Pitfalls of an annual WoF

By: Steve Hawes

Are you an owner of a car manufactured since 2000 and therefore enjoying the ‘luxury’ of only needing an annual Warrant of Fitness (WoF)? Are you perhaps guilty of neglecting the maintenance of your vehicle as a result and believe an annual visit to your mechanic is sufficient?

Some would call this a false sense of security. Let’s put it in perspective. If you are commuting from Warkworth to Auckland daily for work – a common situation for a lot of households in our area – you will average approximately 30,000kms in a year. That’s 30,000kms between your annual WoF and the last safety check completed on your car.

This doesn’t account for any weekend excursions or summer road trips, and we know how much Kiwis love their driving.

Brake pads that were half worn at your last WoF are most likely to be close to or completely worn out after another 30,000kms. It’s most likely you will now be experiencing a brake squeak or shuddering when braking and could be risking expensive damage to your brake components.

Tyres that passed your last WoF may well have cords or steel belts now showing on the inside edge. However, they could very well still look fine on the outside edge and are thus invisible to the driver. We have seen many shocking examples of this and it seems to be increasingly common, putting many lives at risk unnecessarily.

Modern headlights are so much more efficient, so you could easily have one not working and not notice. It is just as easy to not be aware that your brake lights have failed.

Obviously, any lights not working create a potential hazard for you as the driver and other traffic around you.

The quality of your last service is also an important factor to consider. Were you informed of work that may be needed before the next WoF? It is standard professional recommendation that regular servicing is carried out at least every 6 months or 10,000kms. Keeping it in perspective, that’s three services a year for the average Warkworth to Auckland daily commuter.

Based on what we are seeing at annual warrant checks, especially as the cars eligible for annual warrants continue to age each year, we cannot stress enough how important it is to have at least one service between warrants. A service is not only maintaining the performance of your car, it is also an opportunity for a professional set of eyes to carry out a safety check of your vehicle, giving you and your family more than a false sense of security.

Steve Hawes, STR Automotive


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