You should never trust a road worthy or safety certificate as part of your decision to purchase a used car.
The way it plays out is that they will be interested in a car, typically in a private sale or in a car yard, more often than not in a private sale. They’ll go look at the car and everything looks okay too their untrained eye, and then they will proceed too buy it. Straight after their purchase they will take it to their mechanic to get it serviced and checked out.
This is absolute madness! If you’re looking at buying a house you don’t buy a house and then get a building and pest inspection report AFTER to make sure that everything is the way it’s supposed to be, you get it done first. We don’t understand why people go and continue to purchase a car then get it checked out after they’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars. Just because it has a safety certificate or roadworthy doesn’t mean that it is in good condition. Safety certificate and a roadworthy isn’t a warranty either.
They are just certified as at the time of inspection there was nothing illegal on the vehicle. If a vehicle has leaks of any description and they are NOT dripping from the vehicle onto the ground, that is still a PASS. You could drive it for another 500km and it could be pouring out, it’s not a perfect system by any means but that is the legislation that we work with.
If you’re thinking of buying a used vehicle (especially a private sale because you have no come back) it’s imperative that you go and get a PRE PURCHASE VEHICLE INSPECTION first to ensure there’s no surprises after the fact. You can use these to negotiate the price but more importantly you can have the peace of mind of any repairs that may be required.
A roadworthy inspection can be issued on a vehicle that is still working but has a blown head gasket. A roadworthy can be issued on a vehicle that has a gearbox which is still operating but is about to seize because it hasn’t been serviced ion 100,000k’s. A roadworthy certificate gives you no idea of the condition of the motor, the oil, if it’s been serviced it is literally a pIece of paper saying that the brakes aren’t under sized, that there’s no cracks in the wind screen and about 20 other things. You cannot rely on that when you’re spending your hard earned money.
Never trust a vehicle with your money based on the fact that it has a roadworthy certificate. For $200 you can get a pre-purchase inspection done on most vehicles which will give you peace of mind. If you’ve purchased a vehicle and then taken it to a mechanic and believe it has issues that were covered under the roadworthy I’ve put a link to the legislation below to reference:
Click on that link and you can read what is or is not a fail or a pass. A lot of mechanics aren’t licensed to do safety certificates and they aren’t up to speed with the legislation. They will give poor advice on what is or is not a pass for a safety certificate.
Make sure your armed with this information before you go and look at a vehicle, don’t learn this after the fact.