Parents

Safe cars

Get properly protected. Isn’t it time you had that talk?

Animation style graphic of a car.

Our no-nonsense guide to safe cars saves you from awkward conversations.

It's easy to think that all cars are safe - but the truth is many new features and technologies make your chance of surviving a crash or avoiding serious injury much higher. So check out the tips below before you hand over that cash.

Animation style graphic showing howsafeisyourcar.com.au site on a tablet.

Star rated for your protection

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) and Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) rate car safety on a five-star scale. You want the safest car you can afford, so if a car scores less than 4 stars, don't take the risk.

Go for a younger model.

Only 10% of cars made in 2003 had a 5 star ANCAP rating, in comparison to 60% of all new cars in 2009. Visit ANACAP for more.

The anatomy of your ride

Have a peek at body parts, protection devices and what they do.

Animation style graphic showing hands breaking a small car apart.

Sound structural integrity means things won't collapse on top of you when it comes to the crunch.

Animation style graphic showing a man being cushioned by airbags.

For all-round protection, make sure your car has airbags in all the right places - front, side, curtain and knee.

Animation style graphic overhead view of a car skidding and leaving tyre marks.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) helps you maintain control in risky situations.

Animation style graphic showing a car at the edge of a cliff.

Anti-Locking Braking Systems (ABS) helps you stop in time, before things get out-of-hand.

Animation style graphic showing a magnifying glass over a crack in a windscreen.

No cracks! A quality, undamaged windscreen helps keep everything rigid and in place.

Animation style graphic showing a man wearing his seatbelts properly.

Make sure you're properly restrained with pretensioning seatbelts.

Animation style graphic showing a man with hearts in his eyes and his car.

Don’t let love blind you.

Take it for a test drive, and make sure you're happy everything works properly. Don’t get carried away just because it looks and feels good.

  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Reversing
  • Ease of parking
  • Cooling and heating
  • Turning circle
  • Extra roomy back seat

Download full safety checklist

Get it checked by an expert.

Get an independent inspection report from a qualified mechanic or RACQ.

Make excuses if:
  • You’re not satisfied with its condition
  • Agreed repairs haven't been carried out
  • The engine has been replaced with a hamster on a wheel
Animation style graphic showing a mechanic looking under the bonnet at a hamster in it's wheel where the engine should be!
Animation style graphic showing an octopus sitting atop a car that's filled with sea water and draped in seaweed.

Do you know where it’s been?

Check it’s not stolen or written off. Make sure there’s no money owing on it. Search the Personal Property Securities Register to find out. It costs less than $5.

Visit the PPSR website Or phone 1300 007 777

Keep all your paperwork..

It'll get you out of sticky situations.

  • Any document you've signed
  • Any contract
  • Warranty documents
  • Safety certificate

Make sure you check that the safety certificate is valid and that all the vehicle details are correct too. Learn more about safety certificates

Animation style graphic showing a car shape made from folded paper statement.

Don’t fall for a cheap ride.

Buy the safest car you can afford, and it’s likely to be the start of a beautiful relationship. While these tips will help, they're only a quick overview. For more comprehensive guides to vehicle safety and purchasing, check the sites below.

Use protection.

You have more protection if you buy from a licensed motor dealer rather than through a private sale. Weigh up the pros and cons.

Check licensed dealers

Practise safe car ownership.

Regular servicing will ensure your car stays safe. Only make safe modifications. Find out more about what you can modify.

Vehicle modifications

Even the safest car is only as safe as its driver.

Help make a difference. Share this page

Where to next?

Explore these popular road safety topics on Join the Drive.

Join the conversation on social #jointhedrive