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Defect notices

While driving a light vehicle (such as a car or motorbike), you may be stopped at any time by a police officer or transport inspector for a random roadside vehicle inspection.

If your vehicle is found to be defective, (for instance the vehicle or a component of the vehicle does not comply with the vehicle standards, a modification of the vehicle is not compliant, or the vehicle is unsafe) you may be issued with a defect notice and/or an on-the-spot fine.

What is a defect notice?

A defect notice is not a fine. It is a notice requiring you, as the owner of a light vehicle, to have your vehicle repaired to make it safe to drive.

Who can be given a defect notice?

The police officer or transport inspector may give the defect notice to the owner of the vehicle, or the driver of the vehicle. If the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, the driver must give the defect notice to the owner as soon as practicable to give the owner time to repair the defects.

After you receive a defect notice

Depending on how unsafe your vehicle is, the police officer or transport inspector will determine if it is allowed to be driven before the defect notice is cleared.

If the officer or inspector consider the defective vehicle to be:

  • dangerous, it can be ordered off the road immediately. This means you cannot drive the vehicle away from where you were stopped—a tow truck or trailer may be needed to move your vehicle
  • not dangerous, you may be allowed to drive it to a specified location—like your home or a repair shop.

The defect notice will clearly show if you are allowed to drive the vehicle and any conditions about how, where and when the vehicle may be driven before the defect notice is cleared. For example, a condition may restrict a vehicle with defective windscreen wipers from being driven in wet weather.

Repairing defects

Once you have been issued with a defect notice, you need to have the defect/s repaired. The notice will state how the vehicle is defective, and the action that is required to be taken to repair the defect/s.

If the repairs are not completed by this date, you can apply for a time extension. To apply for a time extension to repair your vehicle’s defect/s, you should contact the officer or transport inspector who issued your defect notice.

Alternatively, you can either:

  • sell your vehicle to a licenced motor dealer
    or
  • cancel your vehicle’s registration.

Timeframe for fixing defects

Your defect notice will show the date the defect/s need to be repaired by.

If the repairs are not completed by this date, you can apply for a time extension. To apply for a time extension to repair your vehicle’s defect/s, you should contact the officer or transport inspector who issued your defect notice.

Alternatively, you can either:

  • sell your vehicle to a licenced motor dealer
    or
  • cancel your vehicle’s registration.

Once your vehicle has been repaired, the defect notice will need to be cleared. The defect notice will include instructions on what actions need to be taken to clear the defect.

Vehicle inspection

Your vehicle may need to be inspected at a transport and motoring customer service centre before the defect notice can be cleared.

Inspection fees

Vehicle type Fee (as at 1 July 2022)
Inspection of a vehicle up to 4,500kg—unsafe vehicle defect notice $105.65
Inspection of a vehicle up to 4,500kg—all other defect notices $51.90
Inspection of a vehicle over 4,500kg—major defect notice $105.65
Inspection of a vehicle over 4,500kg—minor defect notice $51.90

Your vehicle may need to be inspected at another location, such as an Approved inspection station, to clear a defect notice. Fees for inspections made by third parties are not set by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Not complying with a defect notice

Failure to comply with a requirement of a defect notice, such as to repair your vehicle, clear your defect notice, or not finalising either of these before the date stated on the notice is an offence. This may result in you:

  • being issued an on-the-spot fine for not complying with the defect notice
  • being issued an order for a full inspection of the vehicle at a transport and motoring customer service centre
  • having action commenced against you to cancel your vehicle’s registration.

Defect Label

If the vehicle defect is considered dangerous, the police officer or transport inspector may also attach a defect label in a prominent location to alert enforcement officers that the vehicle is not allowed to be driven on the road.

It is an offence to remove the defect label unless authorised to do so, and you may be being issued an on-the-spot fine for unauthorised removal of the defect label.