Correct as at 18th August 2019. It may be superseded at any time.

Extract taken from: NZTA Vehicle Portal > VIRMs > Light vehicle repair certification > Technical bulletins

Technical bulletins

1 Inspection for corrosion in Nissan Terrano and Mistral rear floorpan assemblies

VIRM references

This bulletin gives guidance to vehicle inspectors in applying the following requirements in the VIRM: Light vehicle repair certification:

Safety concern

There is concern about corrosion that can occur in Nissan Terrano or Nissan Mistral vehicles of the type whose rear floorpan assembly consists of a two-layer (double-skin) panel. If moisture gets trapped between the two layers of the floorpan, corrosion can occur around the seat or seatbelt anchorages, affecting their integrity. Corrosion can also occur where the under-floor reinforcing panel overlaps the top floor skin.

Clarification

The rear floorpan assembly consists of a two-layer (double-skin) panel. The lower layer is a reinforcing panel spot-welded to the upper layer floor section.

The Terrano has a rear seat with three seating positions. Situated in the rear floor, beneath the seat, are four seatbelt anchorages and two seat anchorages.

The Mistral has a stressed bench seat in the rear (the seatbelts are attached to the seat) with two seat anchorages in the floor and two seatbelt anchorages in the wheel well at the sides of the seat.

Inspection

The inspector must lift the rear seat to examine this area effectively. Any carpet and sound insulating material covering the panel that the seats are mounted on must be pulled back far enough to expose the rear seam of the panel (the area most commonly affected by corrosion). It is important to note that damage may be more extensive than can be detected during this inspection.

The vehicle must fail if any signs of corrosion are detected during the inspection, such as:

  • bubbling of the paint or surface irregularities in the top floor skin or paint
  • a patch repair that has rust around it
  • separation of the reinforcement panel and the top skin
  • discolouration or rust stains at the edges of the reinforcement panel
  • rust holes, or
  • the floorpan on a Nissan Terrano has been ‘patch’ repaired after 8 January 1997, or
  • the floorpan on a Nissan Mistral has been ‘patch’ repaired after 10 November 2003.

A vehicle that has been ‘patch’ repaired before 8 January 1997 (Nissan Terrano) or 10 November 2003 (Nissan Mistral) may pass the inspection provided that:

  • no signs of corrosion are apparent, and
  • there is evidence that the repairs were carried out before the above dates, and
  • the vehicle inspector considers, or there is evidence provided by a qualified panel beater, that the repair is effective and in sound condition.
Repair options

If any corrosion is detected and the vehicle failed, the floorpan must be replaced.

However, for the following models the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA) has provided an alternative option to floorpan replacement.

Nissan Terrano Model D21
  • installation of the LVVTA rear floor load-bar seatbelt anchorage reinforcement system together with a Low Volume Vehicle certification plate containing the following words in the Body/chassis field: LVVTA ‘Rear floor load-bar seatbelt anchorage reinforcement system’.
Nissan Mistral Model R20 5-door
  • installation of the LVVTA rear floor load-bar seatbelt anchorage reinforcement system together with a Low Volume Vehicle certification plate containing the following words in the Body/chassis field: ‘LVVTA Rear floor load-bar seatbelt anchorage reinforcement system’.

For information about these seatbelt anchorage modifications, and for a list of the LVV certifiers who can certify them, see www.lvvta.org.nz.

2 Salvaged airbags

Replaces Repair Certification Information Memorandum #17

VIRM references

This bulletin gives guidance to vehicle inspectors in applying the following requirements in the VIRM: Light vehicle repair certification:

Application

This document applies to light vehicles being certified for entry into New Zealand that require repair certification which involves salvaged airbags.

Safety concerns

An airbag is an explosive device; it must be packaged, transported and labeled appropriately. Damage or deterioration to an airbag may result in the airbag failing to deploy, or deploying incorrectly. This increases the risk of injury to vehicle occupants. The primary concern regarding salvaged airbags is that there is no visual or non-destructive way to determine whether a salvaged airbag will deploy as it is designed to.

