How to Ensure Your Car Passes a Roadworthy Inspection


Making sure your car is roadworthy is vital for your safety and the safety of other road users. In Victoria, a roadworthy inspection is used to determine a base level of vehicle safety and roadworthiness.

A roadworthy certificate (also known as an RWC) is required by law:

  • To buy or sell a used car
  • To re-register a car
  • To clear a defect notice

An RWC can only be issued by a VicRoads licensed vehicle tester operating from a licensed commercial garage or service station.

What’s included in a roadworthy inspection?

A roadworthy inspection includes all components essential for the safe operation of your vehicle. These include:

  • Tyres and wheels
  • Steering
  • Braking systems
  • Suspension
  • Windscreen, wipers and washers
  • Seats and seatbelts
  • Vehicle structure and chassis integrity
  • Lights and reflectors
  • Other relevant safety components

What’s not included?

A roadworthy inspection doesn’t take into account the mechanical reliability or general condition of the vehicle. It won’t look at general wear and tear or consider the maintenance and repair history of the vehicle. It also doesn’t take into account any cosmetic damage to the vehicle (unless it affects vehicle safety) and doesn’t look at non-essential vehicle components, such as air conditioning.

Common reasons for failing a roadworthy inspection

Understanding the most common reasons why a car fails a roadworthy inspection will help you to prepare the vehicle ahead of the inspection. Making sure your car passes first time will save you time and money.

These are some of the common reasons for failing a roadworthy inspection:

  • Headlights, indicators or internal dashboard lights/displays not working
  • Worn or cracked tyres
  • Wornout or damaged suspensions
  • Damaged or malfunctioning steering and alignment components
  • Ineffective or malfunctioning braking systems
  • Damaged windscreen
  • Airbags, seatbelts and other safety restraint components in poor condition
  • Faulty horn
  • Transmission and engine oil leaks
  • Modifications that are illegal or compromise safety standards
  • Exhaust leaks
  • Dirty or malfunctioning battery or lower battery fluid

Tips to ensure your vehicle passes

Before taking your car to a licensed vehicle tester, it’s worth running these checks to make sure your vehicle doesn’t get rejected for something simple.

  • Check all lights are in proper working order. This includes headlights (low and high beams and fog lights), indicators, number plate lights, and dashboard display lights.Replace any faded or cracked external light covers or lenses.
  • Inspect all tyres (including spare tyres) for pressure and wear. Make sure that the valve caps fit correctly and the tread depth of the tire is at least 1.5mm.
  • Check for oil leaks under the car or in the engine bay.
  • Check all fluid levels including engine and transmission oil, coolant, power steering fluid, battery fluid, washer fluid and any others.
  • Check the windscreen for cracks, chips, and scratches. The wipers and washers must be working properly. Also, the darkness of the tinting of the windscreen must allow VLT reading of at least 35%. Your windscreen must not have any stickers.
  • Make sure the horn is working.
  • Make sure all seat belts are accessible, latch properly and show no wear.

If you know your way around a car, there are some more technical checks you can carry out. These include:

  • Inspect the suspension components such as shock absorbers, springs, suspension bushes, and ball joints for wear and tear.
  • Check the braking system such as rotors and brake pads. Focus on the brake pedal pulsation as you drive and make sure the wheel functions properly when braking. Also, ensure the handbrake stops the car when it’s in an uphill position.
  • Check that all airbags are working properly.

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