Purchasing a used commercial vehicle?

A qualified used vehicle assessment is essential​

If you are buying a used vehicle, be wary of untrustworthy sellers and dealers. Such individuals will go to any length, even if it’s illegal, to make a sale. This includes: 

  • ​Offering dangerously defective, crashed, stolen or written-off vehicles for sale
  • Reducing a vehicle’s mileage to make it appear more attractive, also known as ‘clocking’
  • Replacing original parts with poor quality ones after the vehicle has passed its CVR test
  • Using sealants or masking agents to hide serious issues such as corrosion or rust holes
  • Selling vehicles with fake CRWs, registration certificates or motor tax discs

Therefore, we recommend that you get the vehicle independently assessed by a qualified mechanic before purchasing it. This should provide some assurance that it is roadworthy at the time of purchase. Alternatively, you can buy from an authorised dealer who can provide  a warranty. 

Furthermore, always check the vehicle’s history – check for odometer fraud, outstanding finance and that the vehicle hasn’t previously been written-off.

A valid certificate of roadworthiness (CRW)​

​All commercial vehicles over 12 months old are legally required to have a valid certificate of roadworthiness (CRW).

Therefore before purchasing a used commercial vehicle you should check that it has a valid CRW. The CRW disc should be displayed on the windscreen of all trucks, buses, vans and jeeps. On trailers it should be displayed as close as possible to the registration plate.

If a commercial vehicle does not display a CRW disc, it may mean that the vehicle has not passed its annual Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness (CVR) test.

To find out when your vehicle’s CRW is due to expire, click on the Check My CRW button below.

Need to know when your vehicle is due for a CVR Test?  Check My CRW

Note that the CVR test history remains with the vehicle regardless of ownership changes. Therefore, if the vehicle has not been tested on time in the past you will get a CRW with a shorter expiry date when it is next tested.

While a CRW is proof that a vehicle met basic safety requirements on the day it was tested, only  testable items that are visible and accessible can be assessed at the CVR test. Therefore, the CRW cannot be regarded as a warranty for your vehicle

The Law 

  • If stopped by An Garda Síochána while driving a dangerously defective vehicle, you​ are liable for prosecution under the Road Traffic Regulations 1963. So buyers need to make sure they’re fully aware of what condition the vehicle is in before using it on a public road. 
  • It is illegal to interfere with an odometer, or engage another person to do so, under the Road Traffic Act, 2014. 
  • It is also an offence for a trader to mislead customers by providing false information in relation to a “products usage or prior history” under  The Consumer Protection Act 2007

​Visit the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website​  or contact the Consumer Helpline on 01 4025555 for further information and advice when purchasing a used commercial vehicle.

Verification of odometer readings prior to purchase.

Since 11 May 2016 the current odometer reading and up to two previous readings are printed on the CRW. The ‘start date’ for recording these historical readings was 19 August 2014, so any vehicle that passed an initial or periodic CVR test after this date should, since 11 May 2016, display up to two previous test dates and the corresponding odometer readings.

Therefore if you are considering purchasing a used commercial vehicle, you should request a copy of the CRW certificate from the seller to check the historic odometer readings. If after checking this document, you have any queries about the odometer readings recorded at the previous test, we recommend that you discuss these with the seller before you purchase the vehicle. 

It is important to note that the historic odometer readings are only printed on the CRW document that comes with the CRW disc to be displayed on the vehicle’s windscreen. The CRW disc itself only contains the details of the odometer reading recorded at the most recent CVR test. Therefore before you purchase the vehicle you should ask the seller for a copy of the full CRW document and not just the CRW disc.

CRW with odometer history

Please note also that there may be legitimate reasons why an earlier odometer reading is higher than a more recent one, for example if a speedometer has been replaced. However, it might also suggest that the odometer has been ‘clocked’ or tampered with. 

While this new measure should act as a deterrent to odometer fraud, we are not responsible for policing such activity. 

Importing a used commercial vehicle

If you are the registered owner of an imported second-hand commercial vehicle from another EU Member State and the vehicle has a current valid out-of-state roadworthiness certificate at the time the vehicle was registered in Ireland, you can have the unexpired portion of the certificate verified by the RSA, who will then amend the test record for your vehicle accordingly. If you do not have your out-of-state roadworthiness certificate verified, your vehicle will be due a CVR test in line with the date the vehicle is registered in Ireland. However, the EU Member State roadworthiness certificate must still be valid under Irish legal testing rules.

Roadworthiness certificates for commercial vehicles are recognised through the RSA, as we are the competent authority for commercial vehicle testing in Ireland. 

Please note: We will no longer issue an Irish certificate of roadworthiness to display on the vehicle.

Brexit: As a result of Brexit, the recognition of UK-issued certificates of roadworthiness has ceased and we are no longer accepting applications. Any commercial vehicle which is over one year old and imported from the UK (including Northern Ireland) is required to undergo a CVR Test. The due date for the test is the date of registration in Ireland.

As outlined above a CRW or recognition of an EU certificate should never be regarded as a warranty for your vehicle. Whenever you are purchasing or importing a used commercial vehicle, either in Ireland or from another EU member state, we recommend that you have it independently checked by a qualified mechanic before you purchase it. This should provide some assurance that it is roadworthy at the time of purchase. 
For further information, visit our mutual recognition of out-of-state EU roadworthiness certificates page. 


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