Knowledge Base

... to help builders & modifiers, not to hinder them.

"The approval system is provided, to help builders and modifiers, not to hinder them. This chapter may look at first glance like more bureaucracy, but in fact, it is quite the opposite. By providing the Technical Advisory Committee with information on what you want to do, these experts can help you by pointing out any potential areas of concern, ideas which could save you time, or processes which could produce better results. The main objective of this process is to provide you with the best possible chances of building a vehicle that will meet the requirements of the LVV certification process when, inevitably, you reach that critical point.....""Before starting down the track of building a hobby car, there are two things that a builder needs to thoroughly consider.


'The NZ Car Construction Manual'

Support - Knowledge Base

The LVVTA Technical Team continuously compiles a database of questions and answers relating to vehicle modifications and the LVV System, to provide you with this knowledge base. This knowledge base will constantly evolve to ensure it provides the best possible source of information.

Copyright notice

The information provided on this page is for personal use only, and may not be reproduced or used in any other publication without the written permission of LVVTA.

How it works

Select a category to the left, and then scroll through the topics until you find the information you're looking for. You can also search for specific words or phrases by clicking command + f (Mac) or control + f (Windows) and typing the word or phrase into the search box.

If you can't find the help you need, please don't hesitate to contact us.


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LVV Info-sheets (links in text)
NZ Car Construction Manual

I’m looking at importing a pick-up that’s got a bolt-in C-notch fitted. Will this pass cert?
We’ve seen quite a few vehicles come through with these, and to date, we haven’t seen one that a certifier has deemed strong enough for the job. While you may only use the vehicle for show-type purposes and never have a load on the tray, the next owner may fit a tow bar and/or load up the vehicle with tools etc, putting plenty of pressure on the rear end of the chassis, which will likely end up in a bent chassis… not ideal, and certainly not something a certifier would be willing to put their name to. So, while it’s not specifically mentioned anywhere, it’s not an advisable modification to make. If you’re importing a vehicle with it already fitted, be prepared that it may need to be replaced by a more suitable fully-welded item.

I’ve got an old project that has live plates (rego on hold). I’m looking at putting a chassis from a different car under it. From what I’ve read, if I swap the chassis it will become a scratch built? If this is so, how will this affect my plates? Or will I need to keep 60% of the factory chassis rails to keep it classed as a modified vehicle to keep my plates?
You’re right; using a chassis from a different vehicle will make it a scratch-built. You’ll then need to comply with some extra requirements that may not ne applicable to your vehicle now, such as burst-proof door locks, collapsible steering column, convert to right hand driver etc. To remain as a modified production; you can make modifications but you need to retain 60% of the original chassis. There are some situations where a replacement chassis can be used - click here for more information (Infosheet 02-2013 New ‘Scratch-built’ and ‘Modified Production’ Definitions).

I would like to C-Notch my car but I’m unsure of the steps I need to take. Do I do my C-Notch then take it to the certifier in a finished state or do I have to apply for a cert before I start?
The certifier will need to see the finished vehicle to be able to certify it, but it is advisable to contact him early so he can do an interim inspection and offer advice on the right method of the modifications – it is a major structural change so needs to be done correctly. The New Zealand Car Construction Manual has information on chassis modifications such as this.

Can a complete 3x2 RHS chassis be chromed?
Yes, so long as the entire chassis is mild steel (not high tensile steel) and the weld is also low tensile material. Chroming high tensile steels can introduce hydrogen embrittlement issues.

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Low Volume Vehicle Standard 195-00(00) (Suspension Systems)
LVV Info-sheets (links in text)
NZ Car Construction Manual

How do I work out the 5% height tollerence?
Here is a quick-reference table that gives you the 5% tollerence on suspension heights between 260mm and 355mm.

I’m looking at importing a set of drop spindles out of The States, what are the requirements for the cert as far as these go?
Your LVV certifier will inspect the spindles during the certification process. If the LVV Certifier is satisfied that the manufacture and construction of the spindle is up to a high standard, he will pass the spindles. If however, he is not satisfied (for example if the spindle is of inferior quality, or has been welded, or he is unhappy with any aspect of the quality of the spindle) he will refer the item to the Technical Advisory Committee for a component approval. If not available, tests may be required to say what materials they are made from and what heat treatment processes they have had and this information forwarded to the Technical Advisory Committee.

I want to get some springs compressed for my car, will I be able to get a WOF or will I need to get a cert?
This is the information taken from the ‘modification threshold’ found in the WOF guide (VIRM)

  • the springs or shock absorbers are direct replacements, and
  • replacement springs are contained within unmodified OE seats throughout full suspension travel, and
  • replacement springs are self-retaining in their seats at full extension, without the use of non-standard devices such as wire-ties, straps, or external spring locators, and
  • replacement springs have not been heated or cut, and
  • springs and spring seats are not height adjustable by any means (unless OE), and
  • replacement shock absorbers, including air-adjustable units, fit unmodified OE mountings, and
  • suspension maintains sufficient travel for safe operation when fully laden, and
  • suspension components maintain sufficient clearance from unmodified bumpstops when fully laden, and
  • a minimum of 100mm ground clearance (unladen and without driver) exists below any part of the vehicle structure, or any steering, braking or suspension component2, and
  • the normal relationship between front and rear suspension height is not unduly affected.
  • note 2: Does not include such items as exhaust pipes and exterior body panels that do not contribute to the structural strength of the vehicle.

Can a vehicle be certified that is constantly sitting on the bump stops?
No - All low volume vehicles must be fitted with purpose-designed bump-stops that are positioned to provide sufficient clearance from any suspension components so as to allow suspension travel suitable for the safe operation of the vehicle when fully laden.

Can I lower my car by flipping my leaf springs?
No - the New Zealand Car Construction Manual states that flipping springs is not allowed and cannot be certified: “A low volume vehicle must not be lowered by the fitting of a leaf spring mounted in the upside-down position”.

What is the maximum height of lowering block I can use on my leaf springs?
The maximum height must be no more than 50mm and they must be securely fitted and have the same or more seating area than the original fitment and be made of metal and be designed for the purpose.

Can air cylinder suspension be LVV certified?
Yes, air cylinder suspension can be certified for NZ roads, so long as it has been installed properly and the suspension is made buy a reputable automotive brand. Refer to LVV Info-sheet – Learn More

Can I fit airbag or hydraulic suspension to my car?
Airbags aren't a problem in principle; they've been used on trucks for years, then adapted for ambulances, disability vehicles and buses, and in more recent times adapted into a role in the hot rodding world. The reason the airbag system is OK in principle is because all that is really happening is that the spring is replaced with an airbag, so the suspension system still operates more or less as it was designed to. With a few safety features built in it can be a great system, and the New Zealand Car Construction Manual covers all the do's and don'ts. Hydraulics however, are a whole different deal. Most hydraulic systems you see, such as on the Mexican lo-riders, where the systems originated, are based around a very short, massively-rated spring, and a hydraulic ram, which means that all of the essential operating principles of a good suspension system for road use are gone. We have done a lot of work on this subject. The system has to retain normal suspension operation, which means sensible spring rates and shock absorbers, and lots of fail-safe systems. We don't want to sound like a bunch of old grand-dads about this, but you've got to take the safety aspects of this hydraulic deal seriously. Again, theNew Zealand Car Construction Manual covers all the do's and don'ts.

