A warrant of fitness (WoF) is a regular check to ensure that your vehicle meets required safety standards.

It’s your job to keep your vehicle up to WoF condition at all times. For example, while tyres on your vehicle may pass on the day of your warrant inspection, you’ll need to replace them as soon as the tread gets to the minimum depth. If you wait until the next inspection before replacing them, you increase your risk of having a crash or receiving a fine.

How often a WoF is required

Vehicles first registered anywhere in the world on or after 1 January 2000 will need annual WoF inspections for their lifetime.

For new vehicles, after an initial inspection, another WoF inspection won't be required until the 3rd anniversary of their first registration.

The length of time a WoF is issued for is calculated based on the vehicle’s date of first registration in New Zealand or overseas, and are described in more detail in the table below.

Length of WoF for light motor vehicles
When was the vehicle first registered anywhere in the world? How long the WoF is issued for
New vehicle that’s never been registered WoF is issued for three years
Less than two years ago WoF is issued to the vehicles third ‘birthday’ (third anniversary of when it was first registered)
More than two years ago, but less than three years ago WoF is issued for 12 months
On or after 1 January 2000 WoF is issued for 12 months
Before 1 January 2000 WoF is issued for 6 months

Where to go for vehicle inspections

There are around 3200 WoF agents in New Zealand. Search online or use the Yellow Pages to find your nearest agent.

Yellow Pages(external link)

It’s illegal to drive a vehicle…

  • If it doesn’t meet WoF requirements.

  • If it doesn’t display a valid WoF label.

You can drive your vehicle on the road under these circumstances only when taking it somewhere for repair or to get a new WoF – providing it’s safe to do so.

What a warrant inspection covers

The WoF inspection is a general safety check. The aspects checked are set out in our Vehicle inspection requirements manual (VIRM) and include:

  • 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).

If you’ve modified your car, motorcycle, van or other light vehicle you may need a low volume vehicle certificate.

Vehicle inspection requirements manual(external link)

What a warrant is not

A WoF is not a pre-purchase inspection. It doesn’t include many areas of a vehicle's condition. For example it doesn't check:

  • 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.

Your WoF label

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.

When your vehicle fails its WoF inspection

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 get a new WoF – and it’s safe to do so.

What you can do

Find out more about what you can do if your vehicle fails because:

Information for WoF inspecting organisations

WoF inspecting organisation information(external link)

Have a question? Contact us if you need more information about WoF inspections.

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