Warrant Of Fitness Vs Certificate Of Fitness: What You Need For Your Motorhome
Author: Your RV Good Guide Date Posted: 17 February 2023
If you own a car, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the regular Warrant of Fitness (WoF) test. You may also be aware that some motorhomes require a Certificate of Fitness (CoF).
Your motorhome’s Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness is given after an assessment of its mechanical condition. It certifies that it meets the minimum required safety standards and is safe to drive on New Zealand roads.
If you’re thinking about buying a motorhome, whether it requires a Warrant of Fitness or a Certificate of Fitness is a big consideration. In this helpful guide, we take a look at the differences between the two. We’ll explain what you need to know about WoFs and CoFs when looking at motorhomes and campervans for sale in NZ, including:
- What is tested for a motorhome warrant of fitness
- Where to get a Warrant of Fitness for your motorhome
- Benefits of owning a motorhome that needs a Warrant of Fitness
- What is tested for a motorhome Certificate of Fitness
- Where to get a Certificate of Fitness for your motorhome
- Benefits of owning a motorhome that needs a certificate of fitness
How to know whether your motorhome needs a Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness
Motorhomes include many different types of vehicles, ranging from van and bus conversions to purpose-built vehicles. The standards and safety requirements for your motorhome will depend on its vehicle class. This is determined by its weight and purpose:
- If your campervan has a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 3500 kg or less, it will require a Warrant of Fitness, the same as a conventional family car.
- If your motorhome has a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 3501 kg or more, it will need a Certificate of Fitness. Commercial passenger vehicles of any weight, taxis and rental cars also require a CoF.
What is a Warrant of Fitness for a motorhome?
A Warrant of Fitness is an official document that certifies your vehicle meets the required New Zealand road safety standards. It is issued to passenger cars and light commercial vehicles weighing 3500 kg or less. A WoF can only be issued by a certified WoF inspector. Depending on where you have this done, the cost can vary, but budget for a minimum of $60.
How often you will need to have your WoF renewed depends on when your motorhome was first registered:
- First registered 1999 or earlier - every 6 months.
- First registered 2000 or later – annually.
- Motorhomes less than 3 years old - not required until the third anniversary of registration.
- New motorhomes - after the first inspection, new vehicles don’t require another WoF until the third anniversary of registration.
It is illegal to drive your motorhome if:
- the WoF certification has lapsed
- the WoF label is not displayed
- your motorhome doesn’t meet WoF requirements.
What is tested for a motorhome warrant of fitness
Warrant of Fitness inspections follow the same process with the same checking standards across the country. The inspection includes:
- tyre condition (including tread depth)
- brake operation
- structural condition (rust or other damage isn't allowed in certain areas)
- lights (are all bulbs working and are your headlights aligned?)
- glazing (is your windscreen safe and clear?)
- windscreen washers and wipers (do they work and are they clean?)
- doors (are they secure and do they open and close safely?)
- safety belts (must not be faded or damaged; buckles must work properly)
- airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control
- speedometer (must be working)
- steering and suspension (must be safe, secure, and effective)
- exhaust (there must be no leaks and the exhaust must not be too loud or smokey)
- fuel system (there must be no leaks).
Where to get a Warrant of Fitness for your motorhome
You can get a Warrant of Fitness from approved garages, workshops, and vehicle testing stations throughout the country. This includes places such as VTNZ and AA Auto Centres. RV Super Centre can also facilitate your WoF. Some centres allow drive-ins, while others will require a booked appointment. The WoF testing needs to be carried out by a fully qualified WoF inspector.
Benefits of owning a motorhome that needs a Warrant of Fitness
Many first-time motorhome owners tend to lean toward an RV that requires a Warrant of Fitness over a Certificate of Fitness. Some of the reasons for this include:
- It is cheaper and needs to be done less regularly.
- The WoF process can usually be done fairly quickly, in around 15-20 minutes.
- The process of obtaining a WoF is familiar and easy for most vehicle owners.
- Any motorhome that requires a WoF can be driven on a standard Class 1 full car licence (this applies to any motorhome up to a GVM of 6000 kg).
What is a motorhome Certificate of Fitness?
Similar to a Warrant of Fitness, a Certificate of Fitness is to certify that your motorhome meets the required New Zealand road safety standards. The key difference is that a CoF is performed on heavier vehicles, those that weigh 3501 kg or more. As such, the inspection differs somewhat from that of a WoF.
Depending on where you have this done, the cost can vary from $150 – $250. A CoF must be renewed every six months.
- Just as with a WoF, it is illegal to drive your motorhome if:
- the CoF certification has lapsed
- the CoF label is not displayed
your motorhome doesn’t meet CoF requirements.
What is tested for a motorhome Certificate of Fitness
Depending on the size and type of your motorhome (single axle, tandem axle, fifth wheel, or caravan), there are up to 17 separate aspects that will be checked. Certificate of Fitness inspections. These include:
- tyre condition, including tread depth
- brake condition and operation
- structural condition (rust is not allowed in certain areas)
- towing connection condition and certification
- lights (are all bulbs working? do lights comply?)
- glazing (is your windscreen safe?)
- windscreen washers and wipers
- doors (do they open and close safely?)
- safety belts (must not be faded or damaged, and 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).
Where to get a Certificate of Fitness for your motorhome
You can get a Certificate of Fitness through approved garages, workshops, and vehicle testing stations throughout the country. These include places such as your local RV Super Centre VINZ, AA Auto Centres and VTNZ. Note, VTNZ provide a discount to NZMCA members.
Benefits of owning a motorhome that needs a certificate of fitness
Because motorhomes that require a CoF have a higher GVM, they also have a higher payload. This makes a CoF motorhome a good option if you travel with a lot of gear. Likewise, a CoF motorhome may be preferred if you like to go off-grid for extended periods as you’ll be able to carry bigger water tanks.
How to prepare for a Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness
The following is a simple list of basics worth checking before taking your motorhome for its inspection:
- Lights: Check that all of your lights are in good working order. This includes the indicators, park lights, brake lights, and headlights – both dipped and high beam. Get a friend to help you, or park your motorhome in front of a window so you can see the reflection of the lights.
- Wipers: Make sure these are working properly and that the windscreen-washing function is in good working order. Check that when you use the wipers and liquid your window is left clean and smear-free.
- Seatbelts: These should be in good working condition and free from tears or rips. If possible, remove any child safety seats.
- Tyre pressure and tread: Check that your tyres are in a roadworthy condition and are pumped to the correct pressure.
How to ensure any motorhome repairs meet WoF or CoF standards
It’s important to ensure any repairs or maintenance work done on your motorhome is safe, legal, and will meet WoF or CoF standards.
If your motorhome requires mechanical repairs, check in with our service centre. Our experienced mechanics are motorhome experts and can give you the right advice.
Our team of motorhome experts can also help with modifications such as:
- Installing awnings
- New RV supplies and accessory fitments (fridges, solar panels, satellite dishes etc)
- Window tinting
- Replacing broken and worn parts
For more advice to do with motorhomes, speak to the RVSC team
We hope this guide has helped to explain everything you need to know about WoFs and CoFs. RV Super Centre is your one-stop shop for all things motorhoming. From RV supplies and parts to servicing and campervans for sale.
Need more information? Our helpful team of experts is always available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to contact us for advice. We are always happy to help.