Matt Greenop: WoF system about to get crucial check-up

By Matt Greenop

Every vehicle must have a warrant of fitness, but how often should it be renewed? Photo / Supplied
Every vehicle must have a warrant of fitness, but how often should it be renewed? Photo / Supplied

The moment of truth is upon us. The final date for submissions on changes to our vehicle licensing system is next Wednesday.

Around 2500 submissions have been received by NZ Transport and the Ministry of Transport.

When we asked readers for their views, many wanted to leave the current laws as they are. This is the situation strongly favoured by MTA, which has drafted in Greg Murphy to push the 'hands off the WoF' barrow.

It believes there will be between 7 and 84 additional fatalities and up to 179 more injuries, depending on which option is finally chosen. Morris-driving, self-appointed motoring expert Clive Matthew-Wilson has even accused the Government of hiding potential corpses in its data.

I personally take the view that keeping the current system would be a wasted opportunity - but change for the sake of it is also fraught with potential danger.

There was a lot of evidence that many New Zealanders use the six-monthly warrant as a chance to check their vehicle was safe.

This horrifying piece of information is an unfortunate reality, despite there being many, many things not checked - or at least failed - under current testing standards.

I had an old runabout front-wheel-drive Ford that had some, er issues. I took it for a WoF knowing full well that one CV joint was on its way out, and that one wheel bearing was not far from shot. The car passed.

I asked Mr Clipboard Guy about the CV and bearing and he said they weren't quite bad enough to fail but probably will be by next warrant. Maybe we do need to tighten up the WoF system, for the aged fleet of cars on our roads at least. I'd favour pushing warrants on new cars out to a year for the first three years - but only for private vehicles, not lease, hire or commercials.

To read the Government's proposals, go to tinyurl.com/9l9teu5, and share your thoughts with us on nzherald.co.nz/driven

- NZ Herald

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