Establishing a salvaged airbag’s suitability for use in a repair
1. Inspect the donor vehicle and airbag

Oversee the removal of the airbag from the donor vehicle (photographs are required). Inspect the donor vehicle and the airbag for evidence of damage that may have affected the performance of the airbag, including water damage. If there is anything about the condition of the vehicle or the airbag that casts doubt over the serviceability of the airbag, reject it.

2. Prepare a signed statement

If you determine to the best of your knowledge that the airbag is suitable for use in a repair, you must prepare a signed statement to that effect. The statement must also record the identity of the donor vehicle (including chassis number) and the salvaged airbag part number.

3. Oversee packaging of the airbag

If the airbag is not going to be installed immediately, you must ensure that it is packaged appropriately. Packaging must be robust, absorb shock, offer suitable protection for transportation and have regard to the potential build-up of static electrical charges. The signed statement must be stored with the airbag.

Inspection and certification
1. Check that the airbag is suitable for use in the repair 
  • Check that there is a signed statement from a repair certifier declaring that the airbag is suitable for use in a repair. This document must be retained. If there is no signed statement with the airbag, you must reject it.
  • Check that the airbag part number is recorded (correctly) on the statement and has the correct part number for the recipient vehicle. Reject the airbag if it does not.
  • Visually inspect the packaging before removing the airbag. Inspect the airbag once it has been removed from the packaging. If there is anything about the condition of the packaging or the airbag that casts doubt over the serviceability of the airbag, reject it.
2. Confirm the integrity of the vehicle’s SRS system

Check vehicle manufacturer requirements and verify that the remaining airbag system components (eg the clockspring connector, the steering column and the control module) are fit for further service and have not been damaged by the deployment of the original airbag. The vehicle must not be certified if there is evidence that any of these components are not fit for further service.

3. Operational checks

Do not certify the vehicle if the dash light test indicates that the electronic aspects of the airbag system are not functioning correctly.

3 Declaration for supplementary restraint system and anti-lock braking system inspections

VIRM references

This bulletin gives guidance to vehicle inspectors in applying the following requirements in the VIRM: Light vehicle repair certification:

Application

This document applies to vehicles that require diagnostic checks on electronic control systems during entry certification, for faults identified in the entry or in-service requirements.

Safety concerns

The growing trend towards electronic control of safety-related systems in vehicles means that the repair and re-instatement of electronic control systems is increasingly important. However, specialist equipment and knowledge is required to interrogate the electronic control systems of the various makes and models of vehicles in New Zealand’s fleet. It is important that a vehicle inspector has confidence in any given electronic control system diagnosis.

When the declaration is required
  • When the warning lamp on SRS, ABS and ESC systems illuminates it indicates a fault. Once the fault has been rectified an SRS/ABS/ESC declaration must be supplied by a person listed in 'Inspection requirements' below.
  • If the vehicle is flagged at the border as damaged for warning lamp, and SRS/ABS/ESC declaration must be obtained to remove the flag.
Inspection requirements

Diagnostic checks on electronic control systems, such as supplementary restraint systems (SRS), anti-lock braking systems (ABS) or electronic stability control (ESC) must be carried out by one of the following:

a) The manufacturer of the vehicle or the component, or an approved representative proven to be competent in the use of suitable interrogation equipment.

b) A person or company recognised as reputable and competent by the vehicle inspector, and trained in the interrogation of automotive electronic control systems. This person/company must be proven to have access to and be competent in the use of suitable interrogation equipment.

c) An entry certifier or border entry certifier, trained in the interrogation of automotive electronic control systems, working under an Transport Agency-approved standard operating procedure (Note 1).

A Declaration form for ABS, SRS and/or ESC inspections must be completed by the person/company carrying out a diagnostic check on an automotive electronic control system.
A copy of the declaration must be retained with the vehicle file.

Additional contents

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.

Note 1

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.

Applicable legislation

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.

Note 2

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

5

5

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.

Crossmembers

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.

Cracking

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.
Repaired damage

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.

