Juliet McGuire

Ladies, do you know if your car is roadworthy?

This sounds like a rather patronising question to ask my fellow demoiselles, but after a few roadworthy conversations with girlfriends, I realised that too many of the few I spoke to didn’t actually have a cooking clue. I decided it best to have the chat. Is your car roadworthy?

In 2018, almost a million cars on South Africa’s roads were deemed to be unroadworthy. And when the National Vehicle Testing Association tested over 1 000 cars in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, they found that up to 80% of the cars were not in a roadworthy condition. Not only is it illegal, but it is dangerous and contributes to the massively high number of road carnage we face on a daily basis. In fact, 10% of major crashes are caused by unroadworthy vehicles.

I tell you all of this not to depress you, but because you need to know just how important it is to have your car roadworthied. This does not only refer to when there is a change of ownership of the car, it should also be conducted when necessary. It is your responsibility to know when that is.



The body of your car needs to be free of rust and have no damage to it – especially if it comprises the car or chassis in any way. There must be no damage that can cause risk to a pedestrian or a cyclist. All doors should be able to open and close easily, from the inside and the outside, and they should be firmly attached at the hinges. Make sure your inner door panels are also in good condition and in place.

Windows and windscreens:

Obviously, you should have no cracks on your windscreen. Have that stone chip fixed before it becomes a problem. All of your windows need to be able to open and close. And you should have at least one functioning windscreen wiper. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that it should probably be the one on the driver’s side, at least!

Lights and indicators:

Every single light on your car, including your indicators, must be working. The high and low beam of your headlights must also work properly. Don’t go blinding other drivers. And all lights must be fitted securely so that no water or moisture is let in.

Wheels and tyres:

This is a biggie. The tread on all four of your tyres, including your spare tyre, must be 1.6 mm deep. Your tyres and wheels must be the correct size and adhere to manufacturer specifications. Your wheel alignment must be within specification.


Brakes on all wheels must be in good working order as must the parking brake. Brake discs must not have any grooves or be concave. They should be in good working order and there should be no leaks from the hydraulic system.

Suspension and undercarriage:

There should be no signs of weakness or damage to the chassis. The undercarriage must have no rust on it and no visible fluid leaks anywhere. Shock absorbers must not be worn out.

Engine and exhaust:

The engine compartment must be clean and be free of any leaks or signs of damage. There should be no damaged or loose wiring visible, the engine and transmission mountings must be intact and the battery must be clean, securely fastened and be free of any cracks or leaks. The exhaust should be undamaged and free of any smoke emissions.


Always make sure your hooter, odometer and speedometer are in working condition. Your seats must be securely in place and all seatbelts must be in working condition.


If your engine and VIN numbers don’t match those on the registration document you will need to get police clearance. There must be no tampering of any vehicle identifiers. In the case of an engine change, all associated requirements must be in place (and logged on eNaTIS), including police clearance and data dotting.


Go to the nearest vehicle testing station (ensure the testing centre is accredited) with the following:
– Vehicle’s registration certificate
– Identity document (ID)
– Prescribed fee.

And complete the Application for Certification of Roadworthiness (ACR) form.

Now you know everything you need to know about how to roadworthy your car. If you have any more queries please pop me an email or contact me via Instagram or Facebook. I am here to help after all.

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