Motor vehicle repairers

NSW Fair Trading wants to help you understand your obligations under the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 (the Act), and the Motor Dealers and Repairers Regulation 2014 (the Regulation).

Licensing

You’ll need a motor vehicle repairer’s licence if your business involves doing 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 authorises the licence holder to contract repair work, it doesn’t 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 that includes that work. Please note recent changes to 'lifetime' grants of trade certificates mean certificates must now be renewed similar to a driver's licence.


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 repair 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).

Trailers and towable recreation vehicles

All businesses that specialise in underbody repairs on towable recreation vehicles (e.g. caravans) and trailers need to have a motor vehicle repairer’s licence. However, the people doing the work do not need to have a tradesperson’s certificate as 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.

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

Getting a licence

You can lodge your application online or in person  with Service NSW  if you 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 or dishonesty offence
  • have sufficient financial resources to carry on the business.

You can choose between a one or three year licence.

Go to the Service NSW website, call 13 77 88 or visit a Service NSW to apply for a licence.

Signs and advertising

You must display your name as it appears on the licence, and the words ‘licence number’, ‘Lic. No.’ (or a similar abbreviation) followed by your licence number, on a sign at each place of business that falls under the licence. If the business name appears on the licence, it can be included on the sign, but not in place of the licensee’s name. The sign must be visible to everyone approaching the business including vehicles if mobile business. You must include the same details on an invoice, quote, business cards or any advertisement including Facebook, websites, business cards, flyers etc.

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.

Making of prescribed parts

You must mark all prescribed parts or accessories with the appropriate entry number in the register relating to that part. The mark must be permanent. A durable label or tag can be used also.

Record keeping 

You must keep a register of prescribed used parts that are acquired or disposed as part of the business (Form 2). The register makes sure that there is an audit trail of goods. The details of each part acquired, including the date you acquired the part, how you got it and who it came from (and/or from which vehicle), must be recorded. Each 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 through a data processing equipment. 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 have a number corresponding to its number in the series (such as, Book 1, Book 2 and so on)on the front cover
  • each book must be used for the purposes of one kind of register and for no other purpose
  • the information must be entered within one business day that the transaction occurs.

Each record must be on white standard A4 sized paper and be clearly readable. Anything in the register can be altered or deleted, but the deleted bits must still be readable, with the preferred method being a line drawn through them.

Data processing equipment records must make sure 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
  • the information must be entered within one business day that the transaction occurs.

It must also make sure 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.

You should include information about the following parts:

  • chassis
  • major body section
  • bonnet
  • right side door (front)
  • left side door (front)
  • right side door (back)
  • left side door (back)
  • hatchback door
  • boot lid
  • right front quad
  • left front quad
  • front bumper bar
  • back bumper bar
  • engine/engine block
  • gearbox/transmission/transaxle (front wheel drive vehicles)
  • instrument cluster/odometer/hour gauge
  • car radio/tape/compact disc (CD equipment)
  • electronic navigation equipment
  • multimedia equipment
  • airbags and air curtains (side impact airbags)
  • alloy wheels
  • seats
  • final drive (differential for rear wheel drive vehicles)
  • headlights

If you sell vehicle engines you must issue the buyer with a receipt (containing duplicate copies of consecutively numbered receipt forms) with the:

  1. Date of disposal
  2. Description of the engine
  3. Number marked on the engine
  4. The person’s name and address.

The Form 2 register and receipt book must be kept for a period of six years.

Go to the prescribed forms for the motor industry page for more information on the register.

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. Go to the <Code of Conduct page> for more information.

Minor work and repairs exemption

Clause 25 of the Regulation has been updated so 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. Any work that meets these requirements does not need a tradesperson’s certificate and a person who only does this type of work does not need to have 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. Go to the accessories and minor repairs guidelines page to view the guidelines.

Offences

Unlicensed motor vehicle repairers

Unlicensed motor repairers in NSW is an offence and can result in the issue of a penalty notice of $5,500 or prosecution with a maximum penalty of $110,000. If you commit a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is $110,000 or imprisonment for 12 months, or both.

Odometer tampering

It’s 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. You can be issued a penalty notice of $1,100 or prosecution with a maximum penalty of $22,000 and you may also be liable to pay the losses of a purchaser.

Suspicious goods

If you suspect any goods have been stolen or illegally obtained, you must inform the Commissioner for Fair Trading. Failure to do so is an offence. If an authorised officer believes that a motor vehicle, part or accessory in the possession of a licensee has been stolen or illegally obtained, the officer can issue a non-disposal notice. 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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