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​Car Care: Five Things to Check Before You Get a Warrant of Fitness

Unbelievable numbers of New Zealand vehicles fail to pass their Warrant of Fitness inspection the first time. 

Most of these failures are due to minor defects that can easily be fixed before the car is presented.

Lights were the most frequently failed category, followed closely by steering/suspension and brakes. Wipers, tires and brakes round out the top five.

You can do these things to increase your chances of passing the next inspection.


Make sure all lights are working properly. You may need someone’s help or even get close enough to a mirror or wall for the rear lights. Check the exterior of your car for cracks or moisture.

Suspension and steering

This is a more difficult one to fix at home. However, there may be indicators that something is wrong, and you should follow up.

Additional knocking sounds, thumps, or feeling uneasy over bumps can signal something wrong. Another sign is a steering wheel that isn’t straight or easy to turn, fluid leaking or warning light on the dash.


Visually inspect all four tires. Make sure to check the spare tire (if it is applicable) and make sure it’s secured.

To check the tread of your tires, use a 20-cent coin. The “20” sideways on the coin should be inserted into the tread. If the whole number can be seen, your tire has likely reached the legal threshold.

For unusual wear patterns or damage, check your tires’ general condition. Low tire pressures can be checked and inflated if necessary. This will make your car more comfortable to drive.


Do you hear squealing noises when you drive but stop when you brake?

Brake pads may have metal strips as warning indicators. These are placed at a depth to rub against the disc once the pads reach minimum serviceable thickness. This is done to warn the driver that the brake material might be too thin. The wear indicator’s rubbing sound is most noticeable when brakes are not applied. However, the noise might decrease during braking.

A low brake fluid level or frequent need to top up is another sign you might need repair. You should not delay in repairing your brakes.


Both front and rear wipers should be checked. Also, the washer nozzle can sometimes get partially or fully blocked. If necessary, fill the washer reservoir with a solution.

Check the windscreen for cracks or chips, and clean all glass (including mirrors).

Keep your WoF sheets in order.

Remember any notes or warnings you missed on the last WoF Check Sheet for wof services in Auckland. If the issue has not been resolved, they could fail this time. Common issues include low brake pressure or tire tread depth. However, they may pass inspection on the day.

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