SmartRV’s Patrick Frick looks at what you need to know about having your vehicle inspected
What is the difference between a WOF and a COF?
All commercially-operated vehicles need to have a COF.
In addition, all vehicles more than 3500kg need a COF regardless of whether it is used for private or commercial purposes. COFs need to be renewed every six months and can only be done by a few companies such as VTNZ, VINZ, and a few other approved testing stations.
A WOF can be done by any workshop that employs a qualified warrant inspector. It needs to be renewed every six months if your vehicle is first registered prior to 2000, every 12 months if first registered after 2000, and every three years for new vehicles.
What should I check before I take my vehicle for its WOF/COF?
You should definitely check that the basics such as your lights, horn, and wipers work. If you feel confident, check that tyre depth and condition, and brakes are all legal. Most tyres actually have marks in between the tread that indicate the minimum of 1.5mm.
If you have doubts or just want to be on the safe side, you can get a trusted workshop to check your vehicle prior to inspection.
What are some of the common checks made during a WOF/COF?
- Tyre condition (including tread depth)
- Brake operation
- Structural condition (rust is not allowed in certain areas)
- Glazing (is your windscreen safe?)
- Windscreen washers and wipers
- Doors (do they open and close safely?)
- Safety belts (must not be damaged or overly faded; buckles must work properly)
- Airbags (if fitted)
- Speedometer (must be working)
- Steering and suspension (must be safe and secure)
- Exhaust (there must be no leaks and the exhaust must not be smoky or louder than the original exhaust system)
- Fuel system (there must be no leaks)
What are the safety belt requirements for a motorhome?
If your motorhome was manufactured or converted after October 2003, you are required to have safety belts for all passengers. You need to have at least as many seatbelts as sleeping berths or more.
The driver and passenger seatbelt need to be three-point belts while a middle or rear seat can have a lap belt as a minimum requirement.
Use three-point belts everywhere you can, as they are a lot safer in the event of an accident. Sideway-facing seats need to have a lap belt and cannot be upgraded to a three-point belt.
All passengers are required to wear the provided safety belts during travel. All passengers are also required to keep their seats in the locked position if seats have swivel bases, facing in the direction the seat belt was intended to be used.
If your belts are retrofitted, you need to get a low volume certification for vehicles below 3500kg and a heavy vehicle certification, if above. This will ensure all anchor points have enough support and that the safety belt will be sufficient in an accident.
Aside from my COF, what other vehicle requirements do I need to be aware of?
If you drive a diesel vehicle, you need to display a road user charge label, which has to be current at all times. Failing to display this or it being an expired one can result in a fine.
You can get additional road user charges online, at the post office, or testing stations such as VTNZ and VINZ.
The vehicle weight also regulates your maximum allowed speed. Vehicles above 3500kg are allowed to travel at a maximum of 90km/h. Vehicles below 3500kg can travel at a maximum of 100km/h unless towing a trailer.
Be mindful of what you load into your motorhome as well. You are not allowed to exceed the gross vehicle mass (GVM) and individual axle load as well as your towing capacity at any time for your own safety.