Cost of living crisis: Fears Kiwis will be forced to stop paying for car warrant of fitness as expenses rise

Experts are warning the cost of living crisis will lead to people driving without a warrant of fitness (WOF).

New data from Infometrics shows car registrations have dropped 21 percent since last year, sparking fears WOFs have also been put on the back burner.

However, Motor Trade Association advocacy and strategy manager Greig Epps said car safety shouldn't take a back seat - and there are ways to make sure you get yours.

"People are going to be trying to make the best choices with their budgets when money's tight," he told AM. "I guess what we'd say is, we think people should be able to plan ahead - you know when your warrant's going to come up so if you start putting aside $5 or so a month in the lead-up to that WOF inspection, then at least you've got the inspection covered.

"Many repairers are offering various sorts of payment plans now as well and if you talk to your mechanic about planning out the service and repairs that are needed, you should be able to find a way to budget and plan ahead for those costs."

Infometrics also said there was a 9.1 percent increase in the uptake of smaller, second-hand cars in the past 12 months. Epps told AM host Ryan Bridge the increase made sense, given the cost of living crunch.

"The price of petrol… it's been pushed way up. The Government's tried to make a bit of a difference with the fuel excise reduction but really, what you want to be doing is looking at your circumstances and saying, 'How can I get a more fuel-efficient vehicle and save myself some money?' 

"I think people need to just be looking at what their transport needs are."

Inflation has risen to record highs in New Zealand, largely driven by the Russia-Ukraine war and the economic fallout from COVID-19. It's contributing to the cost of living crisis that's seen fuel and food prices skyrocket.