IMPORTED VEHICLE INSPECTION
What is compliance and why do vehicles need to be complied; can't I just get it off the boat and drive it? (Car has to be legally road registered, etc)
In The late 1990’s all domestic production of motor cars in New Zealand stopped. Since then New zealand has relied on the import of their vehicles.The key country of origin for used cars continues to be Japan, with 11,286 Japanese used cars imported last month. It was the country of origin for 91% of used cars for the month.
Compliance starts over in japan, once a vehicle has been purchased for permanent export to New zealand. The car will go through a pre-shipment inspection. This includes a Biosecurity screening for both interior and exterior, De-registration and a brief structure inspection to check for physical damage or rust. The vehicle details are then entered into the NZTA database. All the stages mentioned above are regulated by the NZTA
Once the vehicle arrives in New Zealand, the car will need to clear customs. Then go on to “Entry Certification” also known as “compliance” The by-product of this procedure, is a nationwide fleet of Safe, Strong and Security free vehicles on the New Zealand roads.
How is a vehicle complied / what is being looked at / why? (Stripping interior, underbody inspection, etc)
Once a vehicle is presented for entry certification a vehicle inspector authorised by NZTA will oversee documentation relating to the vehicle including the original Japanese export certificate, shipping documentation, ownership and identification.
When this is completed the rest of the vehicle details will be entered into the NZTA database. JDM cars from japan use their chassis numbers as a VIN number. However in New Zealand the car will be given a 17 digit VIN this will be fitted on a small plate. In either the engine bay or on the inside edge of the door wells.
The interior of the vehicles is then disassembled to allow the inspector to check the seat and seat belt anchorages as well as interior structure. While doing this the inspector is looking for evidence of rust or previous repairs to the car. (there is a ZERO rust tolerance)
The car is the reassembled at lifted on a hoist. The wheels, brakes and under panels removed. The inspector then measures all friction material of the braking system while conducting an extremely thorough underbody inspection. When that has been completed, the car continues onto a warrant of fitness inspection.
What are the most common things needing to be fixed for compliance? (Snow tyres, rust, structural damage, etc)
There are a surprising amount of common problems with vehicles from Japan, however most of the problems can be contributed to the environment the car has come from. For example If the vehicle is fitted with snow tyres, the car will more likely than not, be from the northern region of japan. This is where the road can get icey. Because of this the japanese transport department add salt to the roads, therefore the road users get better traction. However the salt on the road will cause most cars to acquire a large amount of rust throughout the underbody of the car.
Also, due to the lack of general maintenance in japan, most of the vehicles consumable items such tyres, brake and small suspension components will need to be replaced during the compliance process.
If my car is heavily modified, what happens here? (Certification, removal of illegal modifications, etc)
Modified cars from japan are extremely common due to the street culture and relaxed rules on modified cars. When the car has completed the compliance inspection, the car will be failed to the vehicle being modified in a manner that requires a LVV certification such as fitted with an aftermarket set of adjustable coilover suspension. The owner will then have 28 days to have the modification certified along with an appropriate LVV plate fitted to the car. the n just as you would for a warrant of fitness, the can be rechecked and passed.