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Standard fact sheet.

Accessories and minor repairs guidelines 

The quality and competency of repair work done on a motor vehicle can have serious repercussions in terms of consumer and public safety. For this reason, the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 sets minimum Certificate III level qualifications for tradespeople who conduct motor vehicle repair work in order to ensure that the work is conducted with the necessary due care and skill.

However, it is also recognised that work involving accessory fitting or minor work of a low risk nature may not affect the safety of a motor vehicle and could be completed by a person who does not hold a tradesperson’s certificate.

This document provides guidance on the applicable laws and clarifies what kinds of work are not repair work.

NSW Fair Trading is providing this information to help tradespeople understand the exemptions, but it is not intended to be an exhaustive list.

Motor dealers and repairers Act and Regulation 

The Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 is the primary law regulating the motor industry in NSW.

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Repairer’s licence 

Section 12 of the Act provides that a person must not carry on, or advertise that the person carries on or is willing to carry on, the business of a motor vehicle repairer unless they hold a repairer’s licence. A motor vehicle repairer means a person who carries on the business of carrying out repair work on motor vehicles.

The Motor Dealers and Repairers Regulation 2014 states that certain work is not repair work. If your business only involves the carrying  out of work that is not repair work, you are not be required to hold a repairer’s licence. For example, if your business only involves installing or replacing batteries in a manner that does not affect the mechanical operation or structure of the vehicle, or the vehicle’s safety features, you are not required to hold a repairer’s licence.

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Tradesperson’s certificate 

Section 16 of the Act prohibits a person from carrying out motor vehicle repair work unless that person holds a tradesperson’s certificate. In order to obtain a tradesperson’s certificate, a person must have a prescribed Certificate Level III qualification for the relevant class of repair work.

Similarly to above, a tradesperson’s certificate is not required if the only work performed by a person is work that this not repair work. For example, if the work you are performing is only the repair and restoration of headlights that does not affect the mechanical operation or structure of the vehicle or the vehicle’s safety features you are not required to hold a tradesperson’s certificate.

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Accessory fitting 

The replacement or installation of an accessory that does not alter the performance, handling or safety of the vehicle is not repair work if it was replaced or installed for one or more of the following purposes:

  • cosmetic customisation of the vehicle
  • providing enhanced entertainment options
  • informing the driver of vehicle functions or performance
  • assisting the driver in navigation or communication
  • equipping the vehicle for occupational tasks.

The replacement or installation of the following accessories are examples of work that are not repair work:

  • bonnet protectors
  • light globes
  • head light protectors
  • jerry can carriers
  • luggage and Roof Racks
  • protective awnings, car top tents, enclosures, canopies
  • side steps, rails and boards
  • skirts
  • sound systems and radios
  • spare wheel racks/carriers
  • spoilers
  • tow bars (bolted)
  • ute linings
  • vehicle detailing
  • water carriers – rack or body mounted
  • weather shields
  • wheels
  • wiper blades.

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Minor works and repairs 

Minor works or repairs that do not affect the mechanical operations of the vehicle, the structure of the vehicle or vehicle safety features such as impact sensors and airbags are not repair work.

In some circumstances, a consequence of performing minor work is the need to perform further repairs that are not minor and are therefore captured within the meaning of repair work under the Regulation. In these circumstances, the further repairs would need to be completed by a person holding the relevant tradesperson’s certificate. For example, the fitting of an additional spare wheel rack to the back of the vehicle may subsequently change the height of the vehicle and therefore require a suspension upgrade. The suspension upgrade work is still required to be performed by a person holding the relevant tradesperson’s certificate.

Examples of the types of work that would be covered by this exemption are as follows:

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Battery installation or replacement 

This applies only to the simple removal and/or replacement of vehicle batteries. Caution would need to be exercised if the replacement of the battery could have any impact on an on-board computer system.

Hybrid vehicles contain high-voltage systems which can deliver a potentially lethal shock. Work on batteries in those vehicles should only be undertaken by people with the appropriate qualifications and it is not considered to be low risk repair work.

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Wheel removal or replacement  

This would involve simple wheel replacement only and does not include tyre replacement or wheel alignment. It would not extend to wheel replacement that may require the disassembly of braking or suspension systems.

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Headlight repair and restoration 

This would include resurfacing and removing scratches and fading, as well as the application of a UV coating to protect from further deterioration.

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Repair of chips and minor scratches (including filling and repainting)  

This covers cleaning the surface of a vehicle and applying colour matched paint.  Caution would need to be exercised if this work could involve impact sensors.

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Paintless dent removal/repair 

High tensile levers or other equipment is used to ‘push’ the dent from the inside and massage the stretched metal back into its original shape without breaking the painted surface. This work must not involve drilling into reinforcing bibs or braces, nor the disassembly or reassembly of any part of the vehicle.

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Removing parts of a vehicle in preparation for repair work or for the assessment of damage to the vehicle 

Removing parts from a vehicle to enable the repair to be scoped and repaired. Caution would need to be exercised if this work could involve impact sensors and may need to be assessed by a qualified tradesperson.

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Cosmetic alloy wheel repair 

This would only cover cleaning, sanding, painting and curing.

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Bumper repair 

This would include removing grease, wax and grime from the bumper, and preparation and repainting. It may also involve heating the bumper for reshaping and filing, as well as using the heat/weld method to attach a plastic strap or rod to cracked areas. Caution would need to be exercised if this work could involve impact sensors and may need to be assessed by a qualified tradesperson.

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Paint preparation and colour matching 

This would cover basic preparation work on body panels and fittings, and masking and unmasking, but not spray painting. Matching and mixing the colour to be sprayed onto the vehicle but not completing the spray painting.

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