I know that cut springs are illegal, but what about heated and compressed springs? I've got all the stuff at my work to do it, but was just wondering if I should or not?
A modification to the length of a spring by heating and re-setting the free length can only be done by a recognised spring manufacturer, who will re-temper the spring using the correct process for that particular steel. This will involve a process such as heat-soaking the spring to an accurate high temperature, then quenching it in oil and re-heating it again to a different high temperature, and cooling slowly. If that's not done correctly with the right temperatures and evenly over the whole spring, the spring will sag after a short time, or break. Sorry, but this is a job for the experts!

Lowered suspension. My car measures 120mm, but it has a fiberglass front bumper and side-skirts that have about 75mm clearance, is this ok for a WoF?
Yes it is ok. If a vehicle has suspension modifications that cause the available clearance between the underside of the vehicle and the ground to be reduced to less than 100mm, the vehicle must be referred to a low volume vehicle certifier for certification. If there is 100 mm of ground clearance (and provided all other criteria are met), no LVV certification is required. The LVV Certification Threshold Schedule (found in the LTSA Vehicle inspection Requirements Manual [In-service Certification]) says that: 'LVV certification is not required provided that a minimum of 100 mm ground clearance exists below any part of the vehicle structure, or any steering, braking, or suspension component.' A footnote at the bottom of the page (page 9-1-4) states that: 'this does not include such items as exhaust pipes and exterior body panels that do not contribute to the structural strength of the vehicle'


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LVV Info-sheets (links in text)
NZ Car Construction Manual

I want to replace my SRS airbag steering wheel with a sports steering wheel. Does it need to be certified?
You can’t remove an air bag from a vehicle unless it is at least 14 years old. At the point the vehicle reaches 14 years old it is allowed, however the vehicle must be LVV Certified. Refer to LVV Info-sheet – Learn More

Can a vehicle be certified that is constantly sitting on the bump stops?
No - All low volume vehicles must be fitted with purpose-designed bump-stops that are positioned to provide sufficient clearance from any suspension components so as to allow suspension travel suitable for the safe operation of the vehicle when fully laden.


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Low Volume Vehicle Standard 35-00(00) (Braking Systems)
LVV Info-sheets (links in text)
NZ Car Construction Manual

Cardan Shaft handbrakes – are they legal?
A Cardan Shaft handbrake can be used, provided the vehicle is fitted with a dual-circuit master cylinder. This is detailed in theNew Zealand Car Construction Manual chapter 8.9.4.

Can I install a push button handbrake?
Yes, you can use a system such as this. These are already reasonably common in vehicles adapted for disabled drivers, and provided it’s of adequate quality the certifier should have no problem approving it.

Do brake upgrade kits require LVV certification?
Yes if the brake calipers are different from OE then yes you will require LVV certification.

Do stainless steel brake hoses and fittings need to be LVV certified?
Stainless brake fittings and braided hoses don’t require LVV certification; they fall outside the LVV threshold table. In terms of meeting WOF standards though the fittings would have to be made from a reputable automotive brand. Refer to LVV Info-sheet – Learn More

Can I have a hydraulic handbrake certified for road use?
No - you can’t have a hydraulic handbrake fitted unless it is covered by a Motorsport NZ Authority Card. Refer to Motorsport NZ's website (external link) – Learn More

Brake upgrade on a 94 Mivec Mirage: The car has the same brake setup as a GSR Lancer - however my PCD is 4x100 (instead of 4 x 114). I plan to use a DBA slotted rotor from an early Evo and either an EVO or Wilwood caliper.
1. Can I re-drill the rotors to suit a 4 X 100 PCD?
2. The EVO rotor is 20mm bigger and all the other measurements are the same i.e. thickness, height etc.... except the centre hole on the evo rotor is 69mm versus my current rotors 64mm - This will bolt up fine but will it get a cert?
3. Can I weld a bracket to mount an aftermarket caliper?
Might be OK, and might not be. There's two rules of thumb that kick in here. Firstly, never ever weld up the holes from one set of studs in a casting, which in nearly all cases a hub is (gets all very scientific and complicated as to why not - just take our word for it that it shouldn't be done); and secondly don't re-pitch a 4-stud hub to a 5-stud, or any other odd combination. A 4 onto 4 like what you want to do is usually OK, especially if the PCD's are only slightly different, because there's tons of room for you to simply re-drill your new PCD in between the old one. Having said that however, that will only work if it's not a situation where the rotor is a separate item to the hub, because in this case the area between the wheel studs is usually used to attach the rotor to the hub. Make sure you use someone who really knows what they're doing though - if you don't know anyone suitable, ask your LVV certifier. In a perfect world, every wheel would locate snugly over the hub centre spigot, so that the hub is supporting the weight of the wheel, and the wheel nuts or bolts (bolts like RX2 Mazda etc) are only clamping the wheel against the hub. In reality, there are probably dozens if not hundreds of fitments every day where this doesn't happen, so the wheel nuts or bolts both clamp and support the weight of the wheel, but, provided everything else is right, history tells us it shouldn't be a problem, and it can be LVV certified like it. LVVTA certainly recommends having that spigot support, and reputable wheel manufacturers actually provide spacer rings that fill lots of common gap sizes so that this can be achieved. Re the caliper bracket; it depends if you're talking about welding two or more pieces of a fabricated caliper bracket, or welding a caliper bracket to the suspension hub or stub axle. If it's the former, it can be done, but you'll need to be dealing with a seriously specialised, competent, and reputable expert, with NDT (crack-testing) carried out afterwards. If it's the latter however, welding to a hub or stub axle is an absolutely no-way, no-can-do, forget-it scenario, because of the problems associated with welding a forging or a casting.

Brake upgrade with power increase. Is there a point where brakes must be upgraded, or does it just come down to them being tested when I go the cert?
No, there isn't a cut-off point that says bigger brakes have to be fitted. As you can imagine the number of potential vehicles/conversions is almost infinite, so it would be near impossible to regulate. Then add to that the fact that some cars come out from the factory with useless brakes (VN Commodore for example) whilst other cars have such awesome braking systems that you can throw gobs more power at them and they're still just fine (Honda VTiR/SiR etc). As you rightly mention, decent performance brake pads on the front can make a huge difference (cures the Commodores), likewise direct brake rotor replacements from an aftermarket supplier like DBA can give a great improvement also (through better material composition). Neither of these two mods require a LVV cert. So to answer your question, the determination as to whether or not your brakes are man enough for their new job, is made by the LVV certifier as part of his inspection process. In the case of a power upgrade, he carries out not just a one-off performance test, but a cyclic brake-resistance fade test, slowing the car from 100 kph to 0 several times in immediate succession, which ensures that after repeated applications (simulating a hard twisty and hilly road work-out) you're not going to run out of stoppers. The LVV certifiers often find that the brakes are good once, maybe twice, but often on the third or fourth application the pedal's gone rock hard and car just keeps on going. The best advice for those of you doing an engine upgrade or conversion, and wanting to retain the standard brakes, is before you take your car in for its cert, firstly make sure the brakes are all in good condition (fresh good quality fluid etc), and secondly, talk to a specialist and fit a good quality set of aftermarket pads to the front. A final word of caution here - don't go too wild on the pads - the pads that serious race cars use require a lot of heat to build them up to a point where they work properly (some pads will need one or two hard-out laps around Pukekohe before they're fully in business - these are not suitable for road-going performance cars, they can be dangerous.


