3 Vehicle structure
3-1 Structure (incl. frontal impact)
Reasons for rejection
1. The structure of the vehicle (shaded areas of Figure 3-1-2) has visible:
a) deformation from the original shape that has affected the vehicle’s structural integrity (Note 1) (Note 3) (Note 9) (Figure 3-1-4), or
b) cracking, or
c) fracture, or
d) corrosion damage (Note 2) that is individually larger than 50mm in diameter (Figure 3-1-1), or
e) corrosion damage within 150mm of the top of an A-pillar (Figure 3-1-2), or
f) any corrosion that the inspector considers has caused weakening of a load-bearing structure (Note 6), or
g) poor repairs that have not returned the structure to within a safe tolerance of when it was manufactured (Note 3) (Note 6), eg:
i. filler has been used in an attempt to conceal corrosion damage or deformation of a component
ii. a high strength steel component has been heated
iii. a component has been strengthened.
Modification (Note 5) (see also Introduction 3.1.2: Note 3)
2. The performance of the frontal impact occupant protection system may have been affected by a modification, including an added or removed object, fitting or component, after the vehicle was manufactured if the vehicle has a GVM of 2500 kg or less and:
i. a class MA motor vehicle manufactured from 1 March 1999, or
ii a class MA motor vehicle that was less than 20 years old when it was first registered in New Zealand on or after 1 April 2002, or
iii a class MB or MC motor vehicle manufactured from 1 October 2003, and
b) is not excluded from the requirements for LVV specialist certification (Table 3-1-1).
3. A modification affects the vehicle structure – including an object or fitting affixed after manufacture that is welded to the chassis, sub-frame, cross-member or body of a monocoque structure (Note 7), and
a) is not excluded from the requirements for LVV specialist certification (Table 3-1-1), and
b) is missing proof of LVV specialist or accepted overseas certification, ie:
i. the vehicle is not fitted with a valid LVV vehicle certification plate, or
ii. the operator is not able to produce a valid modification declaration or authority card
iii. the vehicle has not been certified to an accepted overseas system as described in Technical bulletin 13 .
The structure of a vehicle may incorporate crumple zones that form part of a frontal impact occupant protection system.
Corrosion damage is where the metal has been eaten away, which is evident by pitting. The outward sign of such corrosion damage is typically displayed by the lifting or bubbling of paint. In extreme cases, the area affected by the corrosion damage will fall out and leave a hole.
Bumper bar means either the structural part inside a plastic bumper or a complete metal bumper as used on older vehicles. The bumper fascia (bumper cover) is not part of the bumper structure. It is the bumper reinforcement (also known as the bumper beam) that is the actual bumper bar for inspection purposes (see Figure 3-1-3).
The vehicle inspector may request additional relevant information from a repairer or other relevant person. The vehicle inspector should withhold the warrant of fitness if there is reason to believe that the vehicle has:
a) structural damage, or
b) inadequate structural repair(s), or
c) corrosion damage
to the extent that it could affect the vehicle’s structural strength or one of the vehicle’s safety requirements. If the owner questions the decision, the vehicle inspector should recommend the vehicle owner obtain further written assessment from a panel beater.
Note 5 Definitions
Modify means to change a vehicle from its original state by altering, substituting, adding or removing a structure, system, component or equipment, but does not include repair.
Repair means to restore a damaged or worn vehicle, its structure, systems, components or equipment to within safe tolerance of its condition when manufactured, including replacement with equivalent undamaged or new structures, systems, components or equipment.
Where the inspector is presented with a Nissan Terrano or Nissan Mistral vehicle of the type that is fitted with a two-layer (double skin) floor panel, the inspection procedure in Technical bulletin 2 must be followed.
A body lift on a body/chassis vehicle (commonly a 4x4) always requires LVV certification.
Rear bumper removal must still meet external projection requirements.
Dents smaller than 5mm deep and 40mm in diameter (to the outer edges of the crease), such as those caused by hail, in the pillars, cant rail or any other similar roof structure, should not be considered to affect the vehicles structural integrity. Any damage larger than above should be referred to a repairer for additional information (see Figure 3-1-4).
