We are often asked by our customers about common defects on cars that cause them to fail roadworthy certificate inspections.
We’ll get to that in a moment, but first it is important to understand why roadworthy certificates are so important.
We all have the right to be safe when driving on the road, and that means there needs to be a system to ensure this right to safety. We are all required to have a license to drive; this ensures that every person behind the wheel is able to competently operate their vehicle. It makes sense then, that the vehicles we are licensed to drive are also safe.
Everyone has a different idea of safety, and everyone has a different level of knowledge when it comes to cars and how they work. Because of this, VicRoads has setup (through legislation) a set of guidelines which cars must meet in order to be driven on our roads: Roadworthy Certificates.
Safety is a big part of roadworthy certificates, but it also covers a wide range of things that are important to keeping our roads running smoothly. Have you ever been walking in the street and been blown in the face with a big cloud of smoke from a car or truck driving by? Have you ever almost run into the back of the car in front, only to realise you didn’t see them stopping because they had no brake lights? Have you ever been driving at night and been blinded by an oncoming car’s headlights? Annoying, frustrating and dangerous!
So what are some of the common reasons cars fail roadworthy inspections, and why are these things important?
1. Suspension bushings – These are strong pieces of rubber that connect your suspension components to the car. Without them, cars would be almost unbearable to ride in. Cars are manufactured with precision so that they drive and steer as you expect them to. If any of these bushings are damaged the car begins to act in a strange way, and if this happens at the wrong moment it could put you or other road-users in immediate danger.
2. Tyres – Those black donut-shape things that connect your car to the road. If your tyres fail or lose grip on the road for any reason, you’ll definitely know about it! Tyres do so much, and therefore are very important. They help us steer, stop, accelerate, turn, drive in the wet and much much more. The main reasons tyres do not pass roadworthy inspections is due to low tread depth or damage to the side of the tyre.
3. Power steering – Modern power assisted steering uses sophisticated electrictronics and hydraulics to help you drive the car. It is critical that these systems are operating at 100%. Hydraulic systems (that is, oil in pipes/hoses under pressure) occasionally develop leaks which, if not fixed, can drastically affect the way your car steers. In normal day-to-day driving this might not be a problem, but imagine if you are steering around an 80km/h corner and all of a sudden your steering stops working…scary thought.
4. Tinted windows – VicRoads has very strict guidelines when it comes to tint film on windows. The darker the tint, the more dangerous it can be. There are suggested benefits to having tints (privacy, heat reduction etc.) however according to VicRoads these benefits are outweighed by the dangers. The darkness of tints is measured in VLT %. The lower the number, the darker the tint. 35% is the darkest tint that VicRoads permits, however in some circumstances readings down to 30% can be permitted. Make sure that if you are getting tint film applied to your windows, the VLT % reading is not below 35%.
Our next VIA roadworthy blog entry will be on windscreens: why they are so important and what to look out for.