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WOF – A regulation that never would be missed?

  • May 22nd, 2008

I’ve just come across a rare specimen – a friend back to work here after years in Australia (commuting because the family is refusing to come).  He has some troubling comparative judgements on what we’ve done to ourselves while he’s been away. 

But I’d never thought to question the warrant of fitness system. Here’s his comment:

“I watch with wonder the warrant of fitness system. Perfectly good cars are inspected every six months by guys who are second guessing Mercedes or Toyota.

I am sure that British cars in the fifties needed to inspected every other week.

Yet no state in Australia has a warrant of fitness scheme. No state in America requires mandatory car inspections.

 It is assumed that no one wants to kill themselves with a defective car. People fix cars when they are dangerous.

In those countries if a policeman finds a problem with your car he can order it off the road.

You don’t need a vast infrastructure of buildings and mechanics to do that. The mechanics are better employed fixing cars not inspecting them.
A miniscule number of accidents are caused by the defects in the car. It is always other factors.
Yet the punishing effect on the less well off imposed by the warrant of fitness regime is crippling.

Some politician set this all in motion 80 years ago and this costly empire of car inspections goes on day after day to no purpose.

The sort of thing that gave communism a bad name and which eventually dragged them down.
Doing useless things day after day saps your strength in the end and diverts energy and intelligence and effort away from the things that bring prosperity.”


  • Will
  • May 22nd, 2008
  • 2:17 pm

It was even more of a rort when VTNZ was state owned. Whoever owns it now would be mightly pissed if the WOF legislation is undone.

  • MikeE
  • May 22nd, 2008
  • 3:20 pm

Good point, I don’t think your fellow nats would agree with you…

How else would they be able to exercise their dislike of youth, when it comes to modified cars, exhausts, suspension etc.

Would love to see the National party to scrap the WOF system, but it will never happen.


Before supporting this I’d want to know just what the figures are for accidents caused by defects of the kind detected in inspections, in the countries that do not have WOF equivalents, and what the total cost of the inspection system is, compared with their costs of on the road checks

  • Spam
  • May 22nd, 2008
  • 9:28 pm

My cousin from Canada said that Canada tried to bring in a WOF system, but after a very short period, the consumers ensured that it was thrown out again: Value didn’t meet the cost, and there was a proliferation of dodgy mechanics inventing problems for them to fix.

  • George
  • May 23rd, 2008
  • 4:24 am

I not buy new cars but a low mileage used one then get as much use out of the depreciating asset as I can. So far I have only had winners. I have had defects discovered on two instances during WoF checks.
I don’t like forking for $50 every 6 months, but I am grateful the faults were found and repaired. I might have burdoned the health system with repairs to me and others had they not.

  • jcuknz
  • May 23rd, 2008
  • 9:50 am

I have never particularly bothered about the WOF test becuase it re-assured me that my vehicle was safe on the road. But I do think the WOF test has become ridiculous as feature after feature has been added to create longer time and greater cost for the test. Also the stupid requirements about modifications.

I was interested on a vist to Colorado that the car my daughter-in-law lent me needed no warrent but an emmisions test in a building much the same size as VTNZ … I also found the vehicle wasn’t registered and was assured that the emmission test was more important than registration. After all emmisions is to some purpose while registration is just a state revenue rort.
Naturally being a relatively law abiding citizen, in a strange country too, I promptly got both done 🙂

  • Jan (GER)
  • May 23rd, 2008
  • 1:24 pm

Yet no state in Australia has a warrant of fitness scheme. No state in America requires mandatory car inspections.

I think your friend’s information is incorrect. About half the states in the U.S. have mandatory vehicle inspections (generally every 1-2 years), another quarter has emissions inspections. As for Australia, NSW for example has a periodic inspection regime (cf. clause 57 of the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2007).

  • jcuknz
  • May 24th, 2008
  • 10:06 am

I thought the Aussie system was for inspection on disposal or purchase of a vehicle?
I also gather that new vehicles are tested every 12 month here in NZ, not that I have ever had such a vehicle since the regime came in 🙂

  • kyotolaw
  • May 27th, 2008
  • 12:20 pm

In Japan, the warrant system is a thinly disguised encouragement to buy a new car. The WOF costs about $1200 to complete, and is required at first infrequently, but then progressively more frequently as the car gets older (3 years+).

With minicars costing about $12000 to get on the road, the incentive is pretty clear. Its an obvious subsidy for the domestic auto industry.

In this case New Zealanders can be thankful – this system is the reason NZ sees a large number of cheap second hand Japanese cars – they have limited markets to export right-hand-drive models to.

  • davidp
  • May 27th, 2008
  • 12:46 pm

In Australia, the NT certainly has a required annual vehicle inspection. A valid inspection certificate is required to renew your registration.

  • Jano
  • October 7th, 2012
  • 6:08 pm

NSW has mandatory annual vehicle inspections checks for all vehicles over 5 yrs old.

  • Shelley
  • October 12th, 2012
  • 8:57 am

New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to import everyone elses crappy used vehicles. You cannot begin to compare us with Australia as they have a protected, motor vehicle industry.
The cost of a warrant of fitness in the UK is 70 pounds! Changing the system to  the yearly test becomes more like a service, as its more invasive, and the cost will be higher!
You will also even more importantly be facing higher insurance costs, with the risk factor being higher. We have 280,000 cars now on the road without
warrants!! I personally will get my car checked every 6 months still, as I dont want to be responsible as to whether my car is road worthy and I dont want to invalidate my insurance or give insurers a reason, not to pay out on a claim.

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