Warrant of Fitness Checklist
New buyer? Young driver? Whether you are buying your first used car or gearing up for your first Warrant of Fitness (WoF), here’s what you need to know.
Last updated: 01/12/2021
What is it?
The Warrant of Fitness (WoF) is a safety test done on cars to check that they are roadworthy. How often you need to get a WoF is based on when your car was first registered. Please see the New Zealand Transport Agency website for further information.
First registered before 1 January 2000
WoF is issued for 6 months.
First registered on or after 1 January 2000
WoF is issued for 12 months.
First registered between 2 - 3 years ago
WoF is issued for 12 months.
First registered less than 2 years ago
WoF is issued to the third anniversary of its first registration.
New cars that have never been registered will be given an initial inspection. After the first inspection, new cars don't require another WoF inspection until the third anniversary of their first registration.
The penalty for driving a car without a current warrant of fitness is a fine.
In New Zealand a person may not sell a car without a current WoF, unless the buyer signs a statement that says they understand the WoF isn't current and they won't use the car except to take it somewhere for repair or inspection.
Here are some reasons cars fail:
- Rust: Rust damage can be very expensive to repair, especially if it is widespread. When buying a car, remember to look for concealed and structural rust damage - start with the door hinges.
- Lights: Ensure your headlights are working properly; both at dipped and high beamed, and if they are cracked repair them as soon as possible. You also need to make sure your hazards, indicators and brake lights are all in working order.
- Smoky exhaust: Keep an eye on your exhaust pipe; if black smoke is present, you may have a problem. It could be an oil leak into your engine or a clogged air filter. Whatever the issue, most cars will not pass a WoF with visible smoke coming out of the exhaust.
- Tyres: Your tyres will be checked for tread, pressure and wear. You need to maintain your tyres at the pressure recommended by the car manufacturer, and a minimum tread depth of 1.5mm around the whole circumference of the tyre.
- Seat belts: Are all the seat belts in working order? Can you make them click? Are there rips or tears in them?
- Windshield and windscreen wipers: Your wipers and washers need to be working. Your windscreen can’t be leaking and letting in water.
What a WoF is not
A WoF is not a clean bill of health, so don’t assume just because a car has a WoF that there is nothing wrong with it. If you are buying a car privately consider getting a vehicle information report so you can have the most up to date information available.
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