehicle repairers must mark all prescribed parts or accessories with the appropriate entry number in the repairer’s register relating to that part. The mark must be permanent and unable to be removed. A durable label or tag can be used if this is not possible.

It is good practice to mark the parts while they are still attached to the vehicle, as this reduces the opportunity for error is if unmarked parts are removed for sale or storage. Any parts found at the premises that are not marked will be of interest to NSW Fair Trading and the police.

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Record keeping  

Motor vehicle repairers must keep a register of prescribed used parts that are acquired or disposed as part of their business (Form 2). The register ensures that there is an audit trail of goods. This aims to help reduce the trade in stolen parts.

The details of each prescribed part acquired, including the date the part was acquired, how it was acquired and from whom (and/or from which vehicle), must be recorded. Each prescribed part must get its own entry number. The disposal details for each prescribed part entered in the register must also be recorded.

A register can be kept in writing or by means of data processing equipment (i.e. a computer program).

A register that is kept in writing must be kept in a book, or series of books, that meet the following requirements:

  • each book must consist of pages permanently bound together
  • each book must bear on its front cover a number corresponding to its number in the series (such as, Book 1, Book 2 and so on)
  • each book must be used for the purposes of one kind of register and for no other purpose.

Each record must be on white standard A4 sized paper and be clearly legible, contain no erasures and is not torn, defaced or otherwise mutilated. Matters in the register can be altered or deleted, but the deleted particulars must still be legible, with the preferred method being a line drawn through them.

A register that is kept by means of data processing equipment must ensure that:

  • the information in the register can be displayed and printed, on demand, at each place of business
  • the information in the register when displayed or printed, each page in the register is in the form prescribed
  • the information in the register includes the date on which each record was made.

It must also ensure that, in the event that any information in the register is amended or deleted, a record is kept:

  • of the information in the form in which it was before the amendment or deletion
  • the date on which the information was amended or deleted.


For further information on the registers that you must use, please see our Prescribed forms for the motor industry page.

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Motor vehicle insurance and repair industry Code of Conduct 

The Code of Conduct is intended to promote cooperative relationships between smash repairers and insurance companies. Compliance with the Code is mandatory in NSW for all repairers and insurers. It applies to all motor vehicles repaired in NSW. For more information see the Code of Conduct page.

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Minor work and repairs exemption  

Clause 25 of the Regulation has been broadened to provide that minor works or repairs that do not affect the mechanical operation or structure of a vehicle or any vehicle safety features (such as impact sensors and airbags) are not repair work. Accordingly, any work which meets these requirements does not need to be carried out by a person that holds a tradesperson’s certificate. Further, a person who only carries on the business of this type of work does not need to hold a motor vehicle repairers licence.  

The ‘Guidelines to Accessory Fitting and Minor Works and Repairs’ provides a non-exhaustive list of the kinds of work that is not repair work. The guidelines can be found on the Accesories and minor repairs guidelines page.

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Offences 

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Unlicensed motor vehicle repairs 

Unlicensed motor vehicle repairs in NSW are an offence and can result in the issue of a penalty notice of $5,500 or prosecution with a maximum penalty of $110,000. In the case of a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is $110,000 or imprisonment for 12 months, or both. A court may also order a person convicted of unlicensed motor vehicle repairs to forfeit any proceeds made.

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Odometer tampering 

It is also an offence in NSW to interfere with an odometer reading by either altering the reading, removing or replacing the odometer or rendering the odometer inoperative or inactive by any means. Odometer interference can result in prosecution with a maximum penalty of $22,000 and you may also be liable to pay the losses of a purchaser through civil action.

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Suspicious goods  

A licensee or any employee of a licensee is under a duty to inform the Commissioner for Fair Trading if they are suspicious of goods that may have been stolen or unlawfully obtained. These goods may be in the custody of the licensee or may have been offered to them for sale. Failure to do so is an offence.

Where an authorised officer believes that a motor vehicle, part or accessory in the possession of a licensee has been stolen or unlawfully obtained, the officer may issue a non-disposal notice on the licensee. This notice prohibits the licensee from altering, selling, or otherwise disposing of it in any way or parting with possession of it for a period of 14 days.

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