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Roadworthy - definition

in Motoring
22 replies 7.1K views
Hello, looking for some advice as to what constitutes roadworthy. Normal MOT items are I believe easier to define, but what about the engine and gearbox, do these need to operate without fault to be roadworthy? If the engine overheats after half an hour or in heavy traffic, or the gearbox once it warms up a gear doesn't operate as it should?
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  • DoaMDoaM Forumite
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    I think we need to understand the back-story to your question.

    I suspect you're not really interested in "roadworthy", but rather "fit for purpose" and "of reasonable quality" etc.
  • boatmanboatman Forumite
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    At what point, if at all does an engine and gearbox become un-roadworthy? It was a gearbox problem that sparked the thought..
  • bengalknightsbengalknights Forumite
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    They are unroadworthy when they are no longer repairable or replaceable

    The MOT of them is irrelevant as they only have to pass the test for less than a few minutes.
  • moleratmolerat Forumite
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    A bit of a misleading technical term that is probably not really relevant to the problem

    I had a car that was not "roadworthy" but passed many MOTs and was perfectly safe and driveable. Things like not having the BS number on reg plates renders a car unroadworthy in law.
  • If you want a legal definition of what renders a vehicle unroadworthy then one such definition is found in the Road Traffic act 1988.
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/section/75
    (3) For the purposes of subsection (1) above a motor vehicle or trailer is in an unroadworthy condition if—
    (a) it is in such a condition that the use of it on a road in that condition would be unlawful by virtue of any provision made by regulations under section 41 of this Act as respects—
    (i) brakes, steering gear or tyres, or
    (ii) the construction, weight or equipment of vehicles,. . .
    [F2(b) it is in such a condition that its use on a road would involve a danger of injury to any person]
  • I guess logically one where the engine keeps cutting out would be unroadworthy (e.g. old Civics where the ignition key contacts have burned away (common problem)) until the fault has been fixed. Whether someone could prove legally that your car was unroadworthy due to an intermittant fault is another question altogether.
  • molerat wrote: »
    A bit of a misleading technical term that is probably not really relevant to the problem

    I had a car that was not "roadworthy" but passed many MOTs and was perfectly safe and driveable. Things like not having the BS number on reg plates renders a car unroadworthy in law.

    I don't think it does.
  • AdrianCAdrianC Forumite
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    molerat wrote: »
    I had a car that was not "roadworthy" but passed many MOTs and was perfectly safe and driveable. Things like not having the BS number on reg plates renders a car unroadworthy in law.
    No, it doesn't. It may be proof that their supply was, itself, illegal depending on when they were supplied. In and of itself, it will not render the plates illegal, and will certainly not render the car unroadworthy. Other factors about the plates may, though.

    "Unroadworthy" does not, itself, mean or imply perfect reliability. It's simply a rough shorthand for whether the condition of the vehicle means that it is legal and safe to use on the public highway.
  • boatmanboatman Forumite
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    If you want a legal definition of what renders a vehicle unroadworthy then one such definition is found in the Road Traffic act 1988.
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/section/75
    Yes, thats what I read, but its pretty limited, and doesn't really cover whats in an MOT, and yet when I see the term 'roadworthy' they refer to the fact that an MOT does not mean its roadworthy. An MOT is a snapshot of the cars condition, so are they just saying that for a car to be classed be roadworthy it just needs to pass an MOT, or are there other specific criteria as well as the MOT?
  • almillaralmillar Forumite
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    My entirely unofficial definition - 'causing the driver to be unable to follow the rules of the road'.
    For a gearbox/engine I would say that would include not moving when the lights turn green, not accelerating properly at slip roads to match the speed of the traffic on the carriageway, and basically things that mean you don't 'go' when you want to.
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