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Trailer & Tow vehicle specifications explained

Much of the information required for the selection process will be readily available. However some of the trailer specifications may not be easily found, in which case it may be necessary to have the fully loaded trailer weighed.

Failure to abide by the towing regulations, including maximum loads, may result in a fine, or in the case of an accident, refusal of the insurance claim, and the possibility of further legal action.

The following information deals with the information you will need to choose an appropriate vehicle / trailer combination, and where to find it.

Building small trailers information for manufacturers and summarized construction requirements for trailers less than 4.5 tonnes aggregate trailer mass.

Vehicle Standards Bulletin

The maximum weight of a trailer is specified as either its Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) or Gross Trailer Mass (GTM).

ATM is the combined weight of the trailer and its full load when it is not coupled to a tow vehicle.  GTM is the weight of the fully loaded trailer that is imposed on the trailer’s axle when it is coupled to the tow vehicle. GTM will always be less than ATM as some of the trailer weight is transferred to the tow vehicle when the trailer is coupled to it.

All new trailers built since August 1989 are required to have a plate listing, amongst other things, the trailers Aggregate Trailer Mass, although some trailer plates will also show its Tare Weight (the unladen weight of the trailer) and its GTM.

You must ensure the towing vehicle has sufficient capacity to tow the trailer when it is fully laden.

Aspinall Trailers is certified to issue Certificates of Inspection (Road Worthy),  Measuring Inspection and documentation on trailers.

In November 1999, the safety certificate replaced the roadworthy certificate. A safety certificate covers basic things that could affect the safe operation of the trailer, such as:

  • tyres
  • brakes
  • suspension
  • body rust or damage
  • lights
  • Correct manufacturing of the trailer according to the Australian Design Rules (ADR's)
  • Manufactures Plate attached to the trailer

The safety certificate is designed to offer buyers better protection. A trailer with a safety certificate has undergone a safety inspection before being offered for sale, so buyers can be sure the trailer is safe to drive. This means there will be fewer unsafe trailers on Queensland roads, reducing the likelihood of crashes caused by defective trailers.

What trailer must have a safety certificate?

In Queensland you must obtain and display a safety certificate on any registered caravans and trailers 0.75–3.5 tonnes (t) aggregate trailer mass (ATM)

When can trailers be sold without a safety certificate?

The only time trailers do not require a safety certificate is when they have the carry capacity under 750Kg.

Who issues safety certificates?

Safety certificates can only be issued by approved inspection stations. These are service stations, garages or workshops which have been approved by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to conduct inspections.

Does this apply all over Queensland?

You need a safety certificate to sell used trailers in most parts of Queensland. Some rural and remote areas are exempt. Phone the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 23 80b for more information.

How long are safety certificates current for?

Make sure certificates are current.

Safety certificates may be used for one new registration or transfer of registration provided they are within the two months. A new safety certificate is required each time you sell the trailer even if it is within the two months. A single safety certificate cannot be used for two transfers.

What are the safety certificate conditions of use?

A safety certificate cannot be used for more than one transfer. This means if you are selling a used trailer and have obtained a safety certificate for this trailer, the person who buys this trailer cannot then use this certificate if they sell the trailer. Also, the safety certificate cannot contain any alterations.

Displaying safety certificates

Safety certificates must be displayed in a very obvious place, for example:

  • motorbike — front forks or guard
  • car — windscreen or window
  • trailer — draw-bar.

If you fail to display a safety certificate on the trailer from the moment you offer it for sale you may receive an on-the-spot fine of A$500.

Vehicle registration transfer

Download a Vehicle Registration Transfer Application form (F3520).

Aspinall Trailers Warranty Policy

Our liability for trailers of our own manufacture is limited to making good any defects by repairing the same or, at our option, by replacement within a period not exceeding twelve (12) calendar months after the trailer has been sold by our factory/dealer for the first time.



Aspinall Trailers warranty require that:

1. This warranty is non-transferable and is limited to defects in workmanship performed by Aspinall Trailers only. In the case of bought items, the supplier’s warranty shall be covered by OEM (Tyres, Wheels, Axles, Coupling, Jockey Wheel etc)

2. The trailer must not have been altered or operated outside the limits of the design specifications.

3. The trailer has not been damaged by neglect, accident, improper use or used for competitive purposes.

4. The warranty does not cover any consequential expenses beyond the warranty repair of the trailer itself - eg. Freight.

5. Aspinall Trailers shall not be liable for consequential loss of any kind arising out of the supply or operation of the trailer.

6. Paint is warranted against defective paint or application, NOT against the normal effect of rust, oxidization and degradation caused by fuel and dissimilar metals.

7. Oxidization and rust has the potential to bubble paint surface finish. Surface contaminates could cause oxidization if not removed from the trailer.

8. Any work agreed to be repaired by Aspinall Trailers will be done in-house at our premises at 157 Boniface Street, Coopers Plains Qld 4108. Any and all costs associated with transporting the trailer to and from the factory will be the purchaser’s responsibility.

9. The warranty does not cover items replaced during normal service and maintenance operations and which are subject to wear. These arrangements apply regardless of any change in ownership during the warranty period.

10. Subject to item 8, the above warranty is in lieu of any and all warranties expressed or implied, conferred by statute or otherwise and is the only warranty given by Aspinall Trailers on the trailer or any part thereof. Any warranties under the Sale of Goods Act are expressly excluded.

11. All warranties and condition implied under the Trade Practices Act, including as to one of merchantable quality, are not excluded by this warranty except that Aspinall Trailers limits it’s liability for breach to:

a. The replacement of the trailer or products; or

b. The repair of the trailer or products, at Aspinall Trailer’s election with all freighting costs to be the purchaser’s responsibility.