4 Threshold for requiring repair certification
The following information gives guidance to vehicle inspectors in determining whether or not a light vehicle (including motorcycles where applicable) undergoing entry certification in New Zealand requires repair certification by a specialist repair certifier.
Specialist repair certifier in this case means a light vehicle repair certifier or heavy vehicle specialist certifier as applicable to the vehicle class.
Important: If the vehicle documentation (eg a registration document or invoice) contains the words ‘statutory’, ‘write-off’, ‘salvage’, ‘junked’ or ‘non-repairable’ the vehicle must be referred to a specialist repair certifier.
A repair to a vehicle (including its structure, systems, components or equipment) must restore the damage or wear to within safe tolerance of its state when manufactured or modified.
Criteria for reporting structural damage or corrosion
The criteria detailed below must be used when deciding if any damage or corrosion should be referred to a repair certifier.All damage meeting this criteria and found in the energy management path areas must be reported.
The important distinction when applying these criteria is:
- Whether the area identified as damaged by impact, previous repair, or corrosion is structural or cosmetic, and
- Whether the extent of damage is sufficient to compromise the structural integrity of the motor vehicle, or
- Whether evidence of damage, previous damage repair, or heat damage is present in a structural area, or energy management path of the motor vehicle.
Photographs illustrating examples of structural damage and corrosion are shown in VIRM: Entry certification, Reference material 71.
Damage/deterioration that must be referred to a repair certifier
Under-body impact damage
A vehicle must be referred to a specialist repair certifier if it has underbody damage as a result of a collision with a substantial object, sufficient to cause the splitting of seam welds, distortion of suspension members or mounting points, or tearing of metal structures, excluding floorpan stiffeners.
When distinguishing between floorpan stiffening members and cross-members, note that a member that runs through the line of a seat or occupant area will not be an energy absorbing-member (ie its purpose is to reinforce the floorpan), while a member that runs alongside a seat or occupant area should be treated as an energy absorbing-member (ie a chassis rail).
Denting or distortion
- A vehicle must be referred to a specialist repair certifier if there is any discernible denting or distortion to the folds or swages in the dog leg, sill panel or structure of the inner/outer sill weld seam, other than minor scraping.
- A vehicle must be referred to a specialist repair certifier if rocker panels (outer sills) are dented or creased lengthways along the sill and the depth of the crease exceeds 25mm (see Figure 4-1-1).
- A vehicle must be referred to a specialist repair certifier if rocker panels (outer sills) are vertically dented or creased across the sill regardless of the depth of the crease or dent (see Figure 4-1-1).
Figure 4-1-1. Outer sills cross section and rocker panels
Crush zones and kick-up areas
A vehicle must be referred to a specialist repair certifier if there is distortion of the longitudinal rails affecting the front and rear crush zones and kick-up areas.
A vehicle must be referred to a specialist repair certifier if there is denting or distortion of the crossmember as a result of collision with an object.
A vehicle must be referred to a specialist repair certifier if there is cracking in:
- the unibody or chassis
- any crossmembers and subframes
- a load bearing member, or energy management paths in unibody structures
- the body of a vehicle with a body-over-frame chassis in the energy management paths, engine mounts, suspension mounts, body mounts, pillars, or sills.
A vehicle must be referred to a specialist repair certifier if signs of fresh repair, rust prevention or under-sealing to any part of the vehicle structure are evident.
Supplementary Restraint System (SRS): Airbags and seatbelt pretensioners
A vehicle must be referred to a specialist repair certifier if it has a deployed airbag or seatbelt pretensioner, or there is evidence of repairs to or tampering with airbag module covers. (including colour variations in plastic covers to steering wheels, dash panels, interior trim, or non-original stitching to seat mounted airbags). A vehicle must be reported if the SRS warning light stays illuminated when the engine is running.
Unless there is evidence that the airbag has been deployed, it is not expected that the vehicle go to a specialist repair certifier if it has a sports steering wheel fitted with no airbag at entry and is failed and requested that the OE steering wheel be reinstated.
If the airbag has not been deployed it is only expected that the original steering wheel be reinstated and an SRS declaration issued in line with Technical bulletin 3.
Water or fire damage
For the purposes of the threshold for requiring repair certification, evidence of water damage may be physical evidence, or it may be that the vehicle has been written-off for insurance purposes as a result of water damage.
- Corrosion damage is where the metal has been eaten away, which is evident by pitting. The outward signs of such corrosion damage are typically displayed by the swelling of a panel between spot welds, or lifting or bubbling of paint. In extreme cases, the area affected by the corrosion damage will fall out and leave a hole.
A vehicle must be specialist repair certified if there is corrosion damage in:
- any structural area, as indicated in the shaded areas of Figure 4-1-2
- suspension member, including their mounting points.
