Vehicle Defect ​Orders

An authorised officer can stop you for a random roadside inspection if you are driving a motor vehicle or   motorbike. There are vehicle standards in Fiji which all vehicles must comply with which define a set of rules which ensures that vehicles operating on the road are ‘safe’. If an officer suspect (or identify that) your vehicle doesn’t comply with these rules, then they can issue a defect notice.

Defect orders under Vehicle Registration and Construction Regulation 106 

(1) If an authorised officer or authorised inspector employed by the Authority, after inspecting a vehicle, is satisfied that the vehicle has a defect or defects which could adversely affect the safety or emission control of the vehicle, he or she may issue a defect order subject to conditions to be included in the order.

(2) If an authorised officer or an inspector is of the opinion that the defect or defects are such that the vehicle is unfit for safe use or protection of the environment, the police officer, authorised officer or inspector must issue a defect order directing the driver or owner or person in charge of the vehicle to—

(a) Discontinue the use of the vehicle within 24 hours subject to any condition
included in the order; or

(b) Discontinue the use of the vehicle immediately and make arrangements for it
to be towed to a place of repair.

(3) If a police officer, authorised officer or inspector is of the opinion that the defect or
defects do not render the vehicle unfit for safe use or protection of the environment, the police officer, authorised officer or inspector must issue a defect order directing that the defect or defects be rectified within 14 days.

(4) A person must not use or permit the use of a vehicle in respect of which a defect order
is in force, in breach of any of the conditions included in the order, except, with the permission of a police officer or authorised officer or inspector, in order to move the vehicle to and from the place of inspection nominated in the order.

(5) When a defect order has been issued, the driver of the vehicle must be given a copy
and a defect label referring to the defect order must be attached to the windscreen, in the case of a motor vehicle, and in a prominent position in the case of a motor cycle.

(6) No person other than a police officer, authorised officer or inspector may remove
from a vehicle a defect label issued under sub-regulation (5).

(7) A defect order remains in force until the defect label has been removed by a police
officer, or authorised officer or inspector.

A defect order may specify conditions

(a) As to the route to be taken, the maximum speeds or any hours of operation to
be observed by the driver of the vehicle until the defects specified in the order
are corrected in accordance with the order; and

(b) For the inspection of the vehicle after repair and the time by which this must
be undertaken.

What is a defect notice?

A defect notice is not a fine. It is a notice requiring you, as the owner of a vehicle, to have your vehicle repaired to make it safe to drive.

What is a safety defect?

A defect includes “any defect in performance, construction, a component, or material of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment.” Generally, a safety defect is defined as a problem that exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment that: poses a risk to motor vehicle safety and emission.

What does a defective motor vehicle mean?

A vehicle issued with a Defect Notice must not be used on a road or road related area, after the time and date specified on the Defect Notice, and its further movement to another location may be restricted in accordance with terms specified on the Defect Notice

A vehicle defect notice isn’t a fine, although a fine might be issued to you for other reasons. It’s a notice to say that you can’t drive the vehicle until it has been checked and repaired to make it safe to drive. If it’s a minor defect, then you may be allowed to drive it for a certain period of time and to a certain destination to allow you to get it fixed. However, if it’s a dangerous defect then it may be ordered off the road with a condition and must be towed away rather than driven.

The details of the defects will be noted on the form, e.g. worn tyres, cut springs, noisy exhaust, and the form indicates where you must take it to have it checked, e.g. Authorised Inspection Station, and whether it needs a full or part inspection.

The defect must be cleared within 14 days from the end of the period the vehicle is allowed to be driven. You can apply for a time extension if it’s not possible to repair the vehicle in the specified time, or you can suspend the registration.

Once you’ve had your vehicle fixed you must present the form back to the officer or inspector who issued the defect notice.

There are two classes for a defect notice:

Minor Defect

Where further use of the vehicle on public streets after the time stated in the notice may constitute a safety risk.

Major Defect

Where further use of the vehicle on public streets after the time stated in the notice would constitute an imminent and serious safety risk.

