Weekend Herald

Why wait until WoF time?

Simple checks made on a regular basis can help in avoiding Warrant of Fitness issues


The vast majority of the vehicles on our roads were manufactur­ed after the year 2000, meaning that they’re subject to a Warrant of Fitness (WoF) every 12 months.

A lot can happen over those 12 months that could affect the safety of your vehicle and its ability to pass your next inspection.

If you’re worried that your vehicle may not be up to scratch, or perhaps you just want to be proactive, don’t wait until the date of your WoF to find out if your car needs attention.

Here are a few tips to give you a head start.

Notes on the check sheet

Your last inspection could contain a key of what your vehicle might need in order to stay safe and pass the next inspection. Because a WoF inspection is based on the vehicle condition as presented on the day, a component might pass then but fail further down the line. In this case, the inspector might add a note informing you that while a tyre or brake pad passed today, there’s a good chance it would need to be replaced before your next WoF.

Don’t wait until the day your WoF expires

A WoF expiry date can be postdated by up to 14 days, so you can get an inspection carried out up to two weeks before the date of expiry without losing any time. This also allows plenty of time to carry out repairs.

A common misconcept­ion we often discuss with AA Members is that you have a 28-day “grace period”; this is not correct. After a WoF fail, you have 28 days to get the vehicle repaired and rechecked (at the same site) before you have to pay for a whole new inspection. Once a WoF fails, it means that the vehicle is technicall­y unfit for the road, and is not to be used again until the issues have been repaired.

Because of the Covid-19 level 4 lockdown at the end of March last year, any WoF that expired after 1 Jan 2020 was given an automatic extension until 10 October 2020. If you had to delay getting your WoF done last year, the AA recommends getting it done sooner rather than later to avoid longer waiting times throughout the winter months.

WoF appointmen­ts are not required at the drive-through AA Vehicle Testing Stations and most of the AA Vehicle Inspection sites. AA Auto Centre and AA Approved Repairer sites are located around

New Zealand and can also assist with vehicle WoF inspection­s.

Simple checks on a regular basis

In February 2021, a total of 350,982 first-time WoF inspection­s were carried out with a staggering 142,063 (40 per cent) failure rate.

Back in 2019, the Ministry of Transport NZ reported that crashes identified as being vehicle-related contribute­d to nearly 11 per cent of fatal crashes and around two per cent of injury crashes.

While many things on a vehicle may not be easily checked by the average driver, there are some that can be looked at easily and quickly. Carrying out regular checks on lights, windscreen condition, wipers/washers and tyres will help you make changes in advance to help you stay safe and legal. This can save you time, money and rushed repairs further down the line when your next WoF is due. The number of vehicles observed on a daily basis by the AA that have faulty lights alone is staggering.

AA 10 Point Check

The AA has created a 10 Point Check focusing on areas that commonly lead to WoF failure, such as lights, wipers and tyres.

AA members are entitled to two of these free each year, while nonmembers can get one for $19.

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