About your vehicle

Heavy vehicle requirements

To drive your heavy vehicle safely and legally on the road, it must have the right equipment (in good working order) and have a current certificate of fitness (CoF). This section explains what your vehicle must have.

Certificate of fitness (CoF)

Vehicles that require a CoF are:

  • vehicles with a gross vehicle mass of more than 3500kg, and
  • vehicles that operate under a transport service licence, regardless of their weight.

A current CoF shows the vehicle has been inspected by an approved CoF inspector and was roadworthy at the time of the last CoF inspection.

Certificate of fitness label

Certificate of fitness label

The CoF label is attached to the inside of the windscreen, on the driver's side, and must be clearly visible from outside the vehicle.

The CoF inspector will give you a copy of the check sheet. This is a receipt of payment for the inspection and is not a certificate of fitness. If your vehicle failed its CoF inspection, the receipt gives you 28 days to have the vehicle fixed and brought back for re-inspection. During that time, you are only allowed to drive the vehicle to get it repaired and re-inspected.


In addition to the CoF, the vehicle must display a current licence label, a road user charges (RUC) licence if required and a number plate on the front and back that can be clearly seen. For more information about these requirements, see Ownership responsibilities.

How long is a CoF valid for?

A CoF is usually issued for six months.

However, you should always check the expiry date on the CoF label. This is because in some instances the Transport Agency may have authorised a vehicle to be issued with a CoF for as little as three months or as much as 12 months.

Features your heavy vehicle must have

To meet the CoF standard, your vehicle must be in good condition (no rust around safety areas) and it must have the following equipment in good working order:

  • A number plate light at the back.
  • Two red reflectors at the back.
  • Two red position lights at the back.
  • A working horn.
  • A current CoF.
  • Inside and outside rear-view mirrors that give a clear view behind.
  • A good sun visor.
  • A windscreen that meets safety standards and is clean.
  • One or more working windscreen wipers.
  • A working speedometer.
  • Two good headlights that can be dipped when another vehicle comes towards you.
  • Two red stop lights at the back.
  • Flashing direction indicator lights at the back and side of the vehicle.
  • A good silencer and exhaust system.
  • Mudguards.
  • Safe tyres - the tread depth must be at least 1.5 millimetres right around the tyre.
  • A good footbrake and handbrake.
  • Doors that open and close safely.
  • Safe steering.
  • Flashing direction indicator lights at the front.
  • Two white or amber position lights at the front.


You can be fined if you drive any vehicle that is not up to CoF standard on a road. A police officer can require you to stop for a roadside vehicle check at any time.

Safety belts

Not all heavy vehicles are required to be fitted with safety belts. However, if your vehicle does have safety belts, you must use them. For more information, see Safety belts and child restraints.

Where safety belts are fitted, they must be in good condition. You should have safety belts checked immediately if:

  • the buckles are not working properly
  • the belt is damaged or faded
  • the belt starts to fray.

They may need replacing.

Legal requirements for safety belts have changed over the years and are different depending on the age and type of vehicle. The type of belt has also changed from static belts to retractor belts.


At the start of each day, always do a walk-around check of your vehicle. For more information see Safe driving practices.

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Last updated: 26 January 2016