What is a Roadworthy test?
A Roadworthy Test is a specific test which determines whether a vehicle is safe to drive or not. Vehicles which pass the test obtain a Certificate of Roadworthiness. It is a safety examination only and is not a comprehensive Technical Examination. The various aspects of the vehicle which must be tested, together with the standards deemed acceptable, are prescribed by law. There is no allowance for these standards to be varied or altered although the Examiner of Vehicles can exercise some discretion on certain items. The number of items on a vehicle, which must be tested, are considerable and include a road test.
The minimum standards to which a vehicle must conform are defined in a South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Code of Practice, SANS 10047, "The testing of motor vehicles for roadworthiness". A copy of this Code of Practice is in each Test & Drive AA Roadworthy Test Station and can be viewed on request. Alternatively, you can buy a copy from the SABS at Private Bag X191, Pretoria, 0001 (Tel: 021 428 7911), Website: (www.sabs.co.za).
When does my vehicle need a roadworthy test?
If you own or operate a private vehicle with a gross vehicle mass less than 3,500kg (mainly cars and bakkies) you are not required to obtain an annual CoR (Certificate of Roadworthy). The only time you must obtain a CoR, by law, is on change of ownership. No registration certificate or vehicle license will be issued to a new owner without a valid roadworthy certificate being produced.
If you own or operate a vehicle with a gross vehicle mass greater than 3,500kg (mainly trucks and buses) or one less than 3,500kg which you operate for reward (mainly light delivery vehicles, taxis and minibus taxis), you are required by law to obtain a CoR every 12 months.
What papers do I need for a roadworthy test?
Each vehicle has a unique Engine Number and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which are on the vehicle. Using these numbers, the Examiner of Vehicles ensures that the vehicle presented for examination, is in fact the vehicle described in the application for examination.
If any identification number has been obliterated, altered or defaced or does not correspond with the registration certificate, a Police Clearance is required before the test can be undertaken.
Is the roadworthy test difficult to pass?
No. The majority of vehicles pass first time. If your vehicle has been well maintained and regularly inspected, it should pass.
What if my vehicle fails the roadworthy test?
Your vehicle will have failed to meet one or more of the prescribed standards in SANS 10047 "The testing of motor vehicles for roadworthiness". The Examiner of Vehicles will point these items out to you and will tell you the type of remedial action which needs to be taken. You may submit the vehicle for retesting within 14 days of the first test at no additional cost.
Are all roadworthy test stations the same?
Yes and no. The standards to which roadworthy test stations must conform are given in an SABS Code of Practice, SANS 10216 "Vehicle test station evaluation". They are inspected periodically by the SABS and any aspect of the roadworthy test station which does not conform to this Code of Practice has to be rectified. However, standards to which vehicles are tested do differ significantly and an Examiner of Vehicles at one roadworthy test station may be more lenient than at another.
But remember, while a properly undertaken test will not tell you how 'good' or 'bad' the mechanical state of your vehicle is, it will tell you whether the vehicle is safe for you to use or not. It is definitely not in your interest to get a "soft" CoR. It is your life and that of your family which you are putting at risk.
What else should I know?
Both municipal and private roadworthy test stations have to conform to the same Code of Practice so there is no difference between them. However, opening and closing times vary, particularly between municipal and privately-owned roadworthy test stations. Always phone beforehand, to find out when a roadworthy test station is open. Some roadworthy test stations are open on a Saturday, others aren't - it pays to check. The prescribed fee to which municipal and provincial roadworthy test stations must conform is a Provincial responsibility and new fee scales are gazetted by them from time to time. Private roadworthy test stations are allowed to set their own fees but are generally guided by the price which is charged at publicly-owned roadworthy test stations.