The Motor Trade Association (MTA) urges Kiwi motorists to routinely service and check their vehicles, believing poor car quality contributes massively to the country’s road death rates.
MTA’s own research shows 40 per cent of vehicles failed their first Warrant of Fitness inspection last year. The data covers the entire country and looks at all testing stations or garages that offer WoFs.
Notably, nearly three-quarters of those that failed their first test did pass the second time around.
However, MTA repair sector manager Graeme Swan says that figure is still alarmingly high.
“It means thousands of our cars are not in a fit state to be on our roads at the time they go for their WoF. And vehicles on our roads are getting older, not younger.”
Vehicle stations do not have a pass/fail quota. However, the twelve-month WoF period and Covid-19 extensions mean testing stations are knuckling down to ensure all vehicles they pass meet strict safety standards.
Swan says motorists must not let their vehicles deteriorate to fail quality.
“We encourage all drivers to keep their vehicle in a safe, roadworthy condition.
“Don’t delay getting your vehicle serviced or that unusual noise checked out – it could save you money in the long run, or save a life.”
Swan believes this will play a significant role in helping New Zealand achieve its ‘Road to Zero’ target of having zero road deaths by 2050.
“The state of the fleet plays a part,” he said.
“Vehicle-related factors contribute to around ten per cent of the road toll. This needs to be part of the Road To Zero discussion.
“And even if the crash is caused by other factors, such as driver error, common sense tells you that if your tyres have good tread and your brakes are working properly, you may have a better chance of avoiding an accident.”
MTA’s study revealed the Marlborough region had the lowest percentage of cars failing their first WoF examination with 36 per cent.
Waikato finds itself at the other end of the scale. Just under half (48 per cent) of all cars going for their first WoF test of 2021 failed.
Lights were the leading fail culprit across the country, followed by tyres and then steering/suspension.