In its simplest form a roadworthy certificate is an official authorisation for your vehicle to be driven on public roads but, it is actually more than that as it also provides a vital check that the car you are buying – especially if second hand – is not stolen or the subject of a police investigation.
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Besides being on the road illegally, without a valid roadworthy certificate you will also not be able to insure the vehicle.
A major element of the roadworthy test is to ensure the vehicle is safe to drive, that there are no inherent life-threatening faults, and that it is not a danger to other road users by having problems such as a major oil leak.
You, as the owner, are responsible for obtaining the roadworthy certificate before the vehicle is registered in your name. If you are buying a new car from a dealer, this process will be handled by the dealership as part of the purchase process.
This might also apply if you are buying a used vehicle through a recognised auto dealership but, in the case of all private deals, the onus is on you.
Obtaining a Roadworthy Certificate
What you should do:
- Go to the nearest vehicle testing station with the following:
- vehicle’s registration certificate
- identity document (ID)
- prescribed fee. (This varies from municipality to municipality)
- Complete the Application for Certification of Roadworthiness (ACR) form, which is available at the testing station and is processed the same day.
Before going to the testing station you need to ensure your car is capable of passing the test.
- All vehicles are identified by an engine number and a VIN number that are recorded on the registration document–you need to check they match. VIN is the acronym for Vehicle Identification Number. This is a unique code manufacturers assign to a vehicle whenever they manufacture one. The code acts as the automobile's fingerprint; hence, at no point, should two or more cars share this code. Both numbers also appear on the licence disk but, if you need to find them, the engine number is on the front part of the engine, usually right below the bonnet while the VIN number could be on the windscreen or the inside of the driver’s door.
- The body of the car must be free of rust that might compromise the structure of the body or chassis and there should be no damage that could cause injury to pedestrians or cyclists. All doors should open freely from both the inside and outside, and they must be firmly attached.
- Inside the car the odometer and speedometer must be in working order, the seats need to be secure and without major damage, and all seatbelts need to be in good working order.
- The tester will check all lights and indicators are working correctly–including the low and high beam functions. They will also check there is no water collecting in the fittings and the hooter also needs to work properly.
- Checks will also be done to ensure there are no cracks on the windscreen and that all windows open and close correctly. Wipers, both front and rear, will also be examined.
- All tyres, including the spare, must have a minimum tread of at least 1,6 mm and must be of the size and specification recommended by the manufacturer. The brakes need to be in good working order, including the parking brake, and the examiner will check to see that the brake discs are not excessively worn and that there are no leaks from the hydraulic system.
- Shock absorbers should be in good working order with no leaks present.
- Under the bonnet the battery needs to be correctly fixed in place with no signs of leakage and there should not be excessive smoke from the exhaust when the car is running. Equally, the gearbox should operate smoothly and the engine should show no undue vibration that could be from worn mounting points.
Find out more information about Roadworthy Certificates as outlined in the official Government Gazette.
Learn more about roadworthiness testing to ensure you’re prepared when applying for a roadworthy certificate.
Driving an unroadworthy car can constitute Reckless or Negligent Driving in the event of a crash and, depending on the circumstances, could result in a prison sentence.
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