January 18, 2022

Understanding WoF

A warrant of fitness (WoF) is a routine inspection to ensure that the vehicle meets all safety requirements.

You are responsible for keeping your vehicle in WoF compliance at all times. For instance, even if your vehicle’s tires pass the warrant inspection, users must replace them as soon as the tread reaches the minimum depth. If you wait until the next inspection to replace them, you raise the likelihood of a collision or a fine.

Why is WoF needed?

Vehicles recorded for the first time in any part of the world starting on or after January 1, 2000, will require lifetime WoF safety checks.

A second WoF inspection will be required for newly registered vehicles on the third anniversary of their initial registration.

The amount of time a WoF is valid for is determined by calculating using the date of the vehicle’s initial registration in New Zealand or abroad, as detailed in the following table:

When was the vehicle initially registered in any country?For what period is the WoF issued?
In much less of around two yearsThe WoF is issued on the third ‘anniversary’ of the vehicle (the third anniversary from when it was initially registered)
A brand-new vehicle that has never been registeredThe WoF is valid for three years.
Greater than two but fewer than the past three yearsWoF is issued for one year.
After or on January 1, 2000WoF is issued for one year.
Prior to January 1, 2000The WoF is valid for six months

What does warrant inspection cover?

The WoF inspection is a comprehensive safety checkup. The inspection criteria are outlined in our Vehicle inspection requirements manual (VIRM) and also include the following:

  • The condition of the tires (including tread depth)
  • Brake system mechanism
  • Structural status (rust is not allowed in certain areas)
  • Lights
  • Glazing (is one’s windshield protected?)
  • Windshield wiper blades and washers
  • (Do the gates safely both open and close?)
  • Safety belts (should not be damaged or unusually faded; buckles must work properly)
  • Airbags (if adequately connected)
  • Speedometer (must be working) (must be working)
  • Control and suspension (must be safe and secure)
  • Exhaust (there should be no leaks, and the exhaust should not be louder than the original system or smoky)
  • Fuel system (there should be no leaks).

Is WoF all it takes?

In addition to a WoF, you must possess a valid vehicle license (rego). This is distinct from your driver’s license, which is also required for driving on public roads. A rego will not require any tests. It is simply a required payment. Nevertheless, a current WoF is required to update your registration. In contrast to a WoF, you can choose when your registration is valid, and a slight discount is applied if you opt for a prolonged duration. For example, an annual payment is less expensive than a quarterly payment.

The bottom line

Simply put, a WoF doesn’t test for everything and may overlook things like an aging gearbox. In addition, components such as tires and brake pads deteriorate over time. So even if they passed a WoF, that does not guarantee they would last until your next WoF a year later. However, ensuring the best repair services to get a WoF issued is crucial for your and others’ security.