A warrant of fitness is a regular check to ensure your vehicle meets the road safety standards. Read our tips on things you should check before your inspection.
Here are some tips on things you should check before your warrant of fitness inspection to ensure your vehicle passes.
Warrants of Fitness (WoFs) are regular check-ups for your vehicle to ensure it continues to meet New Zealand’s road safety standards. Depending on your vehicle’s age, you will either need to get it checked every six months or year. According to statistics, around 40% of cars fail their WoF the first time because of simple defects such as wipers and lights.
While it may be nerve-wracking taking your vehicle in for a WoF, it may help to think of the process the same way as taking yourself to the dentist or doctor for a check-up. Here is some key information you need to know about WoF inspections, including tips on how you can maximise your vehicle’s chances of passing a WoF the first time.
What is a WoF?
A WoF is a regular check-up for your vehicle to ensure it meets required New Zealand safety standards. It’s up to the vehicle’s owner to ensure their vehicle is up to required WoF conditions at all times. For example, your vehicle may pass a WoF but, if your tyre treads get to the minimum depth, you should get them replaced as soon as possible. If you wait until your next WoF inspection, you increase the risk of having an accident.
What happens if my vehicle fails a WoF?
If your vehicle fails a WoF, it is illegal to drive it on the road unless you’re taking it to get it repaired or to get a new WoF. Under these conditions, always make sure it’s safe to do so. You will be given 28 days to fix any identified issues after an initial failed inspection, and your vehicle can be re-inspected by the same location for no additional cost. After 28 days, you’ll need to pay a new fee for another inspection.
What does a WoF inspection cover?
A WoF inspection covers the following:
- Structural conditions (there can’t be rust in certain areas)
- Tyres (including tread depth)
- Windscreen wipers and washers
- Safety belts (these can’t be damaged or overly faded, and the buckles must work properly)
- Airbags (if fitted)
- Glazing, to check the windscreen is safe
- Steering and suspension
- Exhaust system (make sure there are no leaks or smoke, and ensure it’s not louder than the original exhaust system)
- Fuel system (check there are no leaks)
What doesn’t get inspected?
Some areas of a vehicle’s condition don’t get checked as part of the inspection. For example:
- Engine, clutch and gearbox
- Lubricant levels and condition
- Brake pad thickness or life expectancy (unless they are visibly below safe limits)
- Paintwork condition and some rust in non-structural areas
Things to check before taking your vehicle in for a WoF
Here are some things you should check before your WoF inspection:
- Check your lights, including the indicators, park lights, brake lights and headlights – both dipped and on high beam. If you’ve got a blown bulb, be sure to get it replaced before the inspection.
- Check your windscreen wipers. Test that they don’t leave any patches or smudging on your windscreen. If they do, get the wipers replaced.
- Check your tyre pressures and treads. Make sure your tyres aren’t bald by using a tyre tread depth indicator. Get your tyres pumped to the recommended PSI. You can check the recommended pressure in your owner’s manual. Some vehicles have tyre pressures labelled on the passenger door. Don’t forget to check your spare tyre pressure and tread too.
- Check the oil levels using the dipstick. If the oil doesn’t reach the indicator mark, you need to top it up with more oil. It’s important to ensure your car has the correct level of oil in it, as this can cause increased wear and tear to your vehicle’s engine, or even cause it to seize up.
- Check the seats and seatbelts. If you notice any rips or tears on the seatbelts, take them to a mechanic to get them checked or replaced. If you have a child safety seat in the car, remove it before the inspection.
- Empty your car boot. This will enable the inspectors to easily access the spare tyre during the inspection.
If your vehicle passes its WoF inspection, the inspector will apply the WoF label on the inside of your front windscreen, on the driver’s side. Be sure to note the expiry date, so you know when you’ll need to take your vehicle in for its next WoF inspection.