Reporting a Vehicle Safety or Non-Compliance Issue

The Australian Government regulates the manufacture, importation and first supply to the market of road vehicles to ensure an acceptable level of safety, emission control and anti-theft protection across the Australian vehicle fleet. The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities (the Department) administers these arrangements under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (the Act) and Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations 1989 (the Regulations).

The Department also assists the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in carrying out safety investigations, and provides specialist technical advice regarding vehicle safety matters.

The purpose of this page is to provide members of the public with the opportunity to report potential vehicle safety issues, as well as possible non-compliance with the Act and Regulations.

The Department takes all reports seriously. Where there is sufficient evidence, the Department may investigate systemic safety issues or non-compliance with the legislation and technical standards.

Should I make a report?

Have you come across a vehicle which appears to have a safety issue related to its design or manufacture? Or one which does not comply with Australia's national vehicle standards? Or maybe you want to report a breach of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and you're not sure where to raise your concerns.

We have developed a self-assessment quiz which will help guide you to the right place. Our quick and easy online self-assessment quiz consists of short questions, requiring a yes no response, and will help you determine the best place to lodge your concern.

Each response will prompt some guidance on where to make your report and could save you a lot of time and hassle. So start with the self-assessment quiz before submitting a report to ensure you are lodging your concerns with the right organisation.

How will my report be used?

The information you provide will be assessed, and used to identify safety issues across various makes and models of motor vehicles. Information may also inform audit and compliance activity for entities regulated under the Act such as vehicle manufacturers.

The Department will generally only investigate a matter where evidence exists of either a:

  • systemic safety issue affecting multiple vehicles; and
  • breach of the Act or Regulations.

A range of factors are taken into account in assessing whether a reported issue will be investigated. These include:

  • whether there has been a death or injury;
  • an identifiable safety issue related to the design or manufacture of the vehicle;
  • an identifiable non-compliance with:
    • a mandatory standard (such as the Australian Design Rules);
    • conditions of an approval;
    • other Motor Vehicle Standards legislation;
    • number of similar reports; and
    • age and use of the vehicle.

It is important to note that the Department cannot provide advice on the safety of individual vehicles, nor can it assist with disputes between vehicles owners and manufacturers/dealerships.

Submitting a Report

Before reporting a vehicle safety or non-compliance matter, please consider the following points:

  • Fully read and understand the owner's manual for your vehicle. Sometimes an issue can be resolved by understanding how particular features of a vehicle operate.
  • See if your vehicle is subject to a recall. You can search for your vehicle on the Product Safety Recalls Australia website or contact the manufacturer.
  • Contact your dealership or supplier and discuss the issue with them.
  • Contact the vehicle's manufacturer. Most manufacturers have a customer service section that may be able to assist. After reporting an issue to the manufacturer, distributor or supplier you should allow a reasonable time for them to reply.
  • For further information and where to locate particular details of your vehicle please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.

The Department is collecting, and may use the personal information on the safety reporting form to assist in identifying systemic vehicle safety and legislative non-compliance issues. In some cases the information provided may be used in investigations. Your personal information may be disclosed to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection; Australian Competition and Consumer Commission; Australian Federal Police; State and Territory vehicle registration authorities, consumer protection agencies and law enforcement; and vehicle manufacturers.

The Department's on-line privacy policy contains information regarding complaint handling processes and how to access or seek correction of personal information held by the Department.

Safety regulators, emergency services and Coroners may wish to contact the Department directly regarding vehicle safety issues or breaches of Motor Vehicle Standards legislation. For further information see Contacts for Safety Regulators.

If you are unable to complete the online form you can download the form PDF: 106 KB DOCX: 130 KB and send it to the Department:

The Director
Regulatory Design and Operational Implementation
Vehicle Safety Standards Branch,
GPO Box 594
Canberra ACT 2601

Will I be contacted after submitting my report?

You will be notified by email that your report has been received. Where the Department conducts an investigation, you may be contacted and asked to provide more information.

The following are examples of issues the Department is unable to assist with:

  • faulty components identified during routine maintenance and service;
  • general dissatisfaction with the vehicle;
  • lack of confidence or trust in a vehicle, dealership or manufacturer;
  • compensation;
  • repair or routine maintenance costs;
  • warranty issues;
  • faults where the driver is provided sufficient warning of the issue (such as warning lamps on the dashboard);
  • non-structural body panels or body corrosion;
  • excessive fuel or oil consumption;
  • poor quality paint;
  • transmission shift quality or difficulties in selecting gear ratios;
  • dust or water entry;
  • marked changes in the vehicles handling (i.e. shock absorbers; worn tyres etc); and
  • unusual noises (squeaks, rattles, bumps etc).

Other help

The Department is not a consumer advocate and is unable to assist with disputes involving dealerships or vehicle suppliers, compensation or re-imbursement of costs related to problems with your vehicle.

For issues relating to customer satisfaction, vehicle quality, warranty, repairs or durability please contact the consumer protection agency in your State or Territory. Contact details for these agencies can be found on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website.

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Last Updated: 5 October, 2018