Auto Wreckers and Recyclers in Victoria

An auto wrecker or recycler who buys, sells or exchanges motor cars from or to the public (or offers to do so) must have a motor car trader’s licence - unless the vehicle is incomplete and can never return to the road, or is exempt.

An auto wrecker or recycler may also need a motor car trader’s licence for written-off or damaged vehicles that can be repaired or restored (unless they are exempt transactions), or infrequent vehicle trading. If a vehicle no longer fits the legal definition of a ‘motor car’, they do not need a motor car trader’s licence.

Incomplete vehicles and parts

Wreckers and recyclers may buy cars that are incomplete or not in working order for:

  • scrap metal
  • on-selling to wreckers/metal recyclers for scrap metal
  • selling parts to consumers or repairers
  • restoring the vehicle for sale to the public
  • selling to the public un-restored.

Vehicle parts may include panels, wheels, engine parts, windscreens, mirrors and dashboards, among others.

An incomplete vehicle is one that:

  • looks, to any reasonable person, like a motor vehicle
  • includes an engine
  • is capable of being returned to the road.

The vehicle (including the engine) does not have to be in working order. If an advertiser deals in incomplete vehicles and parts, they may not need a motor car trader’s licence, but may need to register as a second-hand dealer.

Do they need to be a registered second-hand dealer?

If they are a licensed motor car trader who buys and trades in motor vehicles and parts, they do not need a separate second-hand dealer’s registration. However, they must still comply with the Second-hand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act 1989.

A wrecker or recycler needs to be a registered second-hand dealer but does not have to have a motor car trader’s licence if they only:

  • buy exempt, written-off, incomplete or damaged vehicles that can never be returned to the road, including for scrap metal, or
  • buy and sell car parts.

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