Checking your car before the restricted test

Avoid failing before your test even starts with these simple tips.

Some people fail their licence test without even getting out on the road - not because they aren't capable drivers, but because their car is not safe and roadworthy.

Before the test, the Testing Officer will do a safety check of your car. It’s your responsibility to make sure the car you are using is fit for use, even if you’re borrowing someone else’s car.

Some of the things the Testing Officer will look for:

Fuel: Make sure the car you’re using has enough fuel for the test (around 45 minutes of driving time)

Road legal: The car will need to have a current Warrant of Fitness, vehicle licence (registration) label, current RUC label if it's a diesel, and it will need to have L-plates correctly displayed.

Bodywork: The bodywork must be in a safe condition. Minor scratches and dents are ok.

Tyres: The tread on the tyres must be deep enough to be safe. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.5mm. The car must also be sitting square on the road. If it's not, the tyres may be different or at different pressures. Remember that you can’t use a ‘space-saver’ tyre during the test – it must be a full-sized tyre.

Lights: All the indicators and brake lights must work, including the high stop light. The Testing Officer will get you to activate these lights while they stand behind the vehicle. If visibility is poor, they’ll check your headlights too.

Horn: The horn must work, so that you can use it in the event of an emergency.

Mirrors: The mirrors must be clean and correctly adjusted. This includes the rear-view mirror and wing mirrors.

Windscreen: The windscreen and windows must be clean enough that you can see out them clearly. If it’s raining during your test, the Testing Officer will also check the windscreen wipers work effectively.

Seat belts: The seat belts must all be working as designed.

Clean and safe: The inside of the car must be clear of clutter and the seats reasonably clean – especially the front seat where the testing officer will be sitting.

Parking brake and demister: You're Testing Officer will ask you to point out the parking brake, and the demister for the windscreen and rear window (you’ll need to be able to switch these on during the test, if you need to).

If all these points are ok, it's time to start your test.

What's next?

The day of the restricted test

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