A multi-use form covers both classes of defect notice along with provision to issue a formal warning (for minor defects where official follow up is not warranted). It also allows a major defect that prohibits further use of the vehicle (ie. the vehicle must be fixed on site, or be towed or carried from the place of inspection).

When a vehicle has been issued a major defect notice, a defective vehicle label is also issued and affixed to the vehicle.

All defect notices issued by authorised officer and Authorised Inspectors are forwarded to Registration and Licensing Services for processing.  Details of all defect notices (not formal warnings) are entered against the vehicle's registration record on the LTA soft System.

When a defect notice has been recorded, the vehicle will have a defect status of "MINOR" or "MAJOR". A vehicle with a defect status of "MINOR" or "MAJOR" cannot be renewed or transferred. But vehicle with accidents must accompany accident report from Fiji Police while Vehicle, expired CORW must have letter with reasons of transfer, also accompany VEO report. 

A defect notice will specify: the class of defect issued; a date and time after which the vehicle may not be used, unless the defects have been rectified and any inspection requirements have been complied with; conditions such as the route to be taken, maximum speeds, or hours of operation to be observed during that time (if applicable). A public passenger vehicle may be prohibited from carrying passengers for reward until the notice has been cleared, and in the case of a hire or rental vehicle, may prohibit the hiring out of the vehicle. that the registered operator, or representative, has 14 days within which to forward the cleared defect notice; how the defect notice must be cleared; All defect notices (apart from formal warnings) require clearance by the time, date and method specified in the notice. A clearance through Inspection Station a fee would be charged, for other class vehicles $13.75 and PSV $26.05.

When Registration and Licensing Services are advised that a defect notice has been cleared with fee paid, the registration record will be annotated accordingly and the defect status removed from the LTA soft System. Follow up action will be taken if the defect notice is not cleared within the specified time.

If a defect notice is not cleared within the specified 14 days:

If the defect notice is not complied with, within the 14 days, the registered operator shall by a letter advice LTA with reasons for failure comply with the notice.

If the defect notice is not being complied with, and the vehicle found to be operating on the road is an offense and you could be issue with a TIN,

Contrary to Regulation 106 (4) and 122 of Land Transport (Vehicle Registration and Construction) Regulation 2000, for permitting or driving a motor vehicle in respect of which a defect order is in force and failed to comply with the condition included in the order namely rectification of defect within 14 days.  Fixed Penalty $50.00n Or                              

Contrary to Regulation 106 (6) and 122 of Land Transport (Vehicle Registration and Construction) Regulation 2000, for removing the defect label from windscreen of a motor vehicle other than Police officer or Authorised Inspector. Fixed Penalty $25.00       

Defect Notice Classification

Dangerous Defects

The following items are usually sufficient, by themselves, to warrant the issue of a Dangerous (D) defect notice. It should be remembered that this is not a cumulative effect of several; less serious defects can be grounds for issue of such notices.


  • Any brake system that does not fully meet the regulation performance requirements.
  • Extremely poor performance is grounds for issue of a Defect
  • Any hydraulic brake fluid leakage is evident or air pressure or vacuum leakage occurs beyond specified limits (major leaks are grounds for issue of D notice).
  • Any brake system on any wheel is maladjusted or ineffective
  • Any brake component is worn or damaged to a state of structural risking breakage of full application.
  • Any brake actuating chamber or cylinder has been rendered inoperative

Heavy Vehicle Air Brake System

  • Inoperative or grossly defective compressor
  • In the case of dual circuit systems, both sub-circuits deplete when a drain on one of the dub-circuits is opened (i.e. faulty security brake system)
  • Inoperative tractor protection valve
  • Inoperative trailer break-away system

Steering, Suspension, Wheels and Tyres

  • Any steering component or fastening is broken, missing or worn to an extent that structural weakness or gross insecurity is evident.
  • Any axle locating rod or leaf spring is cracked or broken.
  • Any other suspension component or fastening is broken, missing or worn to an extent that structural weakness or gross insecurity is evident.
  • Any road wheel fixing stud, screw or nut is broken, missing or insecure.
  • Cracked or severely deteriorated wheels.
  • “Bald” tyres or tyres with severe carcass damage.

