What is a Roadworthy Inspection and Why is it Important?

Ensuring the vehicles on Australian roads are in safe working condition is essential for keeping our roads safe, helping to minimise the number of car accidents and minimising wear and tear on the road network. One important part of this is the roadworthy certification process.

A roadworthy inspection is essentially a check for the roadworthiness of the vehicle. It is carried out by authorised mechanics to determine whether a vehicle meets the baseline standards for safe operation on Australian roads as laid out by VicRoads (or the other relevant state transport authority). Upon successful completion of the inspection the vehicle will be issued with a roadworthy certificate (RWC).

When do you need a roadworthy certificate?

Roadworthy certification is required whenever a vehicle is sold, when re-registering a vehicle and, in some cases, to clear a police defect. When selling a vehicle, it is the owner’s responsibility to organise and pay for the inspection and submit the certificate to VicRoads.

Some vehicles are exempt from roadworthiness requirements. These include:

  • Brand new vehicles
  • Light trailers
  • Recreational motorcycles
  • Special purpose vehicles (i.e. those not designed primarily for carrying passengers or goods on a highway)

Who performs a roadworthy inspection?

Roadworthy inspections and certification can only be performed by a VicRoads Licensed Vehicle Tester. Licensed Vehicle Testers operate retail vehicle repair or inspection businesses where vehicles are inspected for roadworthiness. A tester (either a person or a business) must be licensed by VicRoads to examine and test vehicles against a set of approved guidelines.

What’s included in a roadworthy inspection?

The inspection focuses solely on the vehicle components that are required for safe operation. These include:

  • Wheels and tyres
  • Steering, suspensions and braking systems
  • Seats and seatbelts
  • Lights and reflectors
  • Windscreen, and windows including front wipers and washers
  • Vehicle structure
  • Other safety related items on the body, chassis or engine

What’s not included?

A roadworthy inspection is not a comprehensive car service nor is it a check on the condition of the vehicle or its mechanical reliability. The inspection does not take into account:

  • Cosmetic condition
  • Accident history
  • General wear or deterioration
  • Non-safety related accessories
  • Mechanical reliability
  • Service history

The inspection will only determine if the vehicle meets the base-level requirements for safe operation on public roads. If you’re buying a vehicle, we recommend you get an independent pre-purchase vehicle inspection.

What if the vehicle doesn’t pass the inspection?

If the vehicle doesn’t pass the inspection, the tester will issue a rejection report. This report will outline the repairs that are required. The vehicle owner will then have 14 days to repair or replace the components before having the vehicle re-inspected. If repairs are not completed within that 14-day period, another complete inspection will be required.

Once you have the RWC

Once the vehicle has passed the inspection you will be issued with an RWC. It will be valid for 30 days from the date of issue and must be presented to VicRoads within that time period.

The best way to ensure that your vehicle remains roadworthy is to perform the necessary preventative maintenance and have your vehicle regularly serviced by a qualified and reliable mechanic.

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