“Letting a rego lapse is an easy mistake, but one that you’ll probably only make once.”

aa issues rego warning

The AA has seen an increase in owners seeking advice on deregistered vehicles with many unaware rego is automatically cancelled if they go unlicensed for 12 months.

With reminders easily overlooked or financial restraints delaying payments, unsuspecting owners have been surprised to discover their cars can no longer be legally driven.

Allister Wade, AA Motoring Services’ technical adviser, says Kiwis often don’t realise that a vehicle must be both registered and subsequently licensed to be legally driven on the road, and a car must be licensed continuously whether driven or not.

“When a vehicle is registered, it is added to the motor vehicle register and number plates assigned – this is usually a one-off,” says Wade. “A licence, which is commonly called your rego, is the fee you pay every six months or annually to use your vehicle on the road.

“Once a lapsed licence goes past the point of no return at 12 months, to get the vehicle back on the road, it must undergo a similar process to a newly imported car.

“It’s not simply a case of paying the rego fees and hitting the road. You need a physical inspection by a certifier, which will set you back between $400 and $500.

“If it passes that, you’ve then got to pay for registration and plates, which can cost up to $400 depending on the car’s ACC levy band. And without a licence a vehicle cannot be driven, so even getting it somewhere to remedy the situation is hard.

“Letting a rego lapse is an easy mistake to make but one that you’ll probably only make once.”

To keep up to date with payments and reduce the risk of a vehicle registration lapsing, the AA encourages people to check the label on their car and set up their own reminder or calendar alert.

“We all lead busy lives, and it can be hard to keep on top of vehicle admin, and while Waka Kotahi NZTA send reminders, if your address isn’t up to date and you are relying on that reminder in the post, you’re going to run into trouble,” adds Wade.

“And for Kiwis struggling financially, there is an option to put the rego on hold if you aren’t driving or if you need to keep your car on the road to postpone registration payment. There’s a small cost to do this.”

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