The ins and outs of New Zealand's WoF process
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When it’s time to get your annual Warrant of Fitness (WoF), it’s perfectly normal to feel slightly hesitant or uneasy and think “what might the vehicle inspector find?”.
The truth of the matter, however, is that theWoF inspections are designed to ensure vehicle safety, and all inspectors must follow a stringent set of rules.
Around 40 per cent of New Zealand cars fail aWoF inspection in the first instance, with the majority of these down to defects such as lights and wipers. Some problems you can fix yourself before the test, whereas others can often be dealt with at your regular scheduled vehicle service before your annualWoF inspection is due.
What does a Warrant of Fitness inspection cover?
The inspection is a general safety check. The aspects checked are set out in the NZTA vehicle inspection requirements manual (VIRM) and include:
- Tyre condition (including tread depth)
- Brake operation
- Structural condition (rust is not allowed in certain areas)
- Glazing (is your windscreen safe?)
- Windscreen washers and wipers
- Doors (do they open and close safely?)
- Safety belts (must not be damaged or overly faded; buckles must work properly)
- Airbags (if fitted)
- Speedometer (must be working)
- Steering and suspension (must be safe and secure)
- Exhaust (there must be no leaks and the exhaust must not be smoky or louder than the original exhaust system)
- Fuel system (no leaks)
- If you’ve modified your car, motorcycle, van or other light vehicle, you may need a low volume vehicle certificate (mod cert)
What a Warrant of Fitness doesn’t cover
A WoF doesn’t dig deep into a vehicle’s condition. For example, it doesn’t check items such as the engine, clutch, gearbox and differential condition, lubricant levels, brake pad thickness or life expectancy (unless they are visibly below safe limits), paintwork condition and rust in non-structural areas.
AA members are entitled to two AA 10-Point Checks on their vehicles each year, which are basic health checks conducted by an automotive technician. It’s ideal to get a check between or even before your next WoF to ensure your vehicle remains road safe.
WoF inspections during Covid-19 alert level 2
During alert level 2, it is still a requirement that vehicles must be safe to operate on a public road. At a minimum, vehicle owners need to self-inspect their vehicles.
To help smooth the transition back to compliance,WoFs that expired on or after January 1, 2020 are temporarily extended to October 2020. If yourWoF has expired we recommend getting it renewed as soon as possible.
With the AA, you can be sure you will get a reliableWoF inspection from the experts. The AA will provide an independent assessment of your car’s safety.
AA Auto Centres, AA Vehicle Testing Stations and AA Vehicle Inspection sites are all open for WoF inspections during alert level 2. Appointments are not required at drive-through AA Vehicle Testing Stations and at most AA Vehicle Inspection sites. You may need to book in advance at AA Auto Centre sites.
To ensure safe social distancing, Testing Stations will have an SMSbased queuing system in place.