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 the WoF inspections are designed to ensure vehicle safety, and all warrant of fitness vehicle inspectors must follow a stringent set of rules.

Around 40 per cent of New Zealand’s fleet fail their WoF inspection at the first instance, with the majority of these failures are simple 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 annual WoF 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)
  • Lights
  • 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 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 like 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.

Being prepared

AA Members are entitled to two AA 10-Point Checks on their vehicle(s) each year, which are basic health checks of your vehicle 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.

For more information and to book your WoF with the AA, please click here.


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