DIY Guide To Performing a Roadworthy Inspection On Your Car

What checks can you perform on your vehicle to make sure that it is roadworthy? Here is a DIY guide with a few steps…
Megan Ellis
2017-04-29
Before setting out on a journey, you'll often be advised to do a roadworthiness check on your vehicle. But, how exactly do you go about performing one?
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DIY Guide To Performing a Roadworthy Inspection On Your Car

NOTE: Some aspects of an official roadworthiness test cannot be conducted by the average motorist. The checks in this guide are meant to serve as guidelines to ensure your vehicle is safe to drive, but will not secure you an official certificate.

Check Your Tyres

There are two important factors when inspecting tyre safety: tread and pressure. Petrol stations are able to give you an exact reading of your tyre pressure, but you can also use your own pressure gauge. You will need to check your owner's manual to see the recommended pressure for your tyres, according to Good Year. If you have an air compressor, you can pump your own tyres. If you don't, a petrol station can provide you with one, or inflate your tyres for you. When it comes to tyre tread, the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. If your tread is shallower than this, or there is significant damage to the tread, you will need to replace your tyre. If you are using a spare tyre that is only designated for temporary use, you will need to change back to a regular tyre. Another check to perform is to make sure that all your valve caps are in place.
CLICK BELOW to read our 10 easy steps to changing a tyre.

Make Sure Your Lights, Indicators, And Windscreen Wipers Are Working

If your lights and indicators are not working, your car will not be considered roadworthy. Make sure that all of these signals are working by having someone observe your car while you activate different functions. You should also have any significant cracks on your lights repaired. It is essential that your brake lights and headlights work to minimise chances of an accident. In addition to this, you will need to make sure that your windscreen wipers are working and are effective. While we don't use them on a daily basis, you don't want to get stuck in a storm, or have something cover your windscreen, while you're driving if your wipers are broken. The wipers also count as part of the electronics check for your car. So, if they're broken, your car is not considered roadworthy.

Make Sure Everything Is Secure

From your bumper and mirrors, to your licence plate and fuel cap, you will need to make sure that all the bits and bobs for your car are securely in place, the Automobile Association says. Your licence plate needs to be both secure and visible. Meanwhile, any vehicle body parts or mechanisms, like doors, which are not secure and at risk of falling off will render your car unroadworthy.

Check The Footwell

You might remember this from your driver's licence test - and it still applies. Make sure your footwell is clear and that there are no obstructions.

Fluid Levels

There are several fluids you'll want to check when inspecting your car, according to the AA. These include your oil, water, brake fluid, and power steering fluid levels. Your car's owner's manual will have details on the recommended levels, and how to perform these checks on your vehicle. If you're unsure, you can have an attendant at a petrol station check the oil and water levels.

If You Require a Certificate…

If you require an official certificate for roadworthiness, you won't be able to rely on your own DIY inspection. Rather, you're going to need to visit an official public, or private, vehicle testing station. Certificates are needed when you renew your motor vehicle licence or when you transfer ownership of the car. Most car insurers will also require you to provide a roadworthiness certificate before giving you coverage. You can find out where your local testing stations are via your municipality's website. If you can't find the information there, a Google search will send you in the right direction. In order to qualify for the certificate, the following will need to be checked by a qualified inspector:
  • Identification and documentation
  • Electrical systems
  • Fittings and equipment (including mirrors, safety belts, etc)
  • Braking system
  • Wheels (including tyre condition)
  • Suspension and undercarriage
  • Steering
  • Engine
  • Exhaust system
  • Transmission and drive, instruments
  • Vehicle dimensions