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Change to requirements for water damaged vehicles


From today, Wednesday 7 September, all water damaged light vehicles will now require a full replacement of all electronic and pyrotechnic safety components such as airbags, sensors, seatbelts and seatbelt pre-tensioners and wiring.

This is a change to the previous requirement where only those items below the water line were required to be replaced.

The Transport Agency’s Group Manager Access & Use, Celia Patrick, says the change is in response to concerns about the risk of poor quality repairs. “Safe repair of water damage requires all affected electronic and pyrotechnic safety components to be replaced, to guard against components failing or not functioning properly in the event of a crash.

“When water damaged vehicles are repaired properly, they are safe, and we had confidence in appointed repair certifiers to safely implement the previous requirements.

“However, determining the extent of water damage has become difficult to achieve with certainty when vehicles have been groomed prior to being presented to repair certifiers. There have been cases of people masking or misrepresenting water damage levels in order to reduce the extent and cost of replacement required.

“Not replacing water damaged safety components creates significant road safety risks.”

The new requirements apply to vehicles that have been water damaged in New Zealand and require re-registration, and to imported water damaged vehicles – the main source of which is Australia.

Provision has been made for imported water damaged vehicles purchased on or before 7 September to be able to be certified under previous requirements, provided they are border checked by 7 October. This will enable vehicles en route to New Zealand to be border checked and subsequently certified according to the requirements they were