Preparing a light trailer or light caravan for inspection
The information in this guide is aimed at assisting you to prepare your trailer for a pre-registration inspection.
A pre-registration inspection is required if you have, or are buying, a trailer that:
NOTE: Unless stated otherwise, the information contained in this guide applies equally to both trailers and caravans
If you are after technical information for the construction of new trailers, please refer to the National Code of Practice for building small trailers also known as Vehicle Standard Bulletin 1 or VSB1.
Glossary of terms
Australian Design Rules
ADRs are standards for the safety, anti-theft and emissions of vehicles.
Approved Inspection Station
A business that has been approved to inspect motor vehicles and trailers, to ensure they meet the minimum roadworthy requirements.
Aggregate Trailer Mass
The total mass of the trailer when carrying the maximum load recommended by the manufacturer, including the mass being transferred to the ground through the wheels and the mass imposed on the towing vehicle.
An enclosed trailer, which is intended for use as a mobile home or living quarters when parked.
Gross Trailer Mass
The mass of a trailer being transmitted to the ground through the road wheels when carrying the maximum load recommended by the manufacturer.
Vehicle Identification Number
A decodable combination of 17 alphanumeric digits used to identify a vehicle.
The primary identification number for a trailer may be either a chassis number or a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). A number plate is not a primary identification number however it can be used to assist with the identification process where required.
If the trailer was built before 1989 it should have a chassis number as its identification number.
If the trailer was built after 1989: it will have a 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Both chassis numbers and VINs must be permanently affixed to a substantial part of the trailer (generally on the drawbar).
For an identification number to be considered permanently affixed, the VIN or Chassis number must be either:
New trailers also require a trailer plate (also known as a compliance plate). The trailer plate contains important information about the trailer including the ATM
It is a legal requirement to have an identification number permanently affixed to a trailer.
Note: Identification numbers are not transferable between other trailers or motor vehicles. It is an offence to dishonestly obtain or attempt to obtain registration or alter or deface an identification number.
A trailer will require an inspection:
Inspections may also be necessary in other circumstances, including if the trailer is the subject of an investigation.
Number or registration plates must be affixed to the rear of a registered trailer, they cannot be affixed to a temporary light board.
Number plates must only be affixed to the rear of the trailer they are issued to. Penalties can apply if a trailer is found to have a number plate affixed that was not issued to that trailer.
If you have purchased a trailer and the number plate does not match the registration documentation you will need to surrender the number plates at Service Tasmania and re-register the trailer.
If you need to remove the number plate for repairs or painting, the number plate must be presented with the trailer when having a pre-registration inspection. Even though number plates are not a primary form of identification, they can still assist when other forms of identification may not be available.
In most cases, we are still able to register your trailer even without the identification described above however additional information will be required.
In this situation you will need to provide the AIS with:
In some cases we may also need:
If this information cannot confirm the trailer’s identity you may be requested to present the trailer for an identity inspection performed by Transport Safety and Investigation Officers. This is a free service, the AIS inspecting your trailer will advise you on how to arrange these inspections.
The table below shows some of the requirements for various trailer parts that are inspected as part of a pre-registration inspection.
The requirements for trailer parts are determined by the Australian Design Rules (ADRS).
Using this guide can assist you to prepare your trailer for a pre-registration inspection.
If you notice any issues with these components, you should have them repaired or replaced before presenting the trailer for a pre-registration inspection.
If you require more technical information relating to building a new trailer, please refer to the Building small trailers document (VSB1).
Please note this guide is not an exhaustive list of every requirement and is a general guide only.
Must meet either option 1 or option 2
A coupling manufactured to Australian Standards must be marked with specific information including:
European style couplings that are marked in accordance with ECE R 55 must be marked with:
6.4 or more
14 or more
20 or more
All couplings must have an operating secondary locking mechanism to make sure they stay connected while you are on the move.
Examples of these are:
Make sure safety chains are permanently fixed to the drawbar of the trailer.
The chain should be fixed to prevent the chain mounting point from hitting the ground if the trailer is dislodged from the vehicle.
Also check that safety chains are not worn, stretched or cracked.
There are different braking requirements depending on the trailer’s GTM.
For a trailer with a GTM above 2000kg the braking system must apply the trailers brakes for at least 15 minutes in the event the trailer becomes detached from the towing motor vehicle.
Lights must be fitted to the rear of the trailer and be in working condition.
Trailer light boards are to only be used to supplement existing trailer lights.
Lights that are required on the rear:
Side marker lights
Must meet either option 1 or option 2
Trailers more than 6000 mm in length:
Trailers more than 2100 mm in width or 7500 mm in length.
The following table sets the requirements that must be followed in regards to the placement of reflectors.
(may be incorporated in the lights)
Triangular or non-triangular
At least 1 on each side
Check that tyres:
Check that wheels are secure, with:
Check that rims are not:
Check that suspension…
Check that :
Can be a maximum of 8.5 metres from the centre line of the axle group or single axle of the trailer Ensure the drawbar is fit for purpose and its mounting points are not cracked, loose, bent or deformed.
Before taking your trailer for an inspection you should: