To drive your car (or other light vehicle) safely and legally on the road it must have the right equipment (in good working order) and have a current warrant of fitness (WoF). This section explains what your vehicle must have.
Privately operated cars, utes, vans and four-wheel drives must have a current WoF. Commercial vehicles and heavy vehicles must have a current certificate of fitness (CoF).
A current WoF shows the vehicle has been inspected by an approved WoF inspector and was roadworthy at the time of the last WoF inspection.
In addition to the warrant of fitness, the vehicle must display a current licence label, a road user charges (RUC) licence if required (such as if your car runs on diesel) and a number plate on the front and back that can be clearly seen. See About driver responsibility for more information about these requirements.
Warrant of fitness label
The WoF label is attached to the inside of the windscreen, on the same side as the steering wheel, and must be clearly visible from outside the vehicle. The recommended position is in the top corner of the windscreen.
The WoF inspector will give you a copy of the check sheet. This is a receipt of payment for the inspection and is not a warrant of fitness. If your vehicle failed its WoF inspection, the receipt gives you 28 days to have the vehicle fixed and brought back for re-inspection without any additional payment. During that time you are only allowed to drive the vehicle to get it repaired and re-inspected.
If your vehicle was first registered (in New Zealand or overseas) less than six years ago, it requires a WoF inspection every 12 months.
If your vehicle was first registered more than six years ago, it requires a WoF inspection every six months.
You can be fined if you drive any vehicle that is not up to WoF standard on a road. A police officer can require you to stop for a roadside vehicle check at any time.
To meet the WoF standard, your car must be in good condition (no rust around safety areas) and it must have the following equipment in good working order:
Features your car must have
Before making modifications, including the fitting of extra lights to your vehicle, check with an approved WoF inspector that the modifications are legal.
Note: if a load extends more than 1 metre beyond the back of your vehicle, you must tie on a white flag, or a red, orange or yellow fluorescent flag. The flag must be at least 40 centimetres by 30 centimetres in size. The load must be tied on firmly and must not touch the ground.
Approved safety belts must be fitted in all light passenger vehicles: cars, vans, utes and four-wheel drives.
The safety belts must be in good condition. You should have safety belts checked immediately if:
They may need replacing.
Legal requirements for safety belts have changed over the years and are different depending on the age of the vehicle. The type of belt has also changed from static belts to retractor belts.
Three-point (lap and diagonal) belts must be fitted in the outer seating positions (including the driver's seat) in most cars, vans, utes and four-wheel drives. Two-point (lap) belts are legally allowed in centre seating positions, but three-point belts provide better safety.
You must wear your safety belt when driving. Children must also be belted-in, using approved child restraints. See About driver responsibility for more information.