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WOF - What You Need to Know

Coming into a new country and figuring out how everything works can be pretty hard. Especially when you want to buy a vehicle here. To clear things up, one of the most important things that you need to know when you are driving/buying a car is that you need to have a WOF for it.

WOF label

What is a WOF?

WOF means Warrant of Fitness and is a regular check to ensure that your vehicle meets the required safety standards (it is similar to the German TÜV). You need to keep your vehicle up to WOF condition at all time. Otherwise, you increase your risk of having a crash or getting a fine. The average price to get the WOF is between $40 and $65.

What does a warrant inspection cover?

  • tyre condition (+ 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)

What does your vehicle must have?

  • a number plate light at the back

  • two red reflectors at the back

  • two red position lights at the back

  • one or two red high-mounted stop lights at the back

  • a working horn

  • a current WoF

  • a rear-view mirror that gives a clear view behind

  • a good sun visor

  • a windscreen that meets safety standards and is clean

  • one or more working windscreen wipers

  • a working speedometer

  • two good headlights that can be dipped when another vehicle comes towards you

  • two or four stop lights at the back

  • flashing direction indicator lights at the back

  • a good silencer and exhaust system

  • mudguards

  • safe tyres – the tread depth must be at least 1.5 millimetres right around the tyre. If your car is fitted with winter tyres, these must be fitted to all four road wheels and have a tread depth of at least 4 millimetres right around the tyre.

  • working safety belts

  • good footbrake and handbrake

  • doors that open and close safely

  • safe steering

  • flashing direction indicator lights at the front

  • two white or amber position lights at the front

What it is not

It's not a pre-purchase inspection!

Because it doesn't include:

  • engine, clutch, gearbox and differential condition

  • lubricant levels and condition

  • brake pad thickness or lose expectancy, unless they are visibly below safe limits

  • paint work condition and some rust in non-structural areas

Where can I get it done?

There are around 3200 WOF agents in New Zealand. Have a look at Yellow Pages to find the nearest!

REMEMBER: It is illegal to drive a vehicle if it doesn't meet WOF requirements and if it doesn't display a valid WOF label.

Length of WOF for light motor vehicles

For a brand new one that has never been registered the WOF is issued for 3 years.

For a vehicle that was first registered less than two years ago the WOF is issued to the vehicles third 'birthday'. (three years after first registration)

For a vehicle that was first registered more than two years ago but less than three years ago, the WOF is issued for 12 months.

1 vehicle that was registered on or after the 1st of January 2000 the WOF is issued for 12 months.

For a vehicle that was registered before the 1st of January 2000 the WOF is issued for 6 months.

WOF label

When your vehicle passes the WOF the inspector will apply the WOF label on the inside of your front windscreen on the driver's side.

You need the next warrant before the expiry date on the label.

When you don't display the label or an expired one you could get a $200 fine!

Have you already gotten a WOF in New Zealand? If yes, comment below how much you paid!

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