web analytics

How To Check If A Car Is Code 3?

Quick Summary

This blog post provides guidance on how to check if a car is Code 3, which refers to extensively damaged vehicles considered write-offs by insurance companies. By examining the registration certificate, verifying the year of first registration, number of previous owners, code designation, and ownership status, buyers can ensure that the car’s information aligns with the seller’s claims. Additional tips include checking the vehicle identification number (VIN) and seeking professional assistance to thoroughly assess the car’s condition before making a purchase.


Are you in the market for a used car? It’s important to do your due diligence and ensure that the car you’re interested in is in good condition and meets your requirements. One crucial aspect to consider is whether the car is a Code 3 vehicle. In this blog post, we will provide you with comprehensive guidance on how to check if a car is Code 3. Understanding the car’s code is essential to avoid potential issues with financing and insurance. Let’s dive in and learn how to make an informed decision when purchasing a used car.

What is a Code 3 car?

When it comes to checking the condition of a car, it is important to understand the different codes assigned to vehicles. These codes provide information about the extent of damage a car has sustained and its roadworthiness. The codes commonly used in South Africa are Code 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Code 1 cars are new vehicles with no damage or repairs. These cars are in pristine condition and have not been involved in any accidents.

Code 2 cars, on the other hand, have sustained damage but can still be repaired and put back on the road. These vehicles may have been involved in accidents or have suffered damage from other sources, but they are deemed repairable.

Code 3 cars, however, are extensively damaged vehicles that are considered write-offs by insurance companies. These cars have suffered severe damage, often to the point where the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle. As a result, Code 3 cars can only be used for spare parts or sold as scrap.

It is important to note that Code 3 cars are not roadworthy and cannot be legally driven on public roads. They are typically sold through salvage auctions or to individuals who are looking for spare parts.

Lastly, Code 4 cars are stolen vehicles that have been recovered but are not roadworthy. These vehicles may have suffered significant damage during the theft or recovery process and are not fit for use on public roads.

Understanding the different codes assigned to cars is crucial when checking the condition of a vehicle. It helps buyers make informed decisions and avoid potential issues down the line.

Why is it important to check if a car is Code 3?

When considering purchasing a car, it is crucial to check if it is classified as a Code 3 vehicle. Code 3 cars are extensively damaged and considered write-offs by insurance companies. Here are some reasons why it is important to verify if a car is Code 3:

Limitations in terms of financing and insurance

Code 3 cars may have limitations when it comes to financing and insurance. Some financial institutions may be hesitant to provide loans for Code 3 vehicles due to their rebuilt status. Additionally, insurance companies may offer limited coverage or higher premiums for these cars. It is important to be aware of these limitations before making a purchase.

Potential risks of purchasing a Code 3 car without proper verification

Purchasing a Code 3 car without proper verification can pose several risks. These cars have been extensively damaged and repaired, which can affect their overall safety and reliability. Without thorough inspection and verification, there is a risk of buying a car with hidden structural or mechanical issues. This can lead to costly repairs and potential safety hazards.

Importance of ensuring that the car’s information matches the seller’s claims

Verifying if a car is Code 3 is essential to ensure that the car’s information matches the claims made by the seller. Some sellers may try to pass off a Code 3 car as a Code 2 or even a Code 1 vehicle, which are in much better condition. By checking the car’s code, you can confirm its true status and avoid being misled by dishonest sellers.

By understanding the limitations in terms of financing and insurance, recognizing the potential risks, and ensuring that the car’s information matches the seller’s claims, you can make an informed decision when considering the purchase of a car. Taking the time to check if a car is Code 3 can save you from future financial and safety issues.

How to check if a car is Code 3

The registration certificate of a car provides valuable information that can help determine if it is a Code 3 vehicle. Here are some key factors to consider:

1. Year of first registration

Check the year of first registration on the registration certificate and ensure that it matches what the owner has advertised. Any discrepancies could be a red flag.

2. Number of previous owners

The registration certificate also indicates the number of previous owners a car has had. Verify this information to get a better understanding of the car’s history.

3. Code on the registration certificate

The code on the registration certificate reveals whether the car is new, used, or rebuilt. A Code 3 vehicle is a rebuilt vehicle, which means it has undergone significant repairs after being extensively damaged. Keep in mind that Code 3 cars may have limitations in terms of financing and insurance.

4. Date of liability for registration

Pay attention to the date of liability for registration on the certificate. If you are dealing with a private seller, a short ownership period (less than six months) could indicate that the car was bought for resale, potentially raising concerns about its condition.

5. Owner/title holder status

Ensure that the owner/title holder status on the registration certificate matches. This indicates that the vehicle is fully paid and unfinanced. If a finance company’s name appears as the title holder, request a letter confirming full settlement before proceeding with the purchase.

6. Outstanding balance to a finance company

If there is an outstanding balance on the vehicle to a finance company, it should be settled before purchasing the car. Failure to do so could result in complications and potential legal issues.

By carefully examining the information on the registration certificate, you can determine if a car is Code 3 and make an informed decision before purchasing.

Additional tips for checking a car’s code

When checking if a car is Code 3, there are a few additional tips that buyers should keep in mind:

1. Check the vehicle identification number (VIN)

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique code assigned to each vehicle. By checking the VIN, buyers can determine the car’s code and verify its history. There are online platforms and services available that allow buyers to input the VIN and obtain detailed information about the car, including its code status.

2. Be cautious of sellers trying to pass off a Code 3 car as a Code 2 or Code 1 vehicle

Unfortunately, some sellers may try to deceive buyers by misrepresenting a Code 3 car as a Code 2 or Code 1 vehicle. This is why it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect the car and verify its code using the registration certificate and VIN. If something seems suspicious or doesn’t match the seller’s claims, it’s best to walk away from the deal.

3. Seek professional assistance for a thorough assessment

Buying a car, especially a used one, can be a significant investment. To ensure that you’re making a wise decision, it’s highly recommended to seek professional assistance. A qualified mechanic or a reputable vehicle inspection service can thoroughly assess the car’s condition, including any potential hidden damages or issues. They can also help verify the car’s code and provide valuable insights to help you make an informed purchase.

By following these additional tips, buyers can further safeguard themselves against potential scams and ensure that they are purchasing a car that aligns with their expectations and requirements.


Checking if a car is Code 3 before making a purchase is of utmost importance. By following the provided tips and seeking professional assistance, you can ensure a safe and informed purchase.

Always remember to verify the car’s information and match it with the seller’s claims. This will help you avoid potential issues in the future, such as limitations in financing and insurance.

Don’t take any chances when it comes to buying a car. Take the time to thoroughly check the registration certificate, including the year of first registration, number of previous owners, and the code indicating if the car is new, used, or rebuilt.

If you have any doubts or concerns, it’s always a good idea to consult with a mechanic or a vehicle inspection service. They can provide a professional assessment of the car’s condition and help you make an informed decision.

Remember, a little extra effort in checking if a car is Code 3 can save you from potential headaches and financial losses down the line. Stay vigilant and ensure that your purchase meets your expectations and requirements.


  1. https://mybroadband.co.za/forum/threads/website-to-check-if-a-car-is-a-code-3.916025/
  2. https://autoadvice.co.za/auto/registration-certificates-interpreting-useful-data
  3. http://www.cfspares.co.za/interesting-facts-on-different-code-cars-code-1234interesting-facts-on-different-code-cars-code-1234/

Latest Questions Answered