The AA welcomes the government’s decision to implement changes to the Warrant of Fitness regime which will save motorists at least $160 million a year.
Next year the government will introduce changes to the system in two phases that will see light vehicles registered from 1 January 2000 requiring an annual WoF check while cars less than three years old will not need a WoF at all.
Currently cars, motorcycles, caravans and trailers from six years old require a new WoF every six months but on 1 January 2014 the first phase of the new WoF system will begin which will see cars first registered anywhere in the world between 2004 and 2008 requiring a WoF every 12 months.
Light vehicles first registered between 2000 and 2003 will be eligible for a 12 month WoF from 1 July 2014. Those registered before 1 January 2000 will continue to require a WoF every six months. Following an initial inspection, new cars will not require a WoF for three years.
AA Motoring Services general manager Stella Stocks says the AA supports the phased approach to changing the WoF system.
“The phasing in of the changes to the WoF system allows the industry to adjust and also ensures that motorists will have ample time to understand what it will mean to them.”
Ms Stocks says staff at AA Testing Stations and AA Auto Centres will explain the changes when customers are issued with their next WoF.
“The changes mean if you own a car first registered between 2004 and 2008 and were issued a WoF this July, your next WoF, due in January, will be for a full year. Light vehicles first registered between 1 January 2000 and 1 January 2004 will continue to receive six month WoFs until 1 July 2014 after which it will become annual.”
AA Motoring Policy principal adviser Mark Stockdale says reducing WoF frequency brings New Zealand closer to international best practice and reflects the desire of most AA members.
“The six monthly inspection regime has no measurable impact on the number of crashes and has not kept pace with improvements in vehicle technology, reliability and safety.
“We surveyed our members and more than 70% were in favour of fewer WoF inspections.
“These changes are good for motorists, but the annual inspection is a minimum requirement, not a maximum.”
Items including brakes, tyres and lights should be regularly monitored by owners and immediately repaired or replaced if there is any fault.
“Having a current WoF, whether six or 12-monthly, is not proof that the vehicle is safe,” Mr Stockdale says.
“Motorists are required to maintain roadworthy vehicles at all times and if there is any doubt they should take them in for an inspection every six months or more often if they wish.”