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Engine & Drive-train

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Low Volume Vehicle Standard 85-40(00) (Engine & Drive-train Conversions)

LVV Info-sheets (links in text)
NZ Car Construction Manual


Why do modified wastegates need to be certified?
This is written in section 13-1 Engine and transmission of the NZTA Vehicle inspection requirements manual (VIRM) threshold guide. Note 2; LVV certification is always required for the fitting of a supercharger or turbocharger as a modification, or the upgrading of a supercharger, turbo or wastegate, or the re-chipping of electronic engine control units on turbo vehicles. Note 3 Externally venting wastegates (screamer pipes) are not permitted as they are not adequately muffled and the exhaust gasses passing through the wastegate are not directed through the vehicle’s exhaust system. However, wastegates that have their own exhaust system or exhaust pipe exiting behind the passenger compartment are permitted. The wastegate controls turbo boost by relieving exhaust pressure. The wastegate is usually controlled by a vacuum-fed actuator. The most common method to increase boost is to change the pressure fed to the actuator, either by mechanical changes or by an electronic controller. This gives a decent power increase. It is usually only necessary to change the wastegate when you are after bigger power increases. The threshold for certification is 20% so it is easy to assume that an engine with modified wastegate has had other changes and will be over the threshold too.

Does an auto to manual gearbox conversion require certification?
Yes, all gearbox conversions require certification as the braking system has usually been affected with alteration or modification to the brake pedal-box.

I have done a custom engine conversion and there is no physical room for a front engine mount due to the exhaust down pipe and top mount manifold location. Do I need a front engine mount for certification?
In a front drive engine this mount would be important to control the torque of the engine. It may be possible to do without this mount but there would need to be enough torque control in the remaining engine mounts to handle this on their own. We suggest that you discuss your particular requirements with your LVV certifier or with a modifier who has had a similar modification LVV certified in the past – in a situation like this, there is no substitute for being able to see the vehicle and figure out the best solution.

I’m about half way through putting a LS1 in to a VS Commodore – do I have to run a catalytic converter?
It depends; here is the exact wording from the LVV Exhaust Gas Emissions Standard (
Modified production low volume vehicle that are required to be fitted with catalytic converters
2.5(1)A modified production low volume vehicle that has undergone an engine conversion, other than one to which 2.5(3) to 2.5(6) applies, is required to have its exhaust gases directed through one or more catalytic converters, if:
(a)the vehicle was manufactured after 1 January 1990; and
(b)the vehicle was first registered in New Zealand after 1 May 2010; and
(c) the retro‐fitted engine was originally manufactured in either:
(i)the United States of America on or after 1 January 1975; or
(ii)Europe or the United Kingdom on or after 1990; or
(iii)Japan on or after 1 January 1985; or
(iv)Australia on or after 1 January 1986

What are the rules around gearbox crossmember modification? I’ve put a different gearbox into my car and the old cross member doesn’t fit anymore. Do I have to get a complete new crossmember fabricated or can I just have the current one modified? Also, what material and thickness am I allowed to use? And does it matter if its TIG or MIG welded?
Yes- you can modify your existing cross member. The material size will really depend on the extent of the modification, but should be no less than that of the existing cross member. TIG or MIG is OK. Builders can carry out their own chassis and other non-critical component welding even if they are not formally qualified, providing that the builder meets the requirements of a particle test applied by an LVV Certifier. This test has been developed specifically to enable competent people to carry out their own structural welding if they so desire.

  • When does a Drive-shaft safety loop need to be fitted to a Low Volume Vehicle?
    A front-engine, rear-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive low volume vehicle that has undergone an engine conversion, or has had its factory-fitted engine significantly modified, such that a significant increase in power or torque has resulted, must be fitted with an effective 360-degree front drive-shaft loop, mounted within 150 mm behind each universal joint at the front of each drive-shaft section.

  • Will my vehicle require LVV certification if I increase the engine size?
    Yes the LVV threshold table states that the replacement engine must be equal or lesser capacity than the OE engine so LVV certification is required.

    Will I require LVV certification if I increase the power of my engine?
    LVV certification will be required if the increase in power is more than 20%. Adding a supercharger or turbocharger automatically requires certification.

    I am converting my Honda Integra to RWD with the help of a Honda S2000 engine, gearbox and driveline. Should I enlist the help of an LVVTA certifier for advice before I turn a spanner (and gas axe!) in anger? I have heard that I should take pictures as I go to show the certifier, but of course by then it would be too late, as it would already be done.
    What an outstanding idea - VTEC power and RWD all at once! - should be an awesome car. It's definitely wise to discuss your project at an early stage with a category 1D LVV certifier. He'll identify things that you'll need to do to ensure that you get through the certification process at the end of the build-up without any hassles or re-work. He'll also let you know when he wants to inspect progress. Generally speaking, people who (a) have good practical skills and a positive approach, and (b) use the right LVV certifier, really don't have any LVV certification problems at all, even with a major project like yours. The horror stories about LVV certification are either third-hand & exaggerated, or they come from people who didn't find out the facts before they started and/or didn't use an appropriately experienced LVV certifier. Have a look at the LVV Engine & Drive-train Conversions Standard, there's a bunch of good information in there about your kind of conversion.

    Gearbox change to a 5-speed – does it need a cert?
    I have got other mods planned as funds permit including coil-over suspension and a roll cage, but those things won't be happening until next year sometime. I don't want to get busted by the cops, because on my rego it says the car is a Nissan Cefiro auto.
    It will probably need to be certed as you have probably changed the pedal box and this will require certification for alteration of the braking system.
    If not, it depends on what's involved in the conversion. To follow is the relevant part of our Modification Threshold Schedule, (which is reproduced in the NZTA Vehicle Inspection Requirements Manual - the document the WoF man uses to do his WoF inspection from). You can do a gearbox conversion without a LVV Cert if: the OE gearbox cross-member has not been heated, cut, or welded; and the OE gearbox cross-member mounting to the OE body or chassis members is unchanged; and no replacement gearbox cross-member is used; and the OE drive-shaft(s) is un-modified; and no substantial modifications have occurred to the floor or gearbox tunnel area, other than provision for gear-shift mechanism. If your Cefiro gearbox conversion falls inside those criteria, no cert is required. If it does need certing, better get it done to keep yourself all legal and tidy.

    Differential swap
    I recently fitted a Nismo limited slip differential. This diff is tight, and as such makes a few bangs and tyre squeals at low speed. Are there any laws in place for this type of modification? Can I get the LSD added to my cert plate?
    You've got a limited slip diff which is completely legal. A locked diff (welded gears) or spool isn't legal. A super-tight limited slip diff (LSD) (which Nismo LSD's are notorious for being) can cause the same kind of low-speed tight-radius 'grabbing' that a spool or locked diff will. You can quickly and easily loosen the binding action by adding a quantity of friction modifier to your diff oil. That's a whole easier and cheaper than re-certification.


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    Fuel Systems

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    LVV Info-sheets (links in text)
    NZ Car Construction Manual

    The LVVTA Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is a sub-committee of LVVTA, established to provide LVVTA with VTA Technical Team at the Wellington LVVTA office (see contact details in 2.12 below), and they will make a representation to the TAC on your behalf at the next TAC meeting, and communicate back to you accordingly.


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    Exhaust Noise Emissions

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    Low Volume Vehicle Standard 90-20(02) (Exhaust Noise Emissions)
    LVV Info-sheets (links in text)


    What is the maximum noise level allowed for exhausts?

    This depends on the vehicle - refer to section 2.9 'Decibel level requirements' in the LVV Standard – Learn More

    Who can carry out Noise Testing?

    You can find a list of Exhaust Noise approved LVV Certifiers here.

    I have a stainless muffler on the rear of my car with a removable baffle in it to keep the noise down. The piece bolts in and out in a couple of seconds, which is cool because I leave it in for the street, and then pull it out when I've been racing at the night drags. I went for a WoF at the Testing Station and was failed because the baffle is easily removable. The inspector told me I had to have it welded in place or to change the rear muffler completely. Is that right?
    This is a grey area, up to interpretation of the WoF inspector. WoF rules require a muffler to be so constructed or adapted that its operation or effectiveness cannot be readily interfered with. You might never have heard of this one before, but it's actually been in the regulations since at least 1976. A simple adjustment of a tuning device, or removal of the innards of a muffler from the rear of the vehicle without tools clearly constitutes a system that is able to be readily interfered with so is not allowed. If tools are required then it is less readily tampered with but an inspector could still fail it and you would have to weld it up, or replace it. If the exhaust is being noise tested by an LVV certifier and won’t pass without the baffle, they are more likely to require that it is welded in place before passing it.

    Exhaust exit pipes - can I run one out the side of my front bumper? Same for my wastegate, I want to vent it out next to the exhaust.
    No. Exhausts are required to be directed away from the perimeter of the vehicle's passenger compartment. The intention behind that rule is to prevent exhaust gases from being able to come inside the passenger compartment and send you to sleep. Exiting your exhaust gases at the front of your car will enable them to come back over, under, and around the car while you are driving, and enter the passenger compartment through the ventilation system, side windows, or any small gaps. Your exhaust gases need to exit toward the rear, behind the rear-most passengers' seating positions. Provided the latter is achieved, they can dump out the side or under the car.

    Exhaust flame thrower kits - legal or not? They throw a pretty decent flame out the back when you flick a switch.
    They are not legal.


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    Exhaust Gas Emissions

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    Low Volume Vehicle Standard 90-10(00) (Exhaust Gas Emissions)
    LVV Info-sheets (links in text)


    Info coming soon!

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    Wheels & Tyres

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    Low Volume Vehicle Standard 205-00(00) (Wheels & Tyres)
    LVV Info-sheets (links in text


    Do aftermarket wheels require LVV certification?
    Not necessarily. So long as certain requirements are met, such as no spacers used and the tyre tread does not protrude beyond the OE bodywork. Refer to LVV Modification Threshold Guide – Learn More

    Do wheel spacers and adaptors require LVV certification, and if so what are the requirements? 
    Yes - a vehicle fitted with any wheel spacers or adaptors needs LVV certification. The maximum thickness allowed is 20mm for spacers and 30mm for adaptors. Refer to LVV Standard – Learn More

    What is the maximum wheel offset I’m allowed on my vehicle?
    Wheel offset is measured from the hub flange to the wheel width centre-line, including any spacers or adaptors fitted.  In the case of a front-engine, rear-drive vehicle, no more than 20% of the total wheel width positive or negative; and in the case of a front-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle fitted with a transversely-mounted engine:
    (i) not more than 10% of the total wheel width positive; and
    (ii) not more than 35% of the total wheel width negative.

    What are the widest (or narrowest) tyres I can fit on my rims?

    This has been clarified recently with the release of an LVV Info-sheet which includes easy to use charts. The data was gathered from international standards and tyre manufacturers, and gives a reasonable scope for fitments while remaining within the tyre manufacturers safe tolerances. Refer to LVV Info-sheet – Learn More

    I've got a car with the standard 14-inch alloys on it, but am wanting to fit some that are way bigger. I was horrified to hear from a mate that a new law is in that says you can only fit wheel up to 2 inches bigger than standard. Is this true?
    No, you can fit any diameter wheel without the need for an LVV cert as long as the rolling circumference (the distance one turn of the wheel travels on the road) does not increase more than 5% over the original equipment. The main reason for this is that a substantially increased rolling circumference will make the speedo under-read (i.e. the speedo will read, say, 90kph when you are doing 110 kph). Fortunately, because of the trend toward low profile tyres, the total rolling circumference of a large diameter wheel and a low profile tyre is usually little if any more than the combination of a smaller diameter wheel and standard-type high-profile tyre. A tyre shop will be able to compare the rolling circumferences of your wheel and tyre choices against the original, and determine if you are within the 5% allowance. As an example, a 195/35x18 tyre has pretty much the same rolling circumference as a 195/60x14 tyre. It might pay to hold on to the figures the tyre shop gives you in case of a WOF query later on. Don't forget that the tyre and wheel combination has to fit without rubbing on bodywork and suspension. Of course you can go more than 5% increase in rolling circumference if the vehicle is LVV certified.

    DOT rated tyres . Mickey Thompson ET Street tyres are apparently classed as a street tyre because they have a DOT rating, although I'm not sure what this is. Are these tyres actually road legal? There's only about 5 grooves across the tyres and they're only about 1mm thick! I doubt they would be very good in the rain.
    DOT stands for 'Department of Transportation' which is the American Government department that sets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Your tyres, with their DOT marking do comply with one of the standards allowed in NZ, but in addition to complying with a standard they also have to meet our warrant of fitness requirements. These require a minimum of at least 1.5mm tread pattern depth (excluding any tie-bar or tread-depth indicator strip) around the whole circumference of the tyre within all principal grooves that contain tread-depth indicators, or if the tyre does not normally have tread-depth indicators, across at least three-quarters of the tyre tread width. Clearly, the Mickey's don't comply.
    The warrant of fitness manual also lists the typical wording on tyres that are not for road use:
    ‘NHS’ (Not for Highway Service)
    ‘ADV’ (Agricultural Drawn Vehicle)


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    NZ Car Construction Manual
    LVV Info-sheets (links in text)

    I want to do a cab drop on my ute and want to do it by just cutting the floor either side of the chassis rails and welding a U shape section in place to allow the cab to sit down over the chassis, also doing the same over the cab mounts. Because all the seat/seatbelt mounts etc are unmodified and the cab mounts themselves are all still the same does it need to be certified? Being cab/chassis rather than a uni-body vehicle does that make a difference?
    If you’re lowering the body over the cab (this is commonly referred to as channeling), you’ll definitely need to get an LVV cert. although the mounts themselves might not be modified, the load path for all of the loads (including all seatbelt loads) will now travel through your modified floor. You’ll also have to modify the steering column; this will also require LVV Certification.

    Are carbon fibre panels allowed for exterior panels including - bonnet, boot, fenders, doors, grille and bumpers?
    Yes this is allowed so long as they are fitted and secured properly, there are no external projection issues and the vehicle structure has not been affected.

    Can Lambo or scissor doors be certified?
    Yes, provided the door hinges and door latch still meet applicable requirements and the structure that supports the doors is adequate. This modification requires LVV Certification.

