Nitty-gritty of a WoF inspection
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At WoF time we often can feel uneasy about “what will the inspector find this time?”
Sometimes we feel like a failure has been invented just because the shop needs the work. The truth is that the inspection is there to ensure vehicle safety, and all inspectors follow the same rules.
Around 40 per cent of New Zealand’s fleet fail their WoF inspection at the first instance. Most are due to a small number of defects such as lights and wipers. Some problems you can fix before the test, others can be dealt with by a mechanic before the WoF starts.
It’s illegal to drive a vehicle if it doesn’t display a valid WoF label or it doesn’t meet WoF requirements, unless taking it somewhere for repair or to get a new WoF — providing it’s safe to do so.
If your vehicle fails its WoF, you have 28 days to get the repairs done and receive a free recheck at the same inspecting organisation. Remember this doesn’t mean the vehicle can still be used during this time other than for the explicit purpose of obtaining repairs or a new WoF.
You can get stopped if an officer suspects the vehicle is not in a roadworthy condition and, depending on risk severity, could even be ordered off the road immediately (stickered). This means you will require a new WoF, and in serious cases, the vehicle will need to be transported home on a trailer.
It’s your job to keep your vehicle up to WoF condition at all times.
Although your tyres may pass on the day, the tread is capable of going below the minimum depth between inspections. If you wait until the next inspection before replacing them, you increase the risk of a crash or receiving a fine.
The inspection is a general safety check. 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 (there must be no leaks).
If you’ve modified your vehicle you may need a low volume vehicle certificate (mod cert).
WARRANTS DON’T COVER
A WoF doesn’t dig deep into a vehicle’s condition. For example it doesn’t check engine, clutch, gearbox and differential condition, lubricant levels, brake pad thickness or life expectancy, paintwork condition and rust in non-structural areas.
The AA has designed a safety check which is a basic health check of your vehicle 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.