An alarming number of Queensland motorists are driving within un-roadworthy vehicles, a recent audit finds.

During a recent RACQ audit of safety certificates at their vehicle inspection centres, more than half of vehicles did not pass their first check.

Even more worrying is that 25 per cent of vehicles failed again on their second check or failed to return for follow ups all together.

Under Queensland law it is a requirement to pass a safety certificate inspection when a vehicle requires Queensland registration or when it is offered for sale, prior to transfer of registration.

The problem seems to be that once these tasks have been carried out, the maintenance of the vehicles slip.

RACQ’s Technical and Safety Policy executive manager Steve Spalding says the failure rate for safety certificates in Queensland is an ongoing problem.

“Safety certificate inspections focus on the necessary components to keep a vehicle in a safe and roadworthy condition,” he says.

Oil leaks, worn driveline joints, steering defects, worn tyres and brake problems were among the details noted in the audit, with lighting defects being the most common.

Mr Spalding says the ultimate responsibility is with the vehicle owner and supports random roadside checks made by Queensland Police.

He says motorists can help keep their vehicles safe, reliable and roadworthy with regular maintenance and early attention to developing problems, by checking lights and tyres every few weeks.

In the 2012-13 financial year, 46,003 defect notices were issued in Queensland. There were 835 and 67 infringements issued for driving or parking a defective vehicle and failing to display a safety certificate on a vehicle for sale, respectively.

The maximum penalty for driving or parking a defective vehicle on a road is currently $2200 and $6600 for not meeting the safety certificate requirement.