It wasn’t easy but today I finally got the roadworthy certificate (RWC) for my car. A RWC is necessary to register a car and can be issued by certified mechanics. Unlike the German TÜV there are no specialised inspection stations. The Italian couple that sold me the car had it checked by a mechanic in the city and because it failed in some points didn’t get the RWC.

In such cases the car has to be repaired and presented again to the mechanic that did the initial roadworthy check. He’ll check it again free of charge and either issue a RWC if everything has been fixed or point out the damages that are still in need of repair.

This is the story of my cars RWC:

Thursday 21st: I bought the car knowing that the RWC will cost me around $600. After buying the car I talked to Fred from the car rental to get a recommendation for a mechanic that works for cash. He named the one that also services their cars. In the afternoon I went to see him, showed him the paper that lists the necessary repairs for the RWC  and he quoted me $500 to $550 for the repairs. “How much if I pay cash?” I asked. “$450” he answered. I agreed and he told me to bring the car around on Monday.

Monday 25th: In the morning I drop of the car at the mechanic and in the afternoon I pick it up and drive straight to the mechanic that did the roadworthy check. He was too busy that day and asked me to bring the car around the next day.

Tuesday 26th: I drop the car of in the morning and come back in the afternoon to pick it up. “We have a bit of a problem here.” I was told. “Your mechanic repaired the wrong part of the car.”. “WTF” I think and say. Apparently the radius arms on the front wheels were repaired but those on the rear wheels needed to be repaired.

Later the same day I drive the car back to the mechanic to bring him the bad news. He tells me he thought the mechanic that did the RWC made a mistake. While the radius arms on the rear wheels weren’t in best shape, those on the front wheels were in an even worse condition. He offers to make the repair on the rear wheels free of charge, I just have to pay for the parts.

Wednesday 27th: The car goes to the mechanic again and in the afternoon I pick it up and pay $80 for the parts.

Thursday 28th: In the afternoon I drop the car of at the RWC mechanic so he can check it Friday morning.

Friday 29th: Around noon I get a call: “Your car is roadworthy!”. Yayh!

Besides the repairs I also had to replace two tires. I got some second hand ones that are still good for a couple thousand kilometers. All in all this is what I paid:

$450 for repairs
$120 for oil change, oil filter and a second hand tire
$80 for more repairs
$65 for another second hand tire

$715 in total, not too bad, I’m quite happy with that.

From what I’ve learned a RWC isn’t worth as much as I thought. The list of necessary repairs seems to depend on the mechanics mood and people told me that two different mechanics usually find fault in different parts of the car. It’s quite common to see two or three mechanics and have the car repaired by the cheapest one. Yikes!

Later today I got the insurance I need to register my car as well. The so called “Third Party Compulsory Insurance” or “CTP” is mandatory to register a car and covers all damage that is caused to persons in the cause of an accident. Unlike in Germany this insurance doesn’t cover damage to third party property. An additional insurance is required for that and I got it as well. The CTP is $130 for 6 months and the additional cover is $17 per month.

Now I got everything (hopefully) to get my car registered. Usually when a car is sold, the registration is transferred to the buyer. In my case that is not possible as the Italians never transferred the cars registration to their name. The last two months they’ve been driving around in a car that is still registered to a backpacker from Germany who sold them the car in late August.

Because of that the registration can’t be transferred to my name. I have to let the registration run out on the 6th of November and then can get a new registration in my name on the 7th. That also means that I have to be in Cairns on the 7th as I don’t want to end up somewhere between Cairns and Brisbane in a car that has no registration. If something goes wrong I want to be in a city where I know my way around.

Hiroko and I both finish our jobs on the 31st and between the 1st of November and the 6th we plan to travel up to Cooktown and Cape Tribulation. See how the car runs, if the equipment is in good shape and how the two of us get along when we see each other every day instead of two days a week.

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