Auckland Mechanic – Warrant of Fitness/WoF check
A Warrant of Fitness, or WoF, in New Zealand is a regular check to ensure that your vehicle meets required safety standards. How often you need to have a WoF done depends on the age of your vehicle, and when it was first registered. You can find out how often you need to have a WoF done by referring to the Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency website.
It’s illegal to drive a vehicle that doesn’t meet the required safety checks, yet every year there are hundreds of vehicles that do not pass their WoF check.
Here we look at the most common areas where vehicles fail their WoF checks, and what you can do to ensure you don’t become one of those failure statistics.
During a WoF check, the inspector will check several things pertaining to your tyres. It’s a long list of requirements to do with your tyres, wheels and hubs that you can find online. Some of the things you can check yourself include:
- Tyres on the same axle must be of the same size designation and construction, and of the same tread pattern type.
- A vehicle must not be fitted with a metal tyre or other non-pneumatic tyre, or with a tyre with studs, cleats, lugs or other gripping devices.
- A tyre must be of good quality and construction, fit for its purpose, and maintained in a safe condition.
- A tyre that is fitted to a vehicle must be maintained at a safe inflation pressure.
- A tyre, other than a winter tyre, fitted to a vehicle capable of exceeding 30km/h, must have a tread pattern depth of not less than 1.5mm.
So there are a few easy things you can do before you bring your car for its WoF check:
- Check that all tyres on the same axle are of the same size designation and construction, and of the same tread pattern type
- Check the condition of all tyres; there should be no significant damage, distortion or deterioration
- Check the tread depth of your tyres (remember, 1.5mm is the minimum; ideally you’d replace your tyres before the tread got this low)
- Check that you have the correct tyre pressure in all tyres, including the spare
- Make sure that all of the tyre information is still clearly visible (brand, manufacturer, model, load rating, speed rating, standards markings, direction of rotation)
Make sure that all lights on your vehicle work. This includes:
- indicator lights
- brake lights
- hazard lights
- fog lights
You’ll need to ask a friend or family member to help – ask them to stand behind and then in front of your stationary vehicle while you test all of the lights.
You should also check that all light fixtures and casings are clean, free from moisture and do not have any cracks.
Pay close attention to the lighting requirements listed on the government’s website if your vehicle has had any modifications made to it, or if it has been adapted from a left-hand drive market.
Steering and suspension
If you’ve been ignoring any strange noises or sensations when you drive, now is the time to come clean. Don’t wait until the WoF inspector discovers the problem – because you can be sure they will find it.
There are a few things you can do to test your vehicle’s steering and suspension. First, find a flat, straight stretch of road where there aren’t many other drivers around and check your steering. When driving at a medium speed (approximately 40-50kph), does your vehicle pull to one side if you loosely hold the steering wheel or very cautiously lift your hands slightly off the steering wheel?
Do you hear any grinding or knocking noises when you drive? Does your vehicle make any odd sounds when you drive over a speed bump? Have any fluids dripped onto the pavement or garage floor when your car has been left parked? Are there any warning lights on the dash that stay on?
It’s better to bring your car to us at Roskill Auto Mechanical and have us investigate any concerns rather than waiting until it’s time for your WoF. If your car fails its WoF, you can’t legally drive it anymore.
Checking whether your brakes are working isn’t an all or nothing thing. There aren’t just two options – working or not working. With brakes there are several issues that could go wrong that could result in a failed WoF.
Test your brakes in different driving conditions and pay close attention to any strange sensations or sounds. Take note of how often you’re refilling your brake fluid – if you’re doing it often, it may be a sign that there is an issue that needs attention. Pay attention to whether the brake warning light has come on.
The WoF safety regulations relating to brakes also cover parking brakes, so make sure you test that as well. Some common reasons why vehicles fail their WoF include having non-compliant aftermarket brake pedals, and having a parking or service brake that doesn’t work properly.
Windscreen and wipers
Please don’t underestimate the safety function of a clean and clear windscreen, front and rear wipers that work properly, and a washer fluid reservoir system that is regularly maintained.
Your WoF inspector can and will fail you if your vehicle is missing a wiper arm or blade, if it’s damaged, or if any part of the windscreen wash system doesn’t function properly.
As well as checking these 5 things, it’s a good idea to keep and refer to your previous WoF paperwork. There may be notes about tread depth warning or brake pad warnings. Your vehicle may have passed last year, but if these issues haven’t been addressed since your last inspection, they may lead to a failure. If you’re in doubt, feel free to pass this paperwork on to us next time you bring your vehicle in for a service and we can make sure you’re headed for a pass.
If you have a look at the requirements published online on the Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency website, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the long list of safety requirements that your vehicle must meet to pass its WoF. Don’t worry – at Roskill Auto Mechanical we deal with these details all the time and can look after all of these details for you.
Get in touch with us before your next WoF is due, and we’ll make sure you’re ready to pass.