    Can I remove the roof of my MR2 permanently and make it a roadster?
    In principle, yes, it can probably be done, however what you have to do (in a nutshell) is to replace the structural strength and integrity lost by the removal of the roof, with some other means of stiffening the car's structure up again. In our old separate body/chassis cars (like Chevy Impalas for example) this was much easier, but modern unitary constructed cars rely on the roof of the vehicle to keep the whole vehicle from collapsing in a heap.
    There's different ways of doing this; a roll-cage structure is one way, closing the doors up (structurally) to form a 'tub' is another, or strengthening the floor-pan by incorporating a perimeter chassis is probably the most expensive and difficult but the best way. You'll need to contact a local Category 1C or 1D LVV certifier. The certifier will assist you to design and fit the additional strengthening that'll be required to ensure that the remaining vehicle structure can handle the loads imposed by the doors, seatbelts, drive-train, brakes, and everything else. You'll need to remember to incorporate a roll bar in order to attach the upper seatbelt anchorages if there's no structure in the upper anchorage 'permitted area'. If you are thinking of future motorsport events you should incorporate a roll bar that complies with MANZ or NZDRA specifications.

    Roof chop: Can I cut an inch or two out of the roof of my Nissan Silvia S14?
    No problem. It would be interesting to see how the roof-chops on late model performance imports would look.
    Roof-chops are being done to late-model American cars in the USA, and provided they're done right, look great. From a legal point of view, you won't have any hassles as long as you use an LVV Certifier experienced in this type of work. Chopping a modern import is a bit more involved than an old hot rod, as the modern cars are unitary construction whereas the old rods are separate body & chassis cars, but the principles remain the same.

    How legal do you think it would be to have a fully chromed car? I have seen some pics of this done in Europe and it looks pretty cool. I know mirror tints are illegal, so I'm guessing a car that was fully mirrored out in chrome would be a no-go too??
    NZTA have confirmed that there’s no' rule' that prevents a body being chrome wrapped, although there is a rule that glazing (glass) can not have a mirrored finish. This doesn’t mean that on-road enforcement won’t see it differently, perhaps determining that it may cause a distraction. One defence to this, besides pointing out that there’s nothing that makes it illegal, would be that some truck trailers have stainless steel polished panels which would be as bad, if not worse at reflecting light and causing a hazard in certain conditions.

    Is it ok to have a tow hook at the back of the car that protrudes out from the bumper about 10cm. My exhaust pipe sticks out the back of the car about 5cms, as they have to exit out from the car, so what's the difference?

    There is no defined amount specified in the regulations for bits sticking out the front or back. The relevant piece of legislation says that a protruding object or fitting that has a functional purpose must be installed so that the risk of the object or fitting causing injury to a person is minimised. Without seeing a picture, it's hard to say, but my guess is that your tow-hook would not be in breach of that requirement.

    Shaved door handles – do they need a cert?
    The law of the land says that if you modify any part of a vehicle in a way that could affect any safety-related legal requirement, it must be low volume certified. Door retention systems are covered by safety-related legal requirements (NZTA have a whole Rule about them), so yes, what you are doing does need to be certified. LVVTA's low volume vehicle standard allows shaved exterior door handles, and for electric solenoid systems to be installed. To follow are the relevant clauses from LVVTA Low Volume Standard 155-20(01) Door Retention Systems:

    2.6(3)            An exterior door handle or other opening device may be positioned in a hidden location on a low volume vehicle, provided that either:
                  (a)  the location is such that the handle or opening device is shielded or protected to prevent unintentional activation by contact from road debris; or
                  (b)  the handle or opening device is positioned in such a way so as not to be able to be unintentionally activated.
    2.6(4)            A door fitted to a low volume vehicle may be opened from outside the vehicle, if fitted with:
                  (a)  a fixed electrically-operated unlatching device; or
                  (b)  a remotely operated and electrically operated unlatching device, provided that a fail-safe inter-lock system is incorporated to prevent unlatching of the doors unless:
        (i)  the ignition system is switched off; and           
        (ii)  a gearbox inhibitor switch operating only in neutral and park, is engaged.

    The main thrust of these regs are that the doors must be able to be opened from the inside by a mechanical means (no electrics); and opening the doors from the exterior can be done electrically. However, although doors can be unlocked by remote, they shouldn't be unlatched by remote. This is because of the risk of doors being opened when you don't want them to while traveling, by interference from some other source like a microwave speed detector. There is at least one American kit that does enable remote unlatching without safety risks, by cutting out the ability for the system to operate when the ignition is on or the vehicle is in gear.

    Bonnet removal. If you can't drive around with no bonnet, but can drive around with a filter or blower sticking through a hole in your bonnet, is there any laws as to how big that hole can be?
    This sure is a tricky one. There's no rule anywhere that says "every vehicle must be fitted with a bonnet", but the NZTA have things called 'general safety requirements' (GSR's) contained within their various rules.
    In this case, there's a GSR relating to external projections (the rule that tries to minimise extra damage inflicted on a pedestrian by sharp pokey bits on the front of a vehicle), and this basically requires that a vehicle shouldn't be modified in such a way as to increase the likelihood or risk of injury to any person who might come into contact with the vehicle. A scenario might be that you bump a pedestrian at low speed, causing only a minor leg injury, but the person receives additional, or even worse injuries, as a result of making contact with the alternator belt, exposed cam-belt, battery clamp studs, or whatever.

    This kind of thinking might sound a bit over-the-top, but it's surprising what proportion of total road accident injuries and deaths pedestrian hits make up. What this means for you and me, is that the decision as to whether our car with no bonnet, or with a supercharger protruding through the bonnet, is in breach of that GSR, is very much up to the interpretation of the warrant of fitness issuer or Police Officer on the side of the road. Not much help, I know. In the meantime, the main issue is that nothing is projecting such as a fan, uncovered drive belt or sharp object that might cause additional injury to someone you skittle.
    A clear bonnet (polycarbonate or clear resin) is an option.

    GT-style wings – are they a “dangerous fitting”?
    It's constructed from carbon fibre (the blade part) and aluminium (the stays) and is secured by bolts that go right through my boot. The wing doesn't extend out wider than the car, but is about 50cm high off the boot itself. The WoF guy said it is classed as a dangerous fitting as it could fall off and hit a car following me.
    Provided it is a professionally manufactured item, securely attached, and the outer ends of the wing do not extend beyond the widest part of the body, you shouldn't have been rejected.


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    SEATS & SEATbelts

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    Low Volume Vehicle Standard 185-00(01) (Seats & Seat Anchorages)
    Low Volume Vehicle Standard 175-00(01) (Seatbelt Anchorages)
    Low Volume Vehicle Standard 185-40(00) (Head Restraints)
    LVV Info-sheets (links in text)
    NZ Car Construction Manual
    WoF Vehicle Inspection Requirement Manual (VIRM)

  • I’ve found some aftermarket seat rails online that are specifically to mount a Recaro seat to my type of car. As they’re not welded and don’t require any mods to the car itself, can I use them without a cert?
    We’ve seen a few of these now, and while they all sound good, sadly we’ve seen many that don’t comply with the WoF VIRM without certification. This is most commonly due to the seatbelt mount, which was part of the OEM seat rail now becoming part of the new aftermarket rail. Any change in seatbelt mounts, even those that place the fastener back into the same position require certification. If the belts are mounted to the floor pan of the vehicle, not the seat itself, then yes, you may be able to get away without a cert.

