Everything You Need to Know About Your Warrant of Fitness (WOF)

Before you even consider buying a car, there are a few basic things you need to know about car ownership in NZ. A WOF, or Warrant of Fitness, is one of the most important things you should be aware of.

Find out exactly what a WOF is, how to check the WOF expiry date, and what you may need to know about getting one.  You must understand how this works before settling on a car, as not all vehicles have the same legal requirements.

What Exactly is a Warrant of Fitness?

A warrant of fitness is the name for the confirmation that your vehicle is roadworthy. To get one, you need to take your car to an official WOF inspector. They will check that everything in your car is working. To do this, they follow a set list of components they have to inspect. Then they will let you know if the car requires any repairs.

If you need to get repairs completed, these must be done before the mechanic can confirm the WOF. Or, you may pass the inspection right away without any repairs. In this case, you will receive a warrant of fitness sticker on your front windscreen.

How to Check WOF Expiry

When buying a car, you’ll need to know how to check the WOF’s expiry date so you can note down when you need to get it done again. There should be a sticker on the front windscreen, which will have two holes in it. One is for the year and one for the month of expiry. So, if the WOF has the numbers 01 and 22 punched out, the WOF expires in January 2022.

How Often Do I Need to Get a WOF?

How often you need to renew your warrant of fitness is dependent on your car’s age. If the manufacturer produced your vehicle:

  • Within the last two years – your WOF will last until the vehicle reaches three years of age.
  • After January 1, 2000 – renew the WOF once every year.
  • Before January 1, 2000 – you will need to renew your WOF once every six months.

As you can see, the frequency of WOF renewal depends on the age of the car you are buying. Make sure that you take note of the production year before making your choice.

Can I Be Sure that the Seller has a Recent WOF?

If a private seller is selling you their car, the WOF must be issued no longer than a month before the sale. You will be able to see the date of the WOF on the vehicle itself by reading that sticker on the windscreen.

It will always be more secure to buy from an official dealer. That way, you’ll have a business to go back to if something is wrong with the car or the WOF is out of date.

What Does It Mean if I Buy a Vehicle ‘As is Where is’?

‘As is where is’ is a term meaning that you will buy the vehicle in its current condition. Many of these types of cars do not have WOFs. Should you choose to buy a car ‘as is where is’, you would take responsibility for having it checked and repaired.

You should assume that any car the owner is selling ‘as is where is’ is not functioning as it should. That’s why mechanics or car lovers buy them, as they are hoping to repair the vehicle. If the car was working correctly, the seller wouldn’t need to lower their price and sell it ‘as is where is’.

In the case you decide to buy an ‘as is where is’ car without a WOF, you will have to take the car straight to an inspection station to get one. If the mechanic finds that the vehicle needs any repairs and/or maintenance, you will be liable for the costs.

How to Know the Car is In Good Condition Before Purchase

Suppose you are planning to buy a vehicle without proper proof that it is in good condition. In that case, we recommend you bring an experienced mechanic with you. They can give the car a once-over before you decide whether to buy it.

Even if a car has a WOF, it’s a good idea to take it on a test drive. You can then take a look under the hood yourself or bring it to a mechanic to check it. The cost you pay for this will be worth it, as it can prevent you from buying a car that will cost you a lot in repairs.

A much safer option would be to purchase your new vehicle from the safety of a third party, such as Shopless. Doing so will provide you with more options and a much safer transaction.

Now that you have a good understanding of what a WOF is and how to get one, you are ready for car ownership. Happy car hunting, everyone!

3 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Your Warrant of Fitness (WOF)”

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