Note 3

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
Note 4

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
  • 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
    • sub-frames
    • steering
    • suspension member, including their mounting points.

    A vehicle must be specialist repair certified if there is rust heave.

Note 5

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

5

  • 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

Hinge and latch anchorage corrosion damage limits

Figure 4-1-4. Rust heave limits

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.

Inspection

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.

Note 6

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.

Cross-members

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.

Repaired damage

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).

5 Threshold for lifting border damage flag

Reference material

This bulletin explains the threshold a repair certifier must use to determine whether or not a light vehicle may have a border damage flag lifted once the vehicle has been repaired in accordance with the requirements of the light vehicle repair VIRM and a LT308 issued. This procedure must be read in conjunction with the requirements of the light vehicle repair VIRM when assessing vehicle structural integrity.

Applicable legislation

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 border damage flag lifting

Before a vehicle can be considered for border damage flag lifting it must meet the threshold for repair certification as required in Technical bulletin 4 and have been presented to a TSD agent for entry certification and if applicable have a VIN issued and affixed.

Types of repairs that are eligible for border check damage flag removal

Structural repairs
Single panel structural repairs

This means only one structural panel being repaired or replaced. This enables sill repairs, replacement of the outer guard, H/L support panel, rear dog legs, etc to be replaced. A single panel structural repair would in no way affect the chassis alignment of the vehicle. A trammel bar measurement and four-wheel alignment must be carried out as required by section 8-1.

Section 9-4 in terms of component protection also applies to any repairs.

Corrosion damage

Corrosion damage to a structural area where there are no signs of major pitting, swelling or any holes are evident.

Note 1

For the purpose of this threshold, 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 into the external surface.

All areas affected by corrosion must under go a clean and treat process (Note 2).

Note 2

For the purpose of this threshold, clean and treat is defined in the following steps:

1. Abrasive blasting of the affected area, and
2. Affected area coated in rust neutraliser, and
3. Application of a two pack epoxy primer to the affected areas , and
4. Application of final protective coatings, and
5. Application of cavity wax to interior and seams of all affected box sections.

Types of repairs that are not eligible for border check flag removal

Structural repairs

1. Any repair that has affected the chassis alignment of a vehicle and requires 3D chassis alignment, or

2. Damage to multiple panels whether the structural integrity and/or chassis alignment of the vehicle been affected or not (excluding purely cosmetic damage such as hail or vandalism).

Corrosion damage

Any perforated corrosion in a structural area 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.

Any vehicle with rust heave or swelling that will require removal of any original panel or part of panel in order for an area to be patched.

Water or fire damage

No vehicle with water or fire damage may have the damage flag lifted, the normal process as set out in section 9-1 applies.

SRS components

A damage flag will not be lifted if a SRS component has been deployed.

Flag lifting process

Once the repair certifier has issued a LT308 to a vehicle, the entry certifier must fill out the Request to remove border damage flag – light vehicles form and fax this along with a copy of pages 1 and 4 of the LT308 to:

Vehicle Certifiers Register
Palmerston North Office
NZ Transport Agency
Fax: 06 953 6282

Responsibilities

As a repair certifier you will be determining that a vehicle meets this threshold for the lifting of a border damage flag and as such you are required to keep a complete vehicle file which must include photos of but not limited to:

1. damage before repairs have started, and
2. the completed repair before filler and paint application, and
3. the finished repair.

If there are any inconsistencies between what has been flagged as damage and what appears on the vehicle, ie damage flag for damage to L/R dog leg but no damage is found, you must contactthe Transport Agency on 0800 804 580 (press 4, for Inspection and pre-registration) or borderchecks@nzta.govt.nz with the vehicles VIN/chassis number and request the border check damage photo.

Page amended 10 April 2017 (see amendment details).

6 LT307 Declaring that a vehicle doesn't require repair certification

Note: the LT307 cannot be used if the vehicles’ documentation includes the words ‘statutory’, ‘write-off’, ‘salvage’, ‘junked’ or ‘non-repairable’. An LT308 must be used for any of those cases.