  • I want to put a bench seat into my vehicle but it’s too wide, can I cut a section out and weld it back together to make it smaller?
    Yes, you can cut and weld the seat, provided it doesn’t reduce the original strength and rigidity of the seat structure, you’ll also need to satisfy the certifier that your welding is up to scratch.

    I have a Prelude and am considering removing the back seat and putting my subwoofers there instead, would I need a cert for this?
    LVV certification is not required where the only modification is the removal of seats and/or seatbelts. You should remove every part of all seatbelts or it may cause issues at WOF time. If it’s a permanent change you should get the details altered in NZTA’s records by taking the car to a TSDA (VTNZ, VINZ or AA) to get it noted as a 2 seater. Your insurance company may also want to know. The addition of the speakers doesn’t require certification either, as long as you aren’t cutting out any structural material. The box should be secured well enough to withstand 20 times its own weight in the case of a frontal impact. Using the old rear seatbelt mounts is a good idea; perhaps with a steel strap over the box.

    Can a vehicle seat be raised for a short person if there is an airbag in the steering wheel?
    Yes, within limits. A 50mm raise is usually ok as it would put the person’s head into a better position more similar to the average person and better for effective airbag operation. Certification is required.

    Does my vehicle have to have headrests fitted to it?
    Head rests must not be removed in a vehicle required to be frontal impact compliant (e.g. cars built from 1999).
    Head rests are mandatory in a low volume vehicle where there is a solid structure within 300mm of the rear of the seat.  If it is difficult to fit the headrests to the seat, they can be attached to the back of the cab, either from below the rear window or on a horizontal bar spanning across the window. LVVTA strongly recommends the use of headrests.

    Can a swivel seat base be added to a rental camper, if it raises the seat by 40mm and there is a driver airbag?
    No, this creates a safety risk - anyone could hire the camper and a tall person would be placed outside the designed airbag zone. This could ‘reduce occupant protection below a safe tolerance’.

    Can I remove my rear seats from my vehicle?  
    Yes, however to pass a WoF the seatbelts will also need to be removed from the vehicle

    Can harness seatbelts be fitted to my vehicle?  
    Harness seatbelts can only be fitted to a Scratch-built vehicle, or a vehicle with a current motor-sport authority card.

    Can seats and seatbelts from one car be put into another car?
    This can be done without certification only if the seats and seatbelts all mount to existing OE mounts without any modification to the vehicle or any of the parts - just un-bolt from one vehicle and bolt into the other. In most cases this is unlikely and you may not know if the vehicle has been modified after production; we recommend that you have the vehicle inspected by an LVV certifier. He can assess whether it is all OE and does not require certification. If so, he can also ensure that it has been done safely.

    Do seats fitted in older vans need to be certified?
    Seats fitted pre-1 March 1999 to a van with more than 9 seats do not require certification. Seatbelts do not have this date restriction so if fitted, would require certification regardless of date.
    Seats fitted between 1 Mar 1999 and 1 Oct 2004 are subject to info-sheet 05-99. After this date the LVV Standard for seats applies.

    Does a van which is having new seats fitted into the back have to have head restraints on the seats?
    The LVV Seats & Seat Anchorage Standard only requires head restraints if the seat is rearward facing, or on a forward facing seat where there is a solid structure within 300mm from the rearmost part of the seat.

    I want to replace my SRS airbag seats. Can I legally do this, and does this need to be certified?
    Yes you can remove an air bag equipped seat, and the vehicle must be LVV Certified. Refer to LVV Info-sheet – Learn More

    I have a Racepro bucket seat in my VR-4, can I fit a Sabelt harness seat belt as well. Is that legal or not?
    The simple answer is no, you can't have a full-harness belt in a road-going vehicle.
    There's only two ways you can have a full-harness seatbelt:
    1.            The Low Volume Standards allow for full-harness belts, but only in single-row seat scratch-built cars like custom-built sports cars, kit cars, and hot rods.

    2.            The only way to have a full-harness belt in a production road car is with a Motorsport NZ or NZDRA Authority Card.

    Can I fit my Lancer GSR RS with a pair of Recaro race seats out of an Evo rally car? The seats are the FIA-approved SPG model and were fitted to Recaro rails which have bolted directly into my GSR.
    Sounds like some confusion there. You can have your Recaro seats (yes, certainly a reputable brand!) without the need for a LVV cert provided that:

    they've been bolted in to unmodified seat anchorages;
    that the anchorage or operation of the seatbelts are not affected;
    that the belts are still correctly located in relation to your hip and shoulder;
    and that you have no airbag.

    The 'unmodified OE anchorages' mean the mounts in the floor to which your rails or sliders bolt to - but I have heard of some WoF inspectors thinking 'anchorages' means the rails.


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    Low Volume Vehicle Standard 45‐30(03) (Disability Adaptive Control Systems)

    I’m looking at importing a disability van from overseas. If it’s on the road abroad, do I need to get a cert?
    This is similar to importing any modified car; there are good ones and bad ones out there, and you’d be amazed at just how bad (unsafe) many vehicles are that are on the road abroad. Essentially, the vehicle will need to comply with LVV standards. So, in the case of a vehicle fitted with hand controls, you’d simply run it through compliance as usual, and the vehicle should fail on needing to be certified. Then yourself or the compliance officer can contact an LVV certifier to come and take a look.
    There are some vehicles offered directly from the vehicle manufacturer (Toyota for example), sold specifically as disability vehicles, however, there’s no concise list of these available, so it’s more of a case-by-case basis.

  • Do Wheelchair anchorages need LVV certification?
    Yes, wheelchair anchorages that are used as seatbelt anchors do require certification.

    Do Wheelchair hoists require LVV certification?
    A wheelchair hoist fitted to a non-PSV vehicle before May 2011* does not require certification. If the vehicle has had seat or seatbelt changes then the hoist needs to be certified along with these modifications, for interior impact and general safety requirements.

    *this is the introduction date of the Disability Transportation Systems Standard.


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    NZ Car Construction Manual

    Can plastic glazing be used instead of the OE glazing?
    Yes, alternative glazing can be installed but it must be of a specific type – some abrasion resistant acrylics and polycarbonates are ok. The change must be certified or on a Motorsport authority card.  The front windscreen material cannot be changed.

    Can I fit mirror style tinted windows on my car?
    The simple answer is - no way! NZTA's Warrant of Fitness requirements state that glazing must not have a mirrored effect sufficient to dazzle other users. Also, a windscreen visible light transmittance (VLT) must be at least 70% and the VLT of side windows and rear windows of cars and station wagons must be at least 35%.

    WOF issuers have a device that shines light though a window to test the VLT. Basically, you can darken the side windows a certain amount, but you can't have the mirror style tinting

How can I achieve a good wiper swept area on a custom or modified wiper system?
This can be tricky to do in some cases, but especially with low or vertial windscreens. There's some good tech on this subject available online, and this one on YouTube is a good place to start. YouTube

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    Low Volume Vehicle Standard 155-40(00) (Interior Impact)
    NZ Car Construction Manual

    Can I replace my steering wheel (with an airbag) with a sports steering wheel?
    You can’t remove an air bag from a vehicle unless it is at least 14 years old.  At the point the vehicle reaches 14 years old it is allowed, however the vehicle must be LVV Certified if this is done.

