Tuesday, January 27, 2009


WOF is the sound a dog makes, but is also an interesting system in New Zealand to keep quality vehicles on the road. Some consider it bureaucratic, while others see it as a safety mechanism.

I went out to the Automobile Association website to find out more:

What is a Warrant of Fitness (WoF)?

It's a regular check to ensure your car is safe to drive on the road. A Warrant of Fitness is compulsory for light vehicles (cars, station wagons, vans, 4WDs, SUVs, light trucks). It's also required for trailers and motorcycles.

How often do I need to have this safety inspection?

If your car was first registered:

* Less than six years ago
o You're required to complete a WoF every 12 months
* Over six years ago
o You're required to complete a WoF every 6 months

Who can carry out the WoF safety check?

Only approved testing stations and garages. As a WoF agent, we're required to follow the car inspection requirements manual (VIRM). These requirements are defined and monitored by Land Transport New Zealand.

What's checked during a WoF inspection?

This is a general safety check and includes:

* Tyre condition
* Brake operation
* Structural condition
* Lights, doors and windows
* Windscreen washers and wipers
* Safety belts and airbags
* Speedometer, steering and suspension
* Exhaust and fuel system

Once your car passes the Warrant of Fitness inspection, you're required to keep it in this condition.

What do I do if my car fails the inspection?

If your car fails the inspection, you're not allowed to drive it on the road. There is one exception to this rule. And that's if you're in the process of bringing the car into compliance or obtaining a new WoF. But the car must be safe to drive for that purpose. Otherwise, stick to the golden rule: stay off the road until you have a valid Warrant of Fitness!

When you've fixed all the required areas, we'll check it again. If you bring it back to us within 28 days of the first inspection, then we'll complete the second inspection at no charge. After this date, however, we'll have to start from scratch.

What about other safety factors? How can I get these checked?

A WoF is not a pre-purchase inspection. So there are a number of areas that won't be checked. These include:

* Engine, clutch, gearbox and differential
* Lubricant levels and condition
* Brake pad thickness or life expectancy
* Paint work condition and rust in non-structural areas
* Interior condition
* Road test

If you'd like these areas checked, we can help. We provide AA Pre-Purchase Inspections. We can come to you. Or you can visit one of our AA Inspection Centres.

Where do I display the WoF label?

This label must be displayed on your car at all times. Attach it to the inside of the windscreen. Display it on the driver's side (the same side as the steering wheel). Affix it to far-right of the glass (or the left side, if your car is a left-hand drive vehicle).

How do know when my WoF expires?

Take a look at the label. You'll see that there is one circle for each month of the year. The circle showing the month your WoF expires has been removed. This will give you an indication of the month it needs to be re-inspected.

There is also an expiry date written on the label. You must have your car inspected and warranted before this expiry date.

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