Buying a used vehicle with NO Roadworthy Certificate?

RULE #1: Do not buy a vehicle if it is not sold WITH a Roadworthy Certificate (RWC) - OR YOU WILL BE SORRY!

Too many mechanics may consider customers seeking a vehicle inspection their "bread and butter" feast. Sometimes, there may be absolutely nothing wrong with your vehicle meeting or exceeding the Vic Roads Roadworthiness requirements, but dodgy mechanics will fail your vehicle anyway in order to bump up the price of the vehicle inspection by making false and/or misleading claims that your vehicle requires, (for example: new tyres, new front or rear shock absorbers, rear sway-bar links (one of the oldest tricks some mechanics use), to pass a vehicle inspection.

I should know, three out of five (3 out of 5) road worthy inspection mechanics examined and failed my vehicle untill finally the fifth (5th) inspection mechanic passed my vehicle, saying "I can tell you have done a lot of work on this vehicle."
The 4th non-RWC mechanic inspected my vehicle and assured me that it should pass the next RWC inspection. He was right, the 5th RWC mechanic passed my vehicle within an hour.

Each of the first 3 inspection mechanics failed my vehicle on different things.

The 1st road worthy mechanic tried to charge me $1,400 for unnecessary parts, claiming that the front struts were leaking oil. He claimed that oil was in a puddle on the strut flange. I took the car home, took off the wheels and videowed the entire struts and the flange to find no puddle of any oil.

The 2nd mechanic, failed my vehicle due to bad tires (he couldn't even tell me the primary tred location), and that the rear wind screen wiper was not touching 100% of the rear window.

Hello K-mechanic? Are rear-window wipers a required RWC inspection check? I think VIC Roads says "A Certificate of Roadworthiness does not mean that: non-safety related accessories (such as the air conditioner, rear window demister, electric windows and rear-window wipers) are working." (Source: RWC Inspection Check List RWC What isn't checked)

The 3rd inspection mechanic alleged that my front roaters failed inspection. WOW! The first two mechanics throughly checked my vehicle, faile it for one thing or another, but never indicated that the front roters were below specification, and neither did the 4th or 5th qualified mechanics indicate that my front roters would fail a RWC inspection. Strange!

The trick:

Some inspection mechanics will use the fact that road grime on your shock absorbers or struts is a sign that they are leaking, which is not always the case.

Check with VIC Roads Roadworthiness Checklist to see that a vehicle is allowed to have grime on the under body of the vehicle. All used vehicles will have greasy road grime.

To make sure that the next RWC Mechanic would not use that same trick/excuse to fail my vehicle, I power washed the undercarriage of my vehicle and all of the shocks and struts. They looked almost brand new.

Problem: The 2nd and 3rd inspection mechanics appeared to be upset that my shock absorbers and struts looked clean (no grease or grime) and questioned me if I had washed them, a question I was not obligated to answer. Doggy mechanic? You decide. What difference does it make if I choose to throughly wash my vehicle. Anyone is allowed to was any part of their vehicle, top or bottom, inside and out and it should not negativelly affect or impact a RWC inspection.

No Obligation

You are not obligated to have repairs done by the mechanic who fails your vehicle's inspection. You are FREE to take your vehicle to any other inspection mechanic or perform any replacement of parts or perform any mechanical adjustments on your vehicle as long as you have the capability or the necessary credentials to do the type of repair.

I wish I had a video to show the expression on the face of some of the road worthy inspection mechanics when I told them that I would be taking my vehicle and not having them perform the repairs that they claimed failed my vehicle's inspection. It's like watching a robot flicker their eyelids when they are confused about what program to execute.

Bird's Eye View

You are allowed to keep your eye(s) on the inspection mechanic at all times when he/she is inspecting your vehicle, as long as you stay behind the yellow hazard or staff only line. You are also alowed to SEE all of the items the inspection mechanic faild the inspection on your vehicle. If the mechanic states that your vehicle has an oil leak, tell him/her "show me the leak."


"The power unit, clutch system, transmission system, differentials, axle housings and all associated pipes and lines must be properly sealed and free of dripping or flowing leaks onto the roadway, exhaust system or brake friction surfaces. Dampness, weeping or staining are acceptable, but fluid leaking from the underside of the vehicle to such an extent that it is likely to drop on the road surface (if the vehicle is parked or idling stationary) is unacceptable. Water condensation drops from air conditioning systems is acceptable. (Source: VIC Roads Roadworthiness Checklist)

Buying or selling a vehicle? Visit your local state transportation authority for information.

Prepare your vehicle for the RWC inspection.

Don't take your vehicle to the RWC mechanic until you have first inspected your vehicle using the VIC Roads Roadworthiness Checklist. With a few minutes of your time and a few dollars, you can save big money from dodgy mechanics who fail a vehicle inspection in order to up-sell expensive unnecessary parts and labor.

saved money by roathworthy inspection tips

Download the free VIC Roads RWC Requirements.