June 2024

What you need to know about a Warrant of Fitness (WoF)

A Warrant of Fitness (WoF) is a regular check to ensure that your vehicle meets the required safety standards.

It is illegal in New Zealand to drive a vehicle if it does not meet the WoF requirements or if a valid WoF label is not displayed.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle meets the safety standards at all times by displaying a valid WoF label on your windscreen. 

Issuing period

New vehicles that have never been registered will be given an initial WoF inspection and issued with a WoF for three years.

Vehicles less than two years old will be issued with a WoF to the third anniversary of when it was first registered, and vehicles between two and three years old, the WoF will be issued for 12 months.

For older vehicles you have to get a warrant of fitness check every:

  • 12 months if your vehicle was first registered anywhere in the world on or after 1 January 2000; and
  • Six months if your vehicle was first registered anywhere in the world before 1 January 2000.

Our members can provide you with a quick WoF inspection.  Find one nearest you.

What to look out for

A WoF inspection will cover :

  • 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).

A WoF is not a pre-purchase inspection. Therefore, it will not include certain areas of a vehicle's condition such as:

  • Engine, clutch, gearbox and differential condition
  • lubricant levels and condition
  • brake pad thickness or life expectancy, unless they are visibly below safe limits
  • paint work condition and some rust in non-structural areas.
What to expect after the inspection

If your vehicle passes its WoF inspection, the inspector will apply the WoF label on the inside of your front windscreen, on the driver’s side. You need to get your next warrant before the expiry date on the label.

If your vehicle fails a WoF inspection, you cannot drive it on the road unless you’re taking it somewhere to get it repaired or to get a new WoF. Make sure it’s safe to drive however.

Full details regarding WoFs can be found on the official Waka Kotahi's website.

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