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Dodgy warrant of fitness practices in New Zealand

All cars in New Zealand need a Warrant of Fitness (WOF), every six months for older cars and yearly for newer vehicles to legally drive on public roads.


The WOF is a sticker in the window of all vehicles on NZ roads and is a basic "once over" check to make sure the car is road worthy. If the vehicle is a rental it will have a certificate of fitness (COF) which is a WOF with a few extra checks.

The WOF test 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.



There are many approved places around New Zealand, from garages to specialist warrant shops that you can get your WOF from.

This is where you can get "stung "and be looking at larger than expected bills to get your vehicle on the road legally. If you take it to a garage that both gives WOFs and fixes cars they could find more things wrong with your car than a dedicated WOF only shop. There is no gain for the warrant shop to find "extra" things wrong with your car as they do not fix the problems. If you took your vehicle to a garage which only makes a small amount from a WOF (which cost between $25 and $55 depending on where you go) it would be in their best interests to find problems with your vehicle and make money fixing the issues.


Once your WOF check is done and the car is failed you cannot take it anywhere else as the problems with your car go on a nationwide database. But you can take it anywhere you like to get fixed.

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.




Above we are making some generalisations and there are many great honest mechanics out there, it is just the odd "bad egg" you could strike, but it is something to be aware of on your travels.


Personally, I have a great garage/mechanic that does my WOF and I have had no problems, but be wary out there.


If I was a tourist travelling around NZ I would take my vehicle to a dedicated WOF shop unless I got a recommendation from someone you trusted. The WOF shop will be thorough, but you know that the fixes are needed for the WOF, and no extra problems should be included.


Also remember that different people can see different things which should not happen, but it does.


These are just all my personal observations and advice; I hope it saves you a dollar or two.

Reviews / Comments for Dodgy warrant of fitness practices in New Zealand

Rating Averages


I had a really bad experience at the Goodyear Auto Service Centre 49 Warrington St, Shirley, Christchurch that found over $600 worth of problems that according to my regular WOF mechanic(who were closed, so I took it to Shirley) did not need fixing or did not exist.
They found a fuel tank leak with no sign of fuel! I hate to see the bill if I had left it with them.

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