A vehicle must be specialist repair certified if there is rust heave.
Corrosion damage includes any signs of ‘rust bleed’.
Rust bleed is a rust coloured stain or mark that appears around an area of corrosion that may not be visible. Rust bleed is most commonly found where panels join or overlap when corrosion has started between the two surfaces and moisture has caused a rust stain or mark to run onto the external surface.
- Perforated corrosion is where the metal is corroded to the extent that it has holes, or holes are exposed when rust scale is removed. If metal is badly pitted causing a loss of metal thickness it must also be treated as perforated corrosion.
If there is perforated corrosion in any other (non-structural) area, as indicated in the non-shaded areas of Figure 4-1-2, the vehicle requires to be reported.
Figure 4-1-2. Structural corrosion damage limits
- Repair of corrosion on doors, bonnets, hatches and boot lids within a 150mm circle around the outside of hinge or latch components will require specialist repair certification. These ‘no corrosion’ zones are circled in Figure 4-1-3.
- Replacement of these parts will not require specialist repair certification, provided the inspector is satisfied that safety systems are not affected (eg side intrusion beams, burst proof locks, frontal impact systems).
Figure 4-1-3. Hinge and latch anchorage corrosion damage limits
Figure 4-1-4. Rust heave limits
Permitted cosmetic damage/deterioration
Cosmetic damage to the motor vehicle’s outer body panels is permitted, providing it does not affect the structural integrity of chassis, the energy management paths, or any of the bonded or welded seams or joints as a result of the manufacturing process.
Cosmetic parts on a unibody chassis are generally bolt on items such as the front guard, boot-lid, and in most cases the doors.
Photographs illustrating examples of cosmetic damage are shown in VIRM: Entry certification, Reference material 72.
A list of specific types of damage follows. It explains the extent to which damage is allowed before a vehicle must be reported.
Underbody impact damage
A vehicle does not require specialist repair certification if it has minor underbody impact damage as a result of ‘grounding’ the vehicle or some scraping of the sill seams.
A vehicle does not require specialist repair certification if there is crushing or tearing of floorpan stiffening members (Note 5), provided it does not affect any internal cross-members designed for side-impact protection.
When distinguishing between floorpan stiffening members and cross-members, note that a member that runs through the line of a seat or occupant area will not be an energy absorbing member (ie its purpose is to reinforce the floorpan), while a member that runs alongside a seat or occupant area should be treated as an energy absorbing member (ie a chassis rail).
Denting or distortion
A vehicle does not require specialist repair certification if rocker panels (outer sills) are dented or creased lengthways along the sill to a depth of less than 25mm.
A vehicle does not require specialist repair certification if it has minor jacking damage to a cross-member, provided there is no indication of loss of steering or suspension alignment.
A vehicle with repaired damage does not require reporting if repairs are only to correct cosmetic damage to the outer body panels, provided the vehicle inspector is able to discern the extent of the damage and confirm that none of the vehicle manufacturer’s seams or joints have been disturbed during the repair.
Vehicles flagged for damage at the border
When a Border Inspection Organisation identifies damage on a vehicle during the border check, the vehicle will be flagged as damaged on LANDATA. If the vehicle inspector determines that the damage does not exceed the threshold for requiring repair certification, an application must be made to remove the damage flag. See Technical bulletin 6: LT307 Declaring that a vehicle doesn't require repair certification.
A ‘Request to remove border damage flag’ form is available from the light vehicle repair forms page. The vehicle inspector must complete this form and give it to the inspecting organisation supervisor authorised to remove damage flags. Before removing the flag, the inspecting organisation must check BIS photos for correlation with repair forms (LT307/LT308).
Repair certification and damage flags
A vehicle may have a damage flag removed if it has been repaired in accordance with the requirements of Technical bulletin 5 the VIRM: Light vehicle repair certification and it has been requested by a repair certifier, as mentioned in the LT308.
Page amended 7 October 2016 (see amendment details).
- 1 Vehicle identification
- 2 Vehicle structure
- 3 Vision
- 4 Entrance and exit
- 5 Vehicle interior
- 6 Brakes
- 7 Steering and suspension
- 8 Vehicle measurement
- 9 General repairs
- 10 Motorcycles
- Technical bulletins
- 1 Inspection for corrosion in Nissan Terrano and Mistral rear floorpan assemblies
- 2 Salvaged airbags
- 3 Declaration for supplementary restraint system and anti-lock braking system inspections
- 4 Threshold for requiring repair certification
- 5 Threshold for lifting border damage flag
- 6 LT307 Declaring that a vehicle doesn't require repair certification
- 7 Certification of vehicles written off for hail/malicious/vandalism damage
- 8 Repairer categories, capabilities and requirements