South Australian motorists are now be eligible to have their vehicles professionally modified so they can carry and tow more weight, with the state government accepting a new testing regime that ensures the safety and integrity of upgrades before they hit the road.
The changes follow on from a 12 month ban on Gross Combined Mass (GCM) upgrades within the state. South Australia now stands among New South Wales, Victoria, ACT and Tassie in permitting these upgrades.
Western Australia will make a decision on whether they’ll adopt the new testing regime later in 2019. NT and Queensland are still lagging behind.
The new regulations relate to in-service vehicles, that is, vehicles which have already left the showroom floor. They will enable drivers to bring a lot more if not all of what they would like to, by freeing them from the tight confines of restrictive payload and GCMs.
They’ll also enable traditionally favoured touring vehicles, such as the Toyota LandCruiser or Nissan Patrol, to compete against American pick-ups that by default have larger payload and GCM figures.
General Manager of Lovells, Mike Davison, says that the new regulations require a Second Stage Manufacturer, such as Lovells, to undertake the modifications, and for a qualified automotive engineer to then inspect and sign off on them.
“The usable payload and factory GCM of most 4X4 vehicles today is minimal,” Mr Davison said.
“The addition of basic optional accessories and equipment, plus two or three adult occupants will bring the vehicle close to its legal maximum weight capacities.
“Add long range fuel tanks, bull bars, a winch, side steps, roof racks, recovery gear, a payload of camping equipment or tool boxes, or an industrial style custom body, and the vehicle may exceed its legal capacities, which include axles, GVM and GCM.”
“That’s even before you add the caravan or trailer, where ball weights and towing capacities are easily exceeded.
“Without an increase in legal towing capacities, many people towing caravans or trailers have been unknowingly breaking the law and voiding their insurance.
“We know that the community needs greater towing capacities and revised Gross Combination Mass on vehicles which have the capabilities, and we have fought for 12 months to reinstate these upgrades.
“We hope the WA Government accepts that towing and GCM upgrades can be done safely, and that the WA caravanning and towing public can once again drive safely and legally on the roads of Western Australia.”