Table 3-1-1. Modifications that do not require LVV certification
Fitting of or modification to:
LVV certification is not required provided that:
Addition of side windows into a panel van or goods van
Cosmetic body kits and components (including utility canopies and plastic bumper skins)
Front bumper bar (removal and change) (Note 2) (Note 8)
Fibreglass replacement panels (that are substituted for OE panels)
Seatbelt anchorages retrofitted after 1 January 1992 in vehicles of classes MA, MB, MC or after 1 March 1999, in vehicles of other classes
Suspension braces (strut tower braces)
Auxiliary bars (including bull bars, nudge bars, external roll cages and A-frames [or similar])
– is a vehicle manufacturer supplied component for that vehicle, or
– has been certified by the auxiliary bar manufacturer as frontal impact compliant (as may be indicated by a label)or
- is an A-frame that meets all of the following requirements:
- is attached to the chassis by means other than welding, and
- components are fit for purpose, and
- the brackets remaining on the vehicle when the A-frame is removed are recessed behind the forward surface of the bumper by no less than 20mm, and
- the brackets are fitted so that they do not bridge the vehicle’s crumple zones or significantly stiffen the front of the vehicle.
Note that an auxiliary bar that does not meet the above minimum requirements is unlikely to meet LVV requirements and so cannot be certified.
Cargo hoist/ cargo lift platform
Stereo equipment and speakers
If fitted to the rear parcel shelf :
If fitted to a part of the vehicle other than the rear parcel shelf:
In-service requirements for performance and condition are met.
Fitting of or modification to:
LVV certification is never required:
Aftermarket sunroof or roof vent/hatch
Any modification for the purposes of law enforcement or the provision of emergency services
The following vehicles with a GVM of 2500kg or less must comply with a frontal impact occupant protection standard:
- Class MA motor vehicles manufactured on or after 1 March 1999
- Class MA motor vehicles that were less than 20 years old when they were first registered in New Zealand on or after 1 April 2002
- Class MB and MC motor vehicles manufactured on or after 1 October 2003.
Figure 3-1-1. Corrosion damage 50mm diameter limit
Figure 3-1-2. Corrosion damage as referred to in Condition above
These include chassis, cross-members and sub-frames, load-bearing monocoque body structures, body mounts and the body on a vehicle with a separate chassis. Other sections also contain Reasons for rejection and diagrams relating to specific vehicle components. See figures for corrosion limits to hinge and latch anchorages (section 6-1), seatbelt anchorages (section 7-5), and front or rear suspension anchorages (section 9-1).
Note that the diagram has been updated to take into account the more modern vehicle structures of common vehicles.
Figure 3-1-3. Bumper structure
The bumper fascia (bumper cover) is not part of the bumper structure. It is the bumper reinforcement (also known as the bumper beam) that is the actual bumper bar for inspection purposes.
Figure 3-1-4. Deformation limits
Summary of legislation
1. The vehicle must be safe to be operated.
2. The components and materials must be fit for their purpose and within safe tolerance of their state when manufactured or modified.
3. The performance of a motor vehicle in relation to protecting occupants in a frontal impact collision must not be reduced below a safe tolerance by any factors, including corrosion, structural damage, material degradation, inadequate repair, the fitting of additional equipment, or the removal of equipment, taking into account:
a) the function of the additional equipment fitted to the motor vehicle after manufacture, and the measures taken to minimise the risk of injury from the equipment;
b) evidence that the motor vehicle is within the manufacturer’s operating limits.
4. A modification that affects the integrity of the vehicle structure must be inspected and certified by an LVV specialist certifier, unless the vehicle:
a) is excluded from the requirement for LVV specialist certification (Table 3-1-1), and
b) has been inspected in accordance with the requirements in this manual, including those for equipment, condition and performance.
Page amended 1 November 2018 (see amendment details)
Page updated 10 December 2019 (see details)
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