    Can I strip out my interior? I have pulled all the carpet out as well as the rear seats and all the plastic trim in the back and the boot. All I've got left is the two front seats and seatbelts, the dash and centre console etc... Now the problem is, I went for a WoF and was failed. They said because it had no interior that it was a race car and I'd have to take it someone else. I can't see what this has to do with safety, as the only thing different up the front of the car is no carpet, everything else is standard? Is there anything I can do, or will I have to put it all back in?
    I don't know why they refused to do your WoF inspection but they may have felt you'd increased the risk of occupant injury in a crash by removal of the trim bits. There's no problem with saving weight but be sure not to remove any of the interior trim or padding around the dashboard or the front seats like door panels or pillar covering, where sharp edges might be exposed. Assuming that's all OK and there are no sharp nasty bits, the only remaining issue is the rear seat removal.
    As removal of seats falls within the definition of 'modifications' to a vehicle, then the section of the Vehicle Inspection Requirements Manual (VIRM) that lists 'Modifications that do not require LVV certification' has to be checked. That says that LVV certification is not required where the only modification is the removal of seats and/or seatbelt anchorages, however a class change and a new load rating may be required in some cases. If your vehicle was a van, seat removal might affect the class of vehicle, but as yours is a car, you may remove rear seats, and even the passenger seat without LVV certification. You should point out to the WoF issuer that they will find this on page 7-1-2 of the VIRM.

    I have a bolt-in roll cage that came with my WRX. It was removed prior to being complied, but now I'm thinking about putting it back in. I know full cages are illegal, so I've unbolted the front-section, tidied it all up so there's no sharp edges and re-padded it. Now I basically have the main hoop, two bars that go back towards the rear wheel arches and a diagonal bar that goes between them. My only concern now after putting it back it, ready to be certified is where the main hoop bars that run down the side from the roof to the floor sit. The way the cage has been built, these aren't positioned behind the front seats, but more so alongside the upright. Same with the part that goes across the roof, this is basically in-line with the front seat's headrests. It's all padded up, but is this going to be okay for a LVVTA cert? I've read the information on interior impact zones, but I'm still not quite sure?
    You're right about removing the parts of the cage forward of the main hoop, so that now you're effectively left with a 'roll-bar' as opposed to a 'roll-cage'. There are two things I'm not sure about from your letter; firstly whether or not you want to have rear seat passengers, and secondly whether or not you want to compete in motor-sport events.
    I'll assume you're not interested in the competition side of things; if you are, contact MotorSport NZ and they'll provide you with the information you need on what competition roll-cages have to comply with.
    If you don't want rear seats, that eliminates another problem; all you need to do is have it LVV certified (as a 2-seater) to make sure everything is positioned far enough away from occupants and appropriately padded. You'll need to 'plug' the rear seat and seatbelt anchorage holes so that it can't become an unsafe 4-seater 10 minutes after the LVV plate goes on.

    If you do want rear seats, all parts of the roll-bar will have to be outside the 'A-zone'. This is an area that swings forward in an arc from the 'h-point' (sit in the normal seated position and put your finger on your hip-bone) out 900 mm, or 700 mm if you have web-clamp retractor seatbelts, covering an area (width-wise) of 320 mm. Check out the diagram out of the LVVTA Interior Impact Low Volume Vehicle Standard which shows the A-zone, and although the drawing is of a pair of front seats, the same applies to the rear seats.

    This is like a safety area you need around you in the event of a frontal collision, to protect your head and chest from solid or sharp objects as your body is catapulted forward and downward during a collision. Even with seatbelts, because of seatbelt 'spooling' out of the seatbelt retractor reel, seatbelt fabric stretch, and body contortion, a human body moves an truly unbelievable amount in a crash.

    In nearly all cases, rearward bars intrude into the rear seat A-zone unless they are tucked up tight along the cant rail (the roof section that runs along the top of the side windows) and runs down tight beside the rear pillar. If that doesn't knock your roll-bar out, the diagonal certainly will. One point to remember with roll-bars is that if you run the rearward bars tight along the roof-line and then tight down the pillar (so as to comply with road-going legal requirements), it almost certainly won't meet Motorsport NZ's requirements for racing because a huge amount of the structure's strength is lost by the inclusion of a bend. Take a look at roll-bars and roll-cages next time you're at the race-track, and you'll see that all the bars from the main hoop back toward the rear of the car are all straight.

    So, to your point about the position of the main hoop - simply put, it can't be positioned within the A-zone, and from how you've described it, I suspect that it would be. The A-zone has to be measured with the seat back in its normal driving position, and the seat base in its mid-point position if it is (fore-aft) adjustable. Could you shift the main hoop back to behind the front seats and out of the way of the A-zone?

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    Low Volume Vehicle Standard 125-00-(00) (Lighting Equipment)
    NZ Car Construction Manual

    I’m looking at doing a HID conversion, does this need a cert? If so, what are the requirements?
    Lighting changes do not require certification on their own, but if you a getting a cert for another item then all modifications, including any lighting changes will be checked. Regarding the HID, this is from the NZTA website:
    HID conversion kits (an HID bulb with a high voltage power unit or ‘ballast’ which fits into the original headland unit in place of the original bulb with no change to the headlamp lens, reflector or housing) are illegal on any vehicle being used on New Zealand roads. However, a complete halogen headlamp unit can be replaced with a complete HID headlamp unit provider that the replacement headlamp unit complies with approval standards.

    What are the laws regarding headlight bulbs, or more importantly the colour of them? I recently fitted some bluish bulbs. I liked that blue light look that new cars with H.I.D's have so I thought these would be sweet. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I got pulled over two weeks back when I was going through a checkpoint. It wasn't because I had been drinking, but because the hue of my headlights was apparently too blue. The cop said that headlights have to be white only and that my ones were illegal! Now I'm bemused, it's okay for new cars to have bluish headlights, but I can't have them in my car? Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated, as I don't really want to bin these $75 bulbs!?
    We're assuming from your letter that the bulbs you're using are not HID bulbs, but just 'bluish' halogen bulbs. This is a very hard problem to judge without seeing, but the issue is that the NZTA must ensure that members of the public don't mistake normal road-going vehicles for Police vehicles. Therefore, the WoF rules state that any headlights must be coloured substantially white or amber. The new HID lights do have a slightly blue look, but they are still substantially white. We have noticed that there is a wide range of aftermarket coloured halogen bulbs on the market, and can only guess that the particular brand of bulb you're using is too blue.

    HID kit
    Are High Intensity Discharge (H.I.D) lights legal to fit? They're the same type (H4) as the ones in my car, but I've heard that if your car didn't come factory-fitted with them? This kit is not to be confused with just blue bulbs that some people have, but a full proper H.I.D set-up.
    There is a problem with HID's, but from what you're saying I think you're OK. There's no problem with installing a complete HID lamp set-up from another vehicle, as long as the lamps meet the Warrant of Fitness requirements. And you don't need to get them certed.
    The legality issues come about when people want to fit an HID bulb into an existing lamp that isn't an original HID lamp. The HID bulbs need to work with a certain type of lens that is designed specifically for use with an HID bulb, as the light scatter an HID bulb gives is quite different to a halogen bulb. So short answer is, it's not legal to fit an HID bulb into a non-HID lamp housing and lens, but it's fine to fit a complete HID lamp.

