AA Car Care: Five things to check before Warrant of Fitness time
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A staggering number of vehicles in New Zealand fail their Warrant of Fitness inspection first time around. In July this year, 442,777 WoF inspections were carried out and 182,981 failed (approximately 41 per cent).
The majority of these failures come down to simple defects that could easily be checked and fixed before the car was presented.
The most failed category was lights, followed by steering/suspension, with tyres, brakes, and wipers rounding out the top five.
Here’s what you can do to increase the chances of a pass for the next inspection.
Check that all your lights are operating correctly. You may need a volunteer for the rear lights, or you could even back up close to a mirror or wall. Walk around the outside of the car and check all lenses are clean and free from cracks and moisture.
Steering and suspension
This one’s not as easy to fix at home, but there could be signs something is wrong that you need to follow up on and get checked.
Extra knocking noises, thumps, or an unsettled feeling over bumps are telltale signs that something could be amiss. Other indicators: the steering wheel is not straight or hard to turn, leaking fluid or a warning light on the dash.
Be sure to visually check all four tyres. Also check the spare (if applicable) and ensure that it’s secure.
Use a 20-cent coin to check the tread on your tyres. Place the coin into the tread with the “20” facing you – the bottom of the number is approximately 2mm from the edge of the coin, meaning if you can see the whole number, your tyre is around the legal threshold and you should get it replaced.
Check the general condition of the tyres for unusual wear patterns and damage. Check tyre pressures and inflate if low - this will also make the car feel much better to drive.
Are you hearing squealing sounds when you drive, but they stop when you brake?
Some brake pads have warning indicators in the form of metal strips that are set to a depth where they’ll rub against the disc when the pads reach the minimum serviceable thickness. This is to alert the driver that the brake material may be low. The rubbing noise of the wear indicator is normally most evident when the brakes aren’t applied, and the noise may reduce during braking.
Another common sign that you may need a repair is if your brake fluid level is low, or you’re needing to top it up regularly. Brakes are a critical safety item - don’t delay!
Check both front and rear wipers, as well as the washer nozzle (it can sometimes become fully or partially blocked). Fill the washer reservoir with solution and top up with water if necessary.
Make sure you check the windscreen for any chips or cracks, and also clean all glass (including mirrors).
Keep your old WoF sheets handy
Remind yourself of any warnings or notes that were on the last WoF check sheet. If it’s been a year since the last check, they could fail this time around if the issues haven’t already been addressed. Common notes can be tyre tread depth, or brakes getting low and may need replacing before next WoF inspection - but may pass on the day of inspection.
How the AA can help
Were you granted a WoF extension due to COVID-19? Don’t wait until the 10 October deadline, avoid the queues and book today.
Drive up to an AA Vehicle Testing Station, or click here to book your WoF at an AA Auto Centre site.