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Recently we’ve seen a spike in registration enquiries from people who are looking to buy an unregistered second hand trailer or caravan that does not have any identification on it. No identification includes having no compliance plate, no vin number stamped into the chassis, no number plate and no registration papers from the previous owner. 

Unfortunately we also hear the same comments from the purchasers:

“ But it’s in good condition”

“ It was really cheap”

“ The owner told me to get it registered as a homemade trailer”

So what’s the problem? Along with passing both a design and a safety check, any trailer that needs to be registered is required to pass a proof of identification check.

So here are the basics.

All trailers and caravans, including homemade and imported trailers and caravans, are required to have a compliance plate fitted if it was built after 1989. On a trailer this is usually located on the drawbar or front of the trailer A Frame and on a caravan it can often be found located either on the A Frame, inside the caravan near the side entrance door or inside the front boot.

If a trailer has been previously registered in Australia it should ideally have markings of where an old number plate has been attached if it is still not on it. You should also make sure you  receive the old rego paperwork from the seller – no matter how old it is or how long it has been unregistered. If no registration papers can be produced by the seller, this is the first indication that you may have a problem getting the trailer or caravan registered.

The days of registering any old trailer as a homemade trailer are well and truly over. If you want to register a trailer or caravan as homemade it requires the owner to provide receipts for all the parts purchased to build the trailer to the AUVIS/HVAIS examiner.  This includes but is not limited to receipts for purchasing the metal, rims and tyres, axle, brakes, coupling etc…

If you have already purchased a trailer or caravan that does not have any identification on it there is still a glimmer of hope. Here’s what you need to do next:

  1. Make an appointment for an unregistered vehicle inspection – AUVIS (Blue Slip) or HVAIS (Brown Slip).
  2. At your inspection appointment, if your trailer or caravan passes both the safety and design requirements of the inspection, it will then fail on the identification side of the inspection.
  3. At this stage your trailer or caravan will be referred to the Vehicle Identification Inspection Unit (VIIU) of Roads and Maritime for a high level identification inspection.
  4. The AUVIS/HVAIS examiner will complete a Vehicles Identification Referral which will be forwarded to VIIU for them to assess and organise a time to inspect the trailer or caravan.

What does the Vehicle Identification Inspection Unit do? 

The Vehicle Identification Inspection Unit (VIIU) carries out inspections of vehicles to confirm their identity. The inspectors at the VIIU have access to high level databases which they will use to try and locate the VIN number for your trailer or caravan. 

If they can locate it’s original VIN number they contact your AUVIS/HVAIS examiner and supply the VIN number to them to complete your registration.

If the VIIU can not find any information on your trailer or caravan you will not be able to get it registered.