Generally, you will need a roadworthy certificate in Australia when you plan to sell your vehicle or seek re-registration of your used vehicle. The Victorian government has stipulated this measure to control the population of poorly maintained vehicles taking to the public road. Another instance when a roadworthy certificate becomes essential for you is for the purpose of clearing defects already pointed out during an earlier inspection. Roadworthy certificates are also intended to protect the seller and the buyer apart from ensuring public safety and preventing poorly maintained vehicles from using public roads.
The focus of an inspection for issuance of roadworthy certificate is to ensure that all major components of a vehicle are in good repair and not deteriorated or worn out and that generally, the vehicle is safe to be driven on public roads. This inspection will primarily look at:-
- The wheels/tyres
- Seats /seat belts
- Suspension, braking systems and steering
- Windscreen and windows
- Windscreen wipers and washers
- Lamps/ reflectors
- Structure of your vehicle
- Other items impacting the safety of the vehicle including the chassis, engine and the body.
However, a roadworthiness test will not ensure or check the reliability of mechanical aspects or the general condition of a vehicle. When you need to establish the overall reliability of your vehicle, you need to obtain an independent report after a comprehensive inspection,from a designated agency or an authorized garage.
Only licensed vehicle testers can issue a roadworthy certificate and they work out of garages or service stations nominated for the purpose. The certificate when issued only certifies that the vehicle can be safely used on the public roads.
The Roadworthy Certificate Comprises of Two Parts
The first part of the certificate inspection by an inspector duly licensed and he checks your vehicle to detect any defects or faults needing replacement/repair to comply with the RWC standards. If this first part fails:-
The vehicle tester issues a defects report and you have 7 days time to get the replacement/repair carried out and submit the vehicle back for a re-inspection. Failing to complete this process in 7 days would entail your going back to the first part once again.
When you bring your vehicle back within the specified time limit, your vehicle is again tested by the same inspector and you get a green RWC if the vehicle passes the test.
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There can be instances when you may present your vehicle for transfer or registration. A RWC would be needed on such occasions and such a certificate should have been issued within 30 days preceding the date on which the vehicle is presented for transfer or registration. However, it should be understood that the RWC does not guarantee fitness of your vehicle across the 30 days after its issuance.
Items Not Covered By The RWC Inspection
The general condition of the vehicle is not covered by a RWC inspection. Further, this inspection also excludes:-
- General condition of the vehicle including wear and deterioration
- Accessories like air conditioner, windows, wipers etc that are not related to overall safety
- Any assurance that items checked during the RWC inspection will continue to perform well even after the inspection.
Thus, a RWC does not constitute a comprehensive assessment of the vehicle or that it complies with standards prescribed under ADRs for the purpose of registration. The ADRs stipulate minimum standards for construction of motor vehicles and trailers. Therefore, only an RWC inspection is not adequate to confirm compliance with the ADR standards.
Getting a RWC Helps Buyer and Seller
When you are selling or buying a used vehicle, it helps both the buyer and seller to obtain a RWC. This way, you ensure that the transfer process is completed without glitches. Importantly, till such time the transfer is recorded, the seller remains legal owner of the vehicle though the vehicle may be driven by another person. You can steer clear from this situation and avoid potential problems. However, you can sell the car even without a RWC but you should remove the number plates and deposit them with the VIC Roads. Once you do this, the registration of your vehicle gets cancelled and you are no more responsible for potential events impacting the vehicle.
Another instance when a RWC becomes necessary is when you are stopped by a law enforcement authority and requests the certificate, though you may not have got an inspection done. Even with a RWC certificate if a law enforcement personnel stops you and finds serious defects in your vehicle you could still be fined. Therefore, it is important that you get the certification done at regular intervals for your own safety and the safety of other road users.
Cost of Getting a RWC
The type of your vehicle will determine the cost of getting a RWC while its general condition and age will also weigh in. The cost can also be different from one vehicle tester to the other. Therefore, the best option is to get multiple quotes before you present the vehicle for inspection.
Who Issues The Certificate
A RWC is issued by vehicle testers licensed for the purpose. However, you are responsible to ensure that the garage or another facility where the tests are carried out is approved for the purpose. Once the certificate is issued, remember to keep it in your vehicle. Subject to local laws permitting, you can keep a photocopy of the certificate in the vehicle and present the original if, and when needed.