Tips & Advice

Roadworthy Certificate (RWC) Victoria

Did you know?

In the state of Victoria a roadworthy certificate is generally required when a vehicle is sold or if it is to be registered. In some cases a certificate of roadworthiness is also required to clear a vehicle defect notice.

Although vehicle owners are responsible for keeping their vehicles in a safe and roadworthy condition at all times, roadworthy testing is undertaken to help minimise possible hazards to road users and buyers of used vehicles. Vehicles may be in a potentially harmful condition, often without the owner being aware of it.

Before a certificate of roadworthiness can be issued, the vehicle must be inspected and found to be free of wear, deterioration or alterations that would make the vehicle unsafe for normal road use.

The roadworthy inspection is NOT a check of the mechanical reliability or general condition of the vehicle. If a more comprehensive check of the vehicle’s overall condition is required you should arrange for a separate independent report

A certificate of roadworthiness can only be issued by a licenced vehicle tester operating from a nominated automotive facility.

The cost of obtaining a roadworthy certificate will depend on a variety of factors such as the age, type and condition of the vehicle being examined.

A roadworthy certificate issued by a licenced tester is certification that a vehicle meets the requirements of Vic Roads and is fit for road use,

A roadworthy certificate is current for the purpose of the transaction for 30 days from the date of issue
Waverley Exhaust and Brake Service offer an affordable Roadworthy service for Notting Hill, Waverley, Clayton and surrounding suburbs

Defect notices

According to VicRoads, approximately 48,000 defect notices or ‘canaries’ for unroadworthy vehicles are processed each year. The Road Safety (Traffic) Regulations state a person must not drive a vehicle in an unsafe condition.

What to do when issued with a defect notice

The defect notice will specify what the unroadworthy items are and the period of time you have to get them fixed, as well as what must be done before the vehicle may be used on a highway.

The time given to fix your vehicle will vary depending on the extent of the faults. For minor faults, you might be given seven days, but any major faults could mean the vehicle must be fixed within 24 hours. The police can order particularly bad vehicles to be towed away on the spot.

You should try to have your vehicle repaired within the specified time and date. After this period, the vehicle can only be driven on the road to get it to a licensed tester for a roadworthy certificate or to a VicRoads office to clear the defect notice, but the car must have been fixed first.

If you don’t have the car repaired within the specified time, you’ll have to have it towed to a repairer. If you drive an unroadworthy vehicle and have an accident, you might not be covered by your insurance policy.

Clearing your vehicle

Once your vehicle has been repaired, you may need to take it to a licensed vehicle tester for a roadworthy certificate, and then present that certificate at a VicRoads office to have the defect notice cleared.

When a canary is issued, a copy goes to VicRoads and if there is no record of the defect notice being cleared within 28 days of its issue, your registration will be suspended.

If the vehicle has been modified you are required to present an engineer’s report; a technical assessment issued by a qualified engineer to certify that the modified vehicle has been inspected and complies with the standards for registration.

How to get your Roadworthy certificate:
  1. Book your vehicle in for a Roadworthy inspection (RWC) by calling Colin or Chris on 9561 1522
  2. Bring your car in for the roadworthy inspection along with your driver’s license. A Licensed vehicle tester will assess your car, a process that usually takes 2 hours.
  3. If the vehicle passes the inspection, a Roadworthy Certificate will be issued.
    If the vehicle fails the first inspection; we will provide a list of items that need to be rectified for the certificate to be issued. We will also provide you with a quote of the repair costs required.
  4. If the vehicle has rust or damage to structural sections you may be required to have the vehicle assessed by a panel repair shop. The panel repair shop will be required to fill in a Structural Repair Report form found on the VicRoads website.
  5. Repairs need to be carried out and vehicle represented within 7 days. Repairs can be carried out by our fully trained mechanics or a mechanic of your own choosing.
  6. Make a booking for a re-inspection.
  7. If the repairs are satisfactory, a Roadworthy Certificate will be issued.
What’s inspected?

A roadworthy inspection checks the vehicle to ensure the key components aren’t worn or deteriorated and that the vehicle is safe to use. It will mainly cover major safety related items

  • Wheels and tyres
  • Steering, suspension and braking systems
  • Seats and seat belts
  • Lamps and reflectors
  • Windscreen and windows including front windscreen wipers and washers
  • The vehicle structure
  • Other safety related items on the body, chassis or engine

The roadworthy test is NOT a check of the vehicle’s reliability or overall condition. Should you need a more comprehensive test talk to Colin or Chris to arrange a separate independent report.

Please note that the roadworthy certificate does not mean …

  • That the vehicle is in top notch condition
  • Non safety related parts like air conditioning, electric windows and rear wipers are functioning properly.
  • Regular vehicle servicing

Remember, regular servicing can help keep your car roadworthy, and if you’re planning to drive during holidays, make sure your car is in a safe condition before your journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do the new VicRoads rules affect Roadworthy inspections?

The new process involves extensive body structural checks and taking photographs of each vehicle to provide proof and authenticity in the preparation of the report.

This extra cost for you (and additional work for workshops) at first appears to be a burden on your hip pocket, but these new rules are to protect you, the consumer.

Firstly, the quality of RWC inspections is improved because it’s a lot harder for shabby workshops. And the horror stories of purchasing a vehicle with a RWC and finding it’s full of problems hopefully will no longer exist.

How much does a RWC cost?

The cost of obtaining a roadworthy certificate will depend on a variety of factors such as the age, type and condition of the vehicle being examined.

Is it necessary to do a complete RWC Inspection?

Yes: Although vehicle owners are responsible for keeping their vehicles in a safe and roadworthy condition at all times, roadworthy testing is undertaken to help minimise possible hazards to road users and buyers of used vehicles. Vehicles may be in a potentially harmful condition often without the owner being aware of it.

How long is the certificate valid for?

A roadworthy certificate is current for 30 days from the date of issue

How long do I have to complete any repairs?

The time given to fix your vehicle will vary depending on the extent of the faults. For minor faults, you will be given seven days, but any major faults (such as defective brakes) could mean the vehicle must be fixed within 24 hours.

What happens after 30 days? 

The RWC will expire after 30 days because circumstances often change after the vehicle has been inspected. The vehicle will be required to be retested with a new roadworthy certificate being issued. A retest fee will apply.

Factory Scheduled Maintenance

If you want your vehicle to have a long and healthy life you have to maintain it on a regular basis.

Battery & Electrical Systems

Many electrical problems stem from loose and corroded battery connections? Battery grime can also cause leaks and shorten the life of your car battery.

Steering & Suspension

It’s easy to take your suspension system for granted, but normal wear and tear can affect your handling and safety.

Cooling System

We recommend changing the coolant on schedule and flushing the cooling system and pH balancing the coolant at least once every two years.

EPA Exhaust Noise Testing

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has a compliance and enforcement program in place to minimise the number of noncompliant noisy vehicles operating on Victorian roads.

Exhaust System Service & Repair

Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths. It’s a dangerous and potentially lethal toxin.

Brake Service & Repair

If you’re hearing unusual sounds when you brake or if your brake pedal is feeling squishy or too hard, have the team at Waverley Exhaust and Brake Centre do a brake inspection for you.

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Contact us for all your exhaust, brakes and mechanical needs. We treat your car like it's our own.

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