Warrant of Fitness rules have changed during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 and Level 3 and pandemic. It may also be difficult to obtain one due to many businesses being in lockdown mode and new NZ Government regulations. For this reason, new rules have been introduced regarding Warrant of Fitness certification in New Zealand. The aim of this post is to cover some of the most commonly asked questions regarding WOFs and and how it relates to your car insurance.
What happens if my Warrant of Fitness expires during COVID-19 lockdown Alert Level 3 or 4?
You will still legally be able to drive your vehicle provided it is safe to Warrant of Fitness standard for possibly a month or two after your April 2020 WOF expiry date. In other words it looks like you might get an extra month of two past your April 2020 WOF expiry date to get your new WOF. We are still awaiting clarification for NZTA and NZ Ministry of Transport around this.
Please note, if you choose to delay getting your WOF during level 3 it becomes YOUR responsibility to make sure your car is safe and up to Warrant of Fitness standards. It is likely you will be able to get a WOF during Level 3 from normal WOF providers after 28 April 2020 and beyond.
Can I still get a Warrant of Fitness in Alert Level 3 & 4?
For non-essential vehicles and workers (the public), travelling to get a Warrant of Fitness is considered non-essential travel. This is one of the reasons, an auto repair shop cannot renew a Warrant of Fitness for the public during Level 4.
For essential vehicles and workers, a WOF or COF can still be obtained during Alert Level 4 and Level 3. This is to ensure that these vehicles remain safe and operate correctly.
As of writing this on 21 April 2020, then for Alert Level 3 we are waiting on final clarity, but it looks like the public will be able to get a WOF by normal mechanics and WOF providers (such as AA, VINZ, etc), provided it is done contactlessly and everyone is kept safe.
What if my car is unsafe to drive?
Although Warrant of Fitness inspections are considered a non-essential service, repairs under level 4 are still available for all non-essential and essential customers. Owners of potentially unsafe vehicles are encouraged to seek out a repair before driving their cars to go to work or get groceries or healthcare. Since car repairs are often essential to the safety of your vehicle and you, they are still allowed under COVID-19 Level 3 & 4.
Police still retain the right to order a vehicle off the road if there is an obvious safety concern. When this happens, it will not be legally driveable until the issue is fixed by a mechanic. A few examples of obvious safety concerns include:
- Tyres that do not have enough tread depth or are punctured/damage.
- Brakes that are not functioning properly.
- Issues with your car’s headlights, brake light, indicators or other lighting used to improve your vehicle’s visibility.
- Problems with the engine, fuel system or exhaust causing excess smoke
- Problems with your car’s wipers, doors, seat belts, suspension, wheel bearing and so on…
Will my insurance remain valid if my Warrant of Fitness expires during COVID-19 lockdown?
If a vehicle’s Warrant of Fitness expires during COVID-19 Level 4 (March 25th onwards), it will still be covered for possibly a month or two (the WOF extension time) by insurance unless there is an existing safety issue which could prevent it from getting a Warrant of Fitness.
In the event of an accident, a vehicle with an expired WOF (after March 25th) will still be covered (for possibly a month or two), as long as the cause of the accident is not directly related to a safety issue which would have caused it to fail a WOF.
Can I receive a fine for driving with an expired Warrant of Fitness?
An NZ Police spokesperson said that New Zealand police would continue their work as usual, but had “discretion” over whether to ticket someone.
With this in mind, it is possible that police could give you a ticket for driving with an expired Warrant of Fitness. It is very likely the Police will give a ticket if your WOF has been expired prior to March 25th 2020. In other words vehicles with expired WOFs prior to COVID-19 Level 4 will definitely be at risk of getting a ticket.
If the police notice a safety issue, they may also order your car off the road by issuing a pink or green sticker.
Can I still renew my vehicle registration (rego)?
During COVID-19 Level 4, you will not be able to renew your registration at a post office. However, the NZTA Online Portal remains open, allowing you to renew your car’s registration online. We are waiting to hear about Alert Level 3 vehicle registrations.
Need a Repair in Hamilton? Contact Grimmer Motors
Grimmer Motors remains “on call” for car repairs for essential workers vehicles to get to work, and the public who need their car for essential purposes (getting groceries and healthcare) during Alert Level 4 on a fully safe and contactless basis.
During Alert 3 we are open for everyone on a fully contactless basis. If you need car repairs, please feel free to contact us and we can organise a contactless car repair.