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Keeping your car roadworthy

18 September 2014
Keeping your car roadworthy

Keeping your car roadworthy is an important part of vehicle ownership. It's also essential if your car is going to pass its road-worthiness test during registration renewal. Pre-empt problems that could render your car unsafe to drive with our quick tips.

To test that your car is roadworthy it must be taken to an authorised vehicle tester for safety checks. A roadworthy test will ensure that your car is safe for normal road use.

Some common problems picked up in roadworthy tests include:

  • Oil leaks
  • Condition of tyres
  • Faulty lights
  • Non-secure seats and seat belts
  • Brake defects
  • Excessive smoke and noise
  • Windscreen chips and cracks
  • Vehicle body flaws

Although it's important to take your vehicle to a mechanic for difficult maintenance, you can pre-empt some of the common problems by doing regular checks to discover which parts require maintenance. The following are tests that you can do yourself.

Check your vehicle's fluids: Your vehicle needs to be regularly checked for fluid leaks. Leaks could see levels drop in your coolant, engine oil, transmission or brake fluid. Among other problems, a drop in fluid below minimum levels could damage your engine, cause a breakdown or make your vehicle unsafe to drive. Significant drops in fluid levels are also indicators to larger problems, like a leaking radiator or a problem with the brakes.

Check your tyres: Worn or damaged tyres can greatly reduce your vehicle's grip on the road, making it less safe to drive. Your tyres must be in good condition (including the sidewalls), and have adequate tread and air pressure. This will make your car safe to drive and allow it to pass the roadworthiness test.

Check your lights and horn: One of the easiest steps is to check that all lights are working. This is essential for everyday driving as well as when taking your vehicle for a roadworthy test. The most effective way is get a friend to help check if they are working. Don't forget to check all your lights - headlights, front and rear parking lights, turn indicators (blinkers), brake lights, reversing lights and number plate lights.

Windscreen, wipers and washers: Make sure your windscreen is free of damage including chips, cracks, scratches and discolouration. The area in front of the driver is particularly important. If there is damage consider consulting a windscreen expert to see if repairs are possible or if the screen needs to be replaced. You should also make sure windscreen wipers and washers should also be in good working order.

Check the interior: Checking the interior of your car for unsecured or damaged items is essential in preventing potential injury. Loose items can dislodge while driving or in an accident and cause serious injuries.

Roadworthy tests

Roadworthy test regulations differ between states and territories. You may require a roadworthy test or safety check for:

  • Registration renewal
  • Initial registration
  • Vehicles previously registered in another state or territory
  • Selling a vehicle
  • Lapsed registration
  • Vehicle modifications
  • A defect notice

Before taking your vehicle for a roadworthy test, make sure you are aware of the specific regulations that are relevant in your state or territory.

Following these relatively simple checks can help you avoid failing a roadworthy test, prolong the life of your car and improve safety.

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