While it is a legal requirement that if your vehicle is driven on South African roads they must be deemed road worthy, it is also a pre-requisite when taking out vehicle insurance. When you read your insurance policy wording you will see that the document clearly states that the insurer is not liable to pay for any damages to your vehicle in the event that the vehicle was not roadworthy at the time of loss, especially if this was the cause of the accident.

What does roadworthy condition mean?

It means that your vehicle is in a suitable condition and meets acceptable standards for safe driving. By ensuring your vehicle is road worthy one can minimize the risk of your insurance claim being rejected.

Below is a list of requirements that must be met to ensure your vehicle meets the minimum standards for roadworthiness.

  • The engine and VIN numbers must match those on the registration document.
  • There must be no signs of tampering with the engine and VIN.
  • The body or chassis must be free from rust or damage. Only a vehicle examiner can determine wo which extent such damage or rust is acceptable.
  • All doors must be firmly attached to the hinges and easy to open.
  • The speedometer and odometer must be in working order.
  • All seatbelts, all lights and indicators must be in working order.
  • The car windscreen must be free from damage, and the drivers view unobstructed.
  • Windscreen wipers must be working properly and wiper blades must be in good condition.
  • Wheels and tyres must be the correct size.
  • Tyres should have a tread depth of 1.6mm
  • Brakes should be in good working condition.
  • There must be no leaks from the hydraulic system.
  • Shock absorbers should be in working condition.
  • Wheels must be properly aligned.
  • The steering system must be fully operational.
  • The engine compartment must be free of leaks and damage.
  • The battery must be properly secured.
  • The transmission must be in good working order.
  • There should be no excessive smoke or noise coming from the exhaust.

The legal requirement of roadworthiness applies to private vehicles, taxis, buses and commercial vehicles. Ensure that you get the vehicle checked annually to ensure that it is roadworthy. Not only does doing this ensures your safety on the road but also the safety of other road users. Ensuring the vehicle is in a roadworthy condition will also improve the likelihood of your claim being paid out.