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 Warrant of Fitness 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.
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 (external link) (VIRM) and include:
tyre condition (including tread depth)
structural condition (rust is not allowed in certain areas)
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.
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: