Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a VTNZ Warrant of Fitness (WoF)?

The price for a fully independent VTNZ Warrant of Fitness inspection varies from station to station.  Where possible, we'll pass on lower costs (e.g. the rent we pay for the site) to you - our customers and will reduce the cost of the WoF inspection wherever possible.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "cheap WoF" - at VTNZ we thoroughly inspect and test your vehicle with our expert staff and standardised processes, using top of the line equipment.  Since we don't carry out repairs, we have no reason to "fail" a vehicle - in fact, just as you do, we want your vehicle to pass its WoF inspection!  That said, VTNZ cares about your safety so if there is something wrong with the vehicle, and it isn't up to Warrant of Fitness standard, we will let you know.

We look forward to seeing you soon - remember, nearly at every one of our stations there's no need to book for our WoF inspections - just come along.

Do I need a WoF appointment?

You DON'T need an appointment for a VTNZ WoF inspection at nearly any station.  However, there are three stations that require bookings - these are our stations in Kaitaia, Dargaville and Gore. And one of the stations in Palmerston North (Malden St) needs bookings on a Saturday so you might prefer one of the other two.

Bookings are highly recommended at the following one-lane testing stations (otherwise you might have a long wait if we're checking a big truck & trailer unit):

All other VTNZ stations operate a drop by Warrant of Fitness service.

About half our stations can also inspect heavy vehicles without the need for an appointment.

And remember, not all our stations carry out WoFs (e.g. a few in industrial areas) so check here before you head along if you're at all unsure.

You can book online for Pre-Purchase Inspections, or directly with the station for Entry Certification.

For full information, check your nearest station's details via this website.

How can I best prepare for the inspection?

Here are some simple checks to keep your vehicle up to Warrant of Fitness standard:

  • Check your lights regularly by asking a family member or friend to check your lights with you. Many vehicles fail their Warrant of Fitness simply because of a blown bulb.
  • Check your windscreen wipers. Does your windscreen washer deliver water onto the windscreen with each sweep without patches or smudging?
  • Regularly maintain your brakes. If you are ever concerned, bring your vehicle to one of our testing stations and we can test your vehicle’s braking efficiency for a small fee.
  • Check your tyres for both adequate tread and inflation.

Here are some other points to remember prior to the Warrant of Fitness inspection:

  • When you come in ensure all the seatbelts are accessible for testing.
  • Make sure your car boot is empty. This enables the spare wheel to be checked easily so you spend less time at the station.

Why don't all VTNZ testing stations do motorcycle WoFs?

Due to the testing methodology, not all WoF testing stations can do WoF inspections on motorbikes as the Vehicle Inspector has to have a motorcycle authority to carry out the test. It sounds odd, but you may want to phone the station before heading in to check that we have someone on board for you that day. We'd hate for you to arrive there only to find the one person who has authority is off ill or on holiday that day!

How can I save money on my WoF?

There are a number of ways you can reduce the price of your car's WoF, especially if you can be flexible on when you come in.

  • SuperGold cards, Grey Power and Seniors cardholders: come in anytime on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and get $5 off our regular price.
  • Students: show us your Student ID when you come in on the same days (Tues, Wed, Thurs) and you too will save $5.
  • Next time you're at the supermarket, check out the BACK of the receipt... VTNZ often features with $5 off for all customers who come in on a week day.

All customers are eligible to collect Fly Buys points on our WoFs - 1 point for every $20 you spend with us.

What is a Warrant of Fitness (WoF)?

Inspections are primarily a ‘road safety’ measure designed to ensure that vehicles are properly maintained and that they comply with certain requirements of the New Zealand law. The periodic WoF inspection consists of visual examination and performance tests, but does not involve any dismantling of the vehicle.

Vehicles with a gross laden weight of 3,500kg or under:
Must have a current Warrant of Fitness, unless they are being used for fare paying passengers in which case they then come under the Passenger Services Rule (PSV) and must have a current Certificate of Fitness. This shows the vehicle complied with certain safety requirements on the day of the inspection.

Since 1 January 2014, all vehicles first registered on or after 1 January 2004 are now on annual WoF inspections for the lifetime of the vehicle.

From 1 July 2014:

  • after an initial inspection, new vehicles won’t require another WoF inspection until the third anniversary of their first registration
  • vehicles less than three years old will be issued a WoF that expires on the third anniversary of their first registration or 12 months after their current WoF expiry – whichever is longest
  • vehicles first registered on or after 1 January 2000 are inspected annually for the lifetime of the vehicle
  • vehicles first registered before 1 January 2000 remain on six-monthly WoF inspections for the lifetime of the vehicle.

The period of the WoF, commences from the date that the vehicle passed the inspection. That is, if the vehicle passed a re-check, then the WoF period commences from the date of the re-check.

Vehicles with a gross laden weight of 3,501kg or more:
These vehicles need a:

  • Certificate of Fitness issued every six months
  • Certificate of loading
  • Road User Licence
  • Hubometer fitted to the vehicle

What if my vehicle fails a WoF inspection?

If your vehicle fails a WoF inspection, regardless of whether your old WoF has expired or not, you're not allowed to drive it on the road unless it's being operated solely for the purpose of obtaining a new WoF. This includes driving it to and from a garage in order to have the necessary repairs carried out. If you fix all the items that require attention within 28 days the vehicle will be re-inspected by the same WoF agent at no extra charge. If you exceed the 28 days from the initial inspection, a new fee and inspection is required.

Note: This is a legal requirement.

What if I'm not sure if it’s worth registering my vehicle?

It can be costly to restore or repair a damaged or deteriorated vehicle to a condition where it's suitable for registration. In some cases, the costs could exceed the value of the vehicle. VTNZ can offer a preliminary check (for a fee) to give the vehicle owner an indication of the work needed to bring the vehicle up to the necessary standard.

Is a Warrant of Fitness the same as a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

No, a Warrant of Fitness is not a Pre-Purchase Inspection. A Warrant of Fitness is a safety inspection to ensure the vehicle still complies with certain safety and legal requirements. A Pre-Purchase Inspection is a more lengthy inspection that may report on the future running capability of the vehicle e.g. compression tests.

How long can a car registration lapse before the car has to be re-registered?

From the time the registration lapses, you only have 12 months to re-register the car (24 months for a trailer). Unfortunately, if it's not registered or put "on hold" before the 12 months is up, the car comes off the official Motor Vehicle Register.  If it comes off the Register, it then requires a thorough entry compliance inspection to be carried out to re-enter the New Zealand fleet (available through most VTNZ testing stations) and gets issued with new licence plates.

If you're not going to be using the car for a while, you can put it on hold for anything from three months to a year and we strongly recommend this to avoid having to purchase an entry compliance inspection (and avoid the backpay of the registration fees).

What if my vehicle has structural damage, deterioration or previous structural repairs?

It's likely that vehicles with previous structural damage or deterioration (including those “written off” by insurance companies) may need to be repaired before they can be certified for registration purposes.

It's advisable to go to a VTNZ station before the vehicle is repaired. Inspectors will assess if the repair needs to be certified. VTNZ can assist (if necessary) for an external NZTA appointed specialist repair certifier to examine the vehicle (for a fee). The repair certifier is responsible for ensuring any repair work (if required) is carried out correctly.

Once the repairer is satisfied, they will issue a repair certificate which will be sent with the vehicle back to VTNZ for final certification. The vehicle owner will need to pay the costs of specialist repair certification in addition to the cost of compliance certification prior to registration.

In cases where a vehicle is so severely damaged or so poorly repaired that it is unsuitable for repair certification, it will not be given a repair certificate. In this case, the vehicle will be released to the owner but may not, by law, be registered or driven on the road in New Zealand until it meets the appropriate standard.

What if I’ve modified or rebuilt my vehicle?

Modifications to a vehicle may affect its safety performance to the extent that it needs to be certified by a specialist Low Volume Vehicle certifier. VTNZ will assess whether this level of certification is required. If so, a Low Volume Vehicle certifier will need to inspect the modified vehicle.

Once the certifier is satisfied with the safety performance of the vehicle, the vehicle returns to VTNZ for final certification.

Note: Some modifications can be passed by a VTNZ compliance certifier without involving a Low Volume Vehicle certifier. Each vehicle and its modification(s) would need to be assessed on an individual basis.

Low Volume Vehicle certifications are charged in addition to VTNZ's certification costs.

If my vehicle is being modified, repaired or is not being used, can I stop its licence from lapsing and therefore my vehicle being deregistered?

Yes. If the vehicle is still registered and you plan to work on your vehicle and not use it for a period of time you may apply for an exemption from licensing by completing the MR24 form available from your nearest VTNZ station. Exemptions must be applied for in advance and are valid for three, six, nine or twelve months. Further information is contained in the NZTA Factsheet 49 – “Vehicle Licensing” or can be obtained from the Transport Registry Centre located in Palmerston North.

What will be examined during the WoF inspection?

  • Seat belts and anchorage
  • Seats and anchorage
  • Glazing
  • Vehicle structural components
  • Vehicle interior hazards
  • Brakes system
  • Steering system
  • Tyres
  • Suspension
  • Wash and wiper system
  • Lights
  • Horn
  • Spare wheel security
  • Fuel cap
  • Door retention system

What is the minimum requirement for tread on my tyres?

1.5mm depth within all the principal grooves that contain moulded tread depth indicators around the whole circumference of the tyre.

If the tyre does not have tread-depth indicators: 1.5mm across at least 3/4 of the width around the whole circumference of the tyre.

At what age does my vehicle need to be inspected twice a year for its WoF?

Since 1 January 2014, all vehicles first registered on or after 1 January 2004 are now on annual WoF inspections for the lifetime of the vehicle.

From 1 July 2014:

  • after an initial inspection, new vehicles won’t require another WoF inspection until the third anniversary of their first registration
  • vehicles less than three years old will be issued a WoF that expires on the third anniversary of their first registration or 12 months after their current WoF expiry – whichever is longest
  • vehicles first registered on or after 1 January 2000 are inspected annually for the lifetime of the vehicle
  • vehicles first registered before 1 January 2000 remain on six-monthly WoF inspections for the lifetime of the vehicle.

Is my spare tyre part of the inspection?

Yes. Although you don't require a spare tyre, if your vehicle has a spare tyre, it must be secured and indicate inflation pressure ("space saver" tyres require a sticker on the tyre).

Do my rear seat belts need to be checked?

Yes. Rear seat belts are checked for correct operation and the condition of the seatbelt webbing.

Why do I need a Warrant of Fitness?

To ensure that the vehicle has been properly maintained and still complies with certain legal and safety requirements.

What are the rules regarding rust?

  • A vehicle must not be affected by corrosion or weakening of its structure, that is apparent by visual examination, so that the vehicle is unsafe to operate.
  • The performance of a frontal impact occupant protection system must not be affected by any factor, including corrosion, structural damage, material degradation, inadequate repair, the fitting of additional equipment, or the removal of equipment.

What are the benefits of an independent inspection?

An independent inspection ensures an unbiased report. The only interest is in the safety of the vehicle, not in the repairs or sale of parts.

What is the fine for not having a current WoF or registration?

If a vehicle is stopped and checked by a police officer and is found not to be up to WoF standards, the owner can incur a significant fine. The fine is $200 for not displaying a current WoF and $200 for not displaying a current registration label.