    Can I fit clear-style taillights for my Honda? The trouble is I've heard conflicting stories from my mates about how legal (or illegal) they are. The lights have red and orange bulbs with them, but other than that are completely clear.
    If the vehicle is going through Entry inspection, any replacement taillights, clear or standard, must meet one of the NZTA approved standards. Before you buy, check that they have one of the standards marked on the outer plastic lens. If not, ask the supplier to prove to you through documented evidence to show they do in fact comply with an approved standard, and keep a copy of it. Approved standards are UN/ECE 7, 76/758/EEC, FMVSS 108, ADR 49, JIS D 5500 or any Japanese Technical Standard.
    However, if the vehicle is already registered, the requirements are more relaxed and you can change them as long as they meet in-service requirements for condition and performance.


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    ATTACHMENT Systems

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    NZ Car Construction Manual


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    NZ Car Construction Manual

    Can a GPS-fed speedometer be used?
    No, it is not a constant speed indicator (requires satellite view so doesn’t work in tunnels). A digital speedo for a quad bike is ok to use and these can have an odometer too.

    Can I use stick-on number plates? By stick-on I mean having the letters and numbers cut out on a sticker machine and just stuck onto to the front bumper.
    I've seen it done, usually on old 50's sports cars like the D-type Jaguars where there's nothing to mount a licence plate on the front.
    I checked this out with NZTA and they confirmed that it is an offence to display a plate that is re-manufactured, bent to fit or otherwise made up of stickers, etc. The plate must be displayed as it was originally supplied and there are no exemptions allowed.

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    Trikes with motorcycle controls Formset
    NZ Car Construction Manual

  • What rules are there for modifying a motorcycle or trike, and where do I find them?
    LVVTA has yet to develop the motorcycle or trike LVV Standards, however these are on the list of projects for the future. In the mean-time, you can use the LVV Formset (link above) as a guide, and work closely with your LVV Certifier.

    A Motorbike that was originally sold for off road use and so does not comply with on-road regulations and is not in the system, can it be brought up to legal requirements and be put on the road??
    Not usually. The standard bike would need to show compliance to all applicable NZTA Entry requirements before an LVV certifier considers any modifications and as far as I know (from NZTA) this can't usually be done - brakes are an issue for one. Some parts even have 'off-road use only' stamped on them so clearly couldn't comply.

    The bike also can't be a scratch-built as it is a mass-produced bike.

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    I’m looking at getting my car certed, but it doesn’t have a WoF. Is this ok?
    It’s ok, but your best bet is to try and get a WoF first, even if it fails, as the cost of the WoF is likely less than the cost of the extra time the certifier will spend to check all the WoF items like horns, lights, wipers etc.
    Once you’ve done that, then go through the cert process. Most certifiers have trade plates, so they can drive an unwarranted vehicle on the road for the purposes of certification.
    Once the cert plate has been fitted, the vehicle can then go and get the WoF issued.

  • My car has been certed for coil-over shocks but on the stock wheels. Now I want to change my wheels. Do I have to get the car re-certed?
    Yes, you’ll need to get the car recertified, but it only needs to be certed for the wheels, rather than a full re-cert. Simply give your certifier a call and let them know what you want to do. The price will be reduced, but the exact amount is up to the certifier themselves and will depend on how much time is involved. The same reduced-cost applies for any partial return to stock. For example, if you’d previously turbocharged your engine, but are now returning to naturally aspirated, it’s simply the engine part of the car the certifier will need to check. While not essential, it may be helpful to use the certifier who certed the car originally.

  • I’ve turned my car back to stock, what do I do now to make sure I can get a WoF?
    Returning a previously certified car to stock is an easy one. Just call your local certifier, and they can have a quick look over the car and remove the plate. The plate will then be sent back to LVVTA, who will then let NZTA know, and will have the removal of the mention of the cert plate removed from the system. This is quite common for vehicles that have previously had hand controls fitted for a disabled driver or a car that's had adjustable suspension removed and standard suspension fitted.
    There is a small cost involved, for the certifier’s time, but it’s minimal.

I’m doing a few things to my car and just wondering of I need to know anything for when I get a cert. It’s a factory tip-tronic and I have manual converted it, put adjustable suspension in it, putting wider front guards and am buying some 18x12s for the rear. Should I be able to get a cert for all of that easy enough?
All of those modifications are certifiable, but there are many details to it that we cannot answer here. For instance, you need the right tyre size for those rims, if you stretch smaller tyres on they might not pass. All of the requirements are in our LVV Standards and some in the New Zealand Car Construction Manual.

I have a cert plate on my car currently which has a personalized plate. If I sell my car without my personalized plates is the cert plate still valid since my personalised plate in on my cert plate?
Yes, the cert plate is still valid; the main identifier for a vehicle is the VIN or chassis number. If you wish, a replacement plate can be arranged by an LVV Certifier; however there is a minimal charge for this service.

What is the maximum weight for a camper to remain a light vehicle, and what driver’s licence is required?
3500kg is usual, but a holder of a Class 1 learner, restricted or full licence can drive any motor-home with a GLW of 6000 kg or less and an on-road weight not exceeding 4500 kg.

What is the process for building a Scratch-built vehicle?
The first thing that should be done is to purchase a New Zealand Car Construction Manual - find more information on this manual here. The HCTM will outline the build process and give you a good understanding on the standard that the vehicle will need to be built to. There is a huge amount of current and historical knowledge that goes into this manual, and it's an invaluable resource for anybody contemplating building or extensively modifying any vehicle.

What is the process for becoming an LVV certifier?
There is a lot of info in our ‘Operating Requirements Schedule’ detailing the requirements to become an LVV Certifier, and this has also been covered on our forum. Click here to go to the discussion page.

Do old vehicles need to be LVV certified?

Vehicles modified or scratch-built before 1 January 1992 do not need LVV certification provided the owner can prove the date of the modifications. This is usually by way of a 'Declaration Certificate', or a receipt for the original modification. If modifications have occurred after that date that affect the vehicle safety, the declaration or receipt becomes invalid, and the vehicle requires LVV Certification. if in doubt, an LVV Certifier should be consulted.

Can I modify a vehicle which already has an LVV plate?

Yes, but the vehicle will need to be re-inspected by an LVV Certifier who will issue a new LVV plate covering all the car's modifications. Most modifications that fall within the Certification Thresholds do not need re-certification.

How do I get a copy of my Declaration Certificate?
LVVTA hold all Declaration Certificates. If we hold a copy of yours, it is available for a small charge to cover copying and laminating. Contact us to request a copy, and please have the vehicles registration plate number handy.

Can I import a modified or scratch-built vehicle?
There is information on the NZTA website for importing vehicles here (link to external website). Should your vehicle be from a manufacturer that builds less than 500 per year, or the vehicle is scratch-built, or modified from standard (see Certification Thresholds) then it will need to be certified by a New Zealand LVV Certifier before it can be driven in New Zealand. Information you may have from a UK SVA or Australian ADR compliance will be useful to the LVV Certifier, but does not guarantee compliance in NZ. If you have any specific questions, please contact us.

Where is my nearest LVV Certifier?

Our Google Map shows the locations of all NZTA appointed LVV Certifiers in New Zealand. Alternatively, you can download a PDF containing names and contact numbers. You will need to select a Certifier who covers your modification category.

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