Having a roadworthy vehicle will help you avoid accidents on the road and will also make it possible for you to enjoy a lower car insurance premium. Despite the fact that there is so much emphasis that is placed on roadworthiness, there is actually a very limited amount of information available that tells you what aspects of your car need to be checked. So, how can you tell if your vehicle is safe to drive on the roads of South Africa? Here is a break down:
Wheels and Tyres
Your tyres are required to have a tread depth of at least 1.5mm because anything less than that limits their functionality, especially in wet weather. Tyres that are in poor condition are more likely to cause accidents as a result of the driver losing control of the vehicle (skidding). Tyres should also be free of bulges, cracks and punctures.
Your wheels need to be attached with the correct number of nuts and bolts.
The brakes are probably the most important aspects of the car. Quotes for vehicle insurance are calculated according to the quality of your brakes, along with a few other factors. This is due to the fact that brakes that are not functioning as they should be are an accident that is waiting to happen. When you take your vehicle for a roadworthiness test, the experts will check the brake discs, drums, linings and stopping performance. The brakes need to be able to decelerate the car at a specific rate as dictated by governmental guidelines.
Your steering and suspension needs to be in proper working condition. A good way to check if your suspension is still functioning as it should is to take note of what happens when you let go of your steering wheel for a second or two (obviously do not do this on a busy road!). If the car automatically starts veering off to the side, the chances are that your suspension needs to be re-set. Driving on uneven surfaces and into potholes can take a toll on the quality of your suspension. Smaller cars are at a greater risk of experiencing problems in this area.
When it comes to driving on the roads, safety is always a priority. In order for your vehicle to be considered roadworthy, having functional seatbelts is a must! They must be securely fitted and easily accessible, especially to passengers seated in the front, although the backseat is just as important.
If your windscreen is badly chipped or cracked, it needs to be repaired in order to be considered acceptable. If you have comprehensive car insurance, the insurance company will pay for this to be done.
While it is possible to check your own car for issues, it is definitely advisable to take it to a roadworthiness testing centre for more accurate results. It is recommended that you take your car for testing once a year in order to ensure complete safety and peace of mind.