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New Zealand - Vehicle Inspection, Maintenance, Repairs and Breakdown Recovery

In New Zealand there is a system of inspecting cars on a regular basis which is similar to the MOT system used in the UK. It is a legal requirement to have cars assessed for a warrant of fitness (WoF). If the car is younger than 6 years old then the car should be assessed every 12 months, but if the car is older than 6 years then the assessment should take place every 6 months. You cannot get a WoF at any garage, the assessors must be registered with the New Zealand Transport Agency. There are currently more than 3000 registered assessors and you should be able to find the nearest one to you in the local Yellow Pages.

It is illegal to drive a car which has not passed a WoF inspection unless you are driving to a garage to have the problems resolved and the car is safe for you to drive. When the car passes the owner is given a WoF label. The label is placed on the inside of the windscreen on the driver’s side of the car. There will be a punched out section which indicates when the inspection should be carried out again. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that the inspection is carried out before the old warrant expires.

The warrant of fitness covers a wide range of safety checks on the vehicle. The aspects that are covered include the condition of the tyres, the brakes, the bodywork of the car, the lights, the windows, the washers and wipers, the functioning of the doors, the seat belts must function properly and if airbags are fitted they are also checked. The speedometer must be working properly, the steering and suspension are also checked and the exhaust must meet with manufacturing standards. The fuel system is checked for leaks.

Any vehicles that have been modified may need vehicle certification. The owner should give the details of the modifications to the New Zealand Transport Agency to determine if the extra certification is required. A car that is sold needs to have a WoF, but it should not be taken as a complete inspection as there are also several aspects of a car’s condition which are not examined. The engine, clutch, gearbox, bodywork in non-structural sections of the car, lubricant levels and the thickness of the brake pads are not part of the WoF inspection.

In New Zealand there are breakdown services in all areas but the AA is the most famous breakdown service provider nationwide. This is the same organisation that is in existence in the UK and offers the same range of services from car insurance to inspections. The AA is a membership organisation and customers receive a number of free callouts each year, determined by their level of membership and the length of time that they have been with the organisation. As with the organisation in the UK the AA mechanics are often able to fix the car at the roadside, or can take you and the car to an approved centre for repair. All members are advised to keep their membership cards with them as the work cannot be undertaken if you do not have it. You should also have some form of ID with you. The AA operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

The general standard of repair of cars in New Zealand is very good, thanks to the inspections system which ensures that even older cars are checked regularly.

Useful resources

Level 16
99 Albert Street
Auckland PO Box 5
Auckland 1010
Tel: 0800 500 444
Email: online enquiry form on website

Read more about this country

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