It’s no secret that everyday life in Western Australia would be pretty difficult without a car. Whether it’s cruising along the sun-kissed coastline or venturing into the outback with family, or simply tackling the highways and freeways for daily errands, the journey demands more than just the vehicle —it requires adherence to strict vehicle and licensing regulations to ensure safety and reliability. 

You may have heard of or even encountered a yellow sticker on a car, otherwise known as a defect notice. If a vehicle receives a yellow sticker, it means the said vehicle isn’t roadworthy and cannot be driven on Western Australian roads. Now to avoid this scenario, it’s important to understand what makes a car roadworthy and what you can do to ensure your car is roadworthy. In this article, we’ll delve into what it takes to meet roadworthy standards in Western Australia to ensure a safe driving experience for all.


Why It Is Important For Your Car to Remain Roadworthy 

Whilst a yellow sticker on a car can be a major inconvenience, you should understand the implications of one and what it means if your car is not roadworthy. The main ones are: 

Safety For Yourself and Other Road Users

This is the most important one. Driving a car that’s not roadworthy poses significant safety risks, not only to yourself and your family but also to other road users. For example, driving a vehicle that isn’t roadworthy due to issues such as tyre age or transmission issues, increases the risk of accidents, potentially leading to catastrophic consequences such as brake or engine failure at high speeds. 

Fines, Penalties & Other Legal Consequences 

Driving an unroadworthy vehicle is against Western Australian law. If the roadworthiness issues identified are not rectified in the time specified, you won’t be able to legally drive the car. If you do drive a yellow stickered car, you risk facing further legal consequences such as fines and even suspension of your driver’s licence

Financial Impact 

Owning a car comes with its own list of costs. When your car is deemed not roadworthy, you unnecessarily add to those costs. Costs to consider may include the pit inspection to get it re-licenced, mechanic costs to fix the identified issues, temporary movement permits or towing costs to get the car to the mechanic, and new licence plates. Hence it’s much cheaper in the long run to maintain regular servicing and avoid all this!


Common Reasons You Could Be Given a Yellow Sticker in WA

Now you’re not expected to know the ins and outs of what makes a car roadworthy. Your local mechanic should let you know of any issues at each vehicle service. However, it helps to know some basics to avoid getting pulled over and being issued with a yellow sticker. Here is a list of common problems that could lead to your car being deemed not roadworthy. 

Engine & Transmission Problems 

Common engine and transmission problems to check for may include leaks and noises coming from the exhaust system, verifying the security and operation of the transmission and differential, inspecting the tail shaft and universal joints, and checking all wheel bearings for noise.

Tyre Quality

Don’t neglect buying new tyres! Common tyre issues that can make a car unroadworthy include tyre age, inadequate tread depth, tyre damage such as cuts or bulges, exposed cords or belts, and using incorrect tyre types for the vehicle or driving conditions. A tyres visual condition is easily identifiable, making it a common reason for a yellow sticker. A general rule of thumb is if your tyres are more than ten years old, it’s time for new ones.

Electrical Faults

Ensuring a car’s electrical system is roadworthy could involve checking that the battery, wiring looms, and connectors are secure, verifying the operation and alignment of headlights, and inspecting all lights for damage. Even a single broken headlight or indicator light could make a car unroadworthy. 


Any issues with the brakes pose a serious safety risk to yourself and other users. Common brake problems that could make a car not roadworthy include visible wear and damage, brake fluid leaks and brake line deterioration.

Body condition

The car body refers to the external panels and components that form the vehicle’s exterior. Common bodywork issues that could make a car not roadworthy include rust and cracks on the cab, floor pan, chassis, and body mountings, as well as any damage to the windscreen. 


As you can see there are various types of checks that are carried out to determine whether a car is considered roadworthy. Regular inspections and proper maintenance with a qualified expert are crucial for picking up any issues in a timely manner before they become big and costly. 


Please also note, this is not an exhaustive list of problems that could lead to a defect notice. You can review the WA Department of Transport checklist for a more comprehensive list.


What You Need to Do if You Are Issued With a Defect Notice (Yellow Sticker) in WA 

Get The Defect Fixed

Firstly, you need to address the issues that have led to being issued a defect notice. If the issue is a simple fix, such as tyre wear, you may be able to do it yourself. However, you may wish to take your car to a DOT approved Authorised Inspection Station to have all issues resolved in one place. 

Get The Car Inspected 

Once the issues have been fixed, you need to have it inspected at an Authorised Inspection Station within 14 days of issuance of the defect notice. The mechanics will look at all possible defects your car may have – not just the ones identified on the notice. If your car passes the inspection, your yellow sticker will be removed and you can drive it again.

Get The Car Registered

If your car is not registered, you’ll need to pay to register it to start driving again. Failure to comply with getting your vehicle fixed and inspected within the 14 day period generally leads to your licence plates being seized and your vehicle becoming unregistered.


Ensure Your Car Remains Roadworthy With Regular Vehicle Servicing 

Ensuring the safety of yourself and your family on the roads is paramount. One of the most effective ways to do so is by regularly maintaining your vehicle’s roadworthiness. If it’s been a while since you last visited a mechanic for a service, it’s likely time to schedule one. Regular servicing not only helps identify and address any potential issues before they escalate but also ensures that your vehicle operates at its optimal performance level. By proactively maintaining your car, you not only enhance its reliability but also contribute to a safer driving experience for everyone on the road. 



Do you need a roadworthy certificate in Western Australia?

In Western Australia, roadworthy certificates are not generally required for private vehicles unless they are imported from overseas, have undergone significant modifications or have been rebuilt. However, it’s important to note that vehicles still need to meet roadworthy standards to remain legal to drive. 

Is it illegal to drive your vehicle with a yellow sticker?

Yes, it is illegal to drive a vehicle with a yellow sticker in Western Australia past the expiry date listed on the defect notice. Additionally, it is also illegal to remove or tamper with a yellow sticker once it has been issued. 

Can you sell a car with a defect notice?

In Western Australia, technically yes you can sell a car with a defect notice. If you do, the new owner must be notified so all vehicle licence renewals will be redirected to them. As a result, you likely won’t be able to sell the car for as much as you could without the defect notice. It is important to also note that you could be held liable if you don’t disclose known defects to the new owner, keeping in mind that it is also illegal to remove a yellow sticker yourself. 



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