Top Tips for Trailer Safety Certificates

All trailers have an ATM or Aggregate Trailer Mass.

The ATM is measured from the weight of a trailer loaded to its full capacity recommended by the manufacturer without being coupling to a vehicle.

You can find the ATM of the trailer on the Compliance Plate on the Chassis of the trailer and also on the registration papers for the

Safety Certificate’s for Trailers (boat trailers, horse floats and caravans) are divided into two categories.

  • Light Trailers ATM between 0.75 Tonne – 3.5 Tonne
  • Heavy Trailers or Semi Trailers ATM over 3.5 Tonne


Trailers with an ATM under 0.75 Tonne do not require a Safety Certificate.

Trailer lights

Some of the most common failures on trailers

One of the most common failures on a trailer when it comes to a Safety Certificate Inspection is lights and electrical components. Due to the exposure to the elements, salt water in particular for boat trailers and road debris damaging them due to being so close to the road surface when travelling.

There is wide variety of trailer lights on the market. Be sure to do your research that they comply with the Australian Standards. Some of the LED lights that are being imported from China are not compliant and best to ask the question when purchasing.

Camper trailers are usually taken across harsh climates due to the rough terrain they seem to be a lot more versatile in how they handle on the outback roads.

Due to the dust and bumpy conditions it is imperative to keep up with trailer maintenance on a regular basis.


Safety-Roadworthy -Inspection

What will fail the Roadworthy inspection?

A Safety Certificate is required when selling a registered trailer. A trailer will fail an inspection for its electrical components if the following is present.

  • Are not clearly visible, affected by dirty lenses or poor electrical contact
  • Lenses are not mounted securely, cracked, holes, faded, discoloured or any other damage that allows dirt or moisture into the lens.
  • The number plate light directs light on other surfaces other than the number plate
  • The reverse light does not operate when the towing vehicle is engaged in reverse (if fitted with these lights)

These rules are applicable to any of the following lights.

  • Park or side lights
  • Brake Lights (on hand and foot control
  • Tail Lights
  • Turn signal indicator lights
  • Clearance/Side Marker Lights (if fitted)
  • Number plate Light
  • Reversing Light (if fitted)
  • Additional lights (if fitted)

Take care in adding additional lights to a trailer because if they obstruct the statutory lighting then it will also cause a rejection for the Safety Certificate.

Wiring harnesses need to be stowed in a securely mounted position and insulated. Exposure to heat or chafing will cause danger to the operation of the vehicle and will not pass a Safety Certificate Inspection.

Additional Tips:

  • All doors, hatches and removable covers need to be securely fitted and operational.
  • All door handles, catches and hinges need to be operation and free from corrosion and not cracked/broken.

Note: There are other categories that are required to pass the minimum Safety Standards as per the Department of Queensland Transport and Main Roads Code of Practice.

This article is only highlighting the most common faults.

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