Under Body, Chassis and Power Train

  • Leakage of engine or exhaust fumes into the driver’s or passenger’s compartment is evident.
  • Anybody structural member has been broken, seriously weakened or badly corroded and is in danger of collapse, in service.
  • Any structural chassis member or cross member is missing, cracked, broken or insecure.
  • Where any power train fault is evident that clearly risks the vehicle’s ability to reliably complete its journey.
  • Where any petrol leakage is evident. If diesel fuel is leaking to the extent that is sprayed into the air or would run or drip onto the roadway or accumulate in any recess.

Bodywork and Interior

  • Where danger exists to vehicle occupants, pedestrians or other road users due to faults such as protruding sharp edges or badly corroded body panels.
  • Any floor panel loose, missing or badly corroded
  • Any seat is grossly insecure
  • Any seat-belt is inoperative, missing of inaccessible
  • Any door hinge or lock is insecure or inoperative
  • Severely loose cracked or insecure turn-table, semi-trailer kingpin or tow coupling component.


  • All headlamps are inoperative or low beam
  • All rear lamps are inoperative
  • All tail lamps are inoperative

LPG Fueled Vehicles

  • Blocked LPG discharge pipes
  • Severely deteriorated or torn gaskets on the LPG sub compartment
  • No vent line for sub compartment
  • Externally mounted pressure vessel with insufficient clearances
  • Advanced corrosion of pressure vessel or mounting brackets
  • Relief valve outlets directed onto the exhaust system
  • LPG gas leakage

Checking for Rust

What is Rust?

Most car metallic components, especially the pars that are directly exposed to the environment, are subject to rust. Rust is a chemical reaction resulting in the oxidation of metal and formation of brittle or powdery metal oxide. Since oxidation is a gradual process, there are different levels or degrees of rust in a vehicle.

Rust affects the integrity and strength of panel or areas affected.  However, not all components on a vehicle have the same severity in down grading the safety of the vehicle.  Therefore, it is essential to assess the level of rust and the area or component affected before a sensible decision can be taken to accept or reject a vehicle for registration.

Levels of Rust

Extent or levels of rust may, for convenience, be divided into three categories.

Surface Rust

This is the initial stage of rusting and it can be detected on steel panels as a fine coating of reddish oxide covering metal surfaces especially where the paint has flaked or peeled off. It may also appear as tiny bubbles or blisters spread under the paint layer.

This stage of rust by itself in not a cause of defect.  However, action is recommended to clean the area and to take measures to prevent further spreading of rust.

Advanced Rust

This is the second stage of rusting and is more serious to the safety of a vehicle especially if structural or safety related components are affected.  This level if rust can be observed as starting to penetrate the metal surface (erosion) and mere surface cleaning does not remove the evidence.  The rust can also be exhibited in the form of blistering or pitting under the paint layer.

This stage of rust is advanced and needs immediate attention. However, a vehicle that is afflicted with this level of rust should be defected only if the rust is in a structural component or a part that is likely to weaken the structure of the vehicle or affect its safe control.  Examples of structural parts for this purpose are; sub-frame and chassis rails, suspension mountings and parts, door sills, pillars and hinges, seat and seat belt anchorage parts.

Extensive Rust

This is an advances stage of rust and its detection is more obvious in that the rust would have caused penetration though the metal skin or penetration in the order of 2 mm in other solid parts.  This level of rust weakness structural components which may lead to failure or unsafe operation of the vehicle.  Even for non-structural components this level of rust is unsightly and is an indication of the poor state of maintenance of the vehicle.

Care should be taken when inspecting structural parts of a vehicle to detect this type of extensive rust when covered by putty fill repairs.  Such repairs do not restore the structural strength.

The level of rust is objectionable and is a cause for detecting a vehicle.