The use of the LT307 is actioned when damage flagged by a border inspection organisation (BIO) or entry inspector is deemed by a repair certifier to be not as significant as originally thought.

Certifiers that are using this form to reverse a damage flag on a border entry vehicle must understand the BIO threshold for applying a damaged flag and VIRM: Entry certification inspection threshold for repair certification, and carry out a thorough inspection of the vehicle in question.

To issue an LT307 the certifier must first determine that no remedial work (that requires specialist repair certification) is required to the entire vehicle.

If any remedial work is required to a vehicle for entry purposes, then an LT308 must be issued after remedial work has been completed.

The LT307 is to be used solely to reverse a request for an LT308 by BIO or an entry inspector or to use when a marginal vehicle is referred by a KSDP for assessment where the damage may be marginal/non-structural.

Responsibilities

The repair certifier is solely responsible for the outcome of the inspection; filing and supplying supporting evidence is required for Transport Agency auditing purposes.

Procedure

  • When a vehicle is presented to the repair certifier it is their responsibility to ensure that a thorough inspection is carried out to the area of concern.The repair certifier is only able to issue an LT307 after the vehicle has completed the compliance entry inspection.
  • If during the repair certifier’s inspection, the repair certifier identifies other areas of concern that would require an LT308, then an LT308 must apply.
  • The repair certifier may request the stripping of the vehicle to do a thorough inspection.
  • The vehicle must be hoisted for the inspection (a two-post hoist is preferred for underbody inspections.)
  • The repair certifier may require a trammel check and/or a four wheel alignment as part of the inspection.
  • On completion of the inspection, only if the repair certifier can issue an LT307 without performing any repairs what so ever, then and only then, is it permissible for the repair certifier to issue an LT307. (eg if inspecting surface rust and the certifier requires only that the area need to be treated with rust converter or cavity wax, then a LT308 must apply)
  • The repair certifier ID code, the area inspected, and a note that an LT307 was issued, is to be entered into the gnote screen on LANDATA by the repair certifier.

Applicable references

VIRM: Light vehicle repair certification

Refer to applicable sections depending on individual situation.

VIRM: Border inspection of imported used vehicles

Requirements

Photographs of the inspection and a copy of the LT307 are to be kept on file.

The repair certifier is to take photographs of the inspection, note any measurement checks, keep copies of any wheel alignment reports, Declaration form for SRS and/or ABS inspections form and trammel measurement.

When filling out the LT307 the repair certifier must use wording similar to the VIRM: Light vehicle repair certification: Technical bulletin 4: Threshold for requiring repair certification and Technical bulletin 5: Threshold for lifting border damage flag

The repair certifier is to keep copies of the LT307 on file.

Flow chart steps.

Flowchart

Page amended 10 April 2017 (see amendment details).

7 Certification of vehicles written off for hail/malicious/vandalism damage

The steps below are used when certifying a vehicle that has been written off for hail damage or malicious damage or vandalism.

  1. An LT308 (not an LT307) must be issued to certify any written off vehicle, whether it is a statutory or economic write-off
  2. If there is any evidence suggesting water ingress (broken glazing, damp carpets, hydro-locked engine, etc.) the vehicle must be treated as a water damaged vehicle.
  3. In making a determination on proceeding with the vehicle, the specialist repair certifier must be satisfied that the vehicle has only suffered cosmetic exterior hail or malicious/vandalism damage (interior/exterior) and no other damage has occurred that would affect any safety systems.
  4. Following the requirements from the VIRM, a request to remove the damage flag may be submitted if the specialist repair certifier has determined that the damage is only cosmetic or superficial and hasn’t affected the vehicle’s structure and no remedial work is necessary to enable entry certification.
  5. To promote consumer awareness of the vehicle’s history, check that the vehicle appears on the Transport Agency list for damaged and written-off vehicles. If it isn’t listed, send an email to FRR@nzta.govt.nz with a copy of the PPSR to have it added to the list prior to issuing an LT308.

Page added 10 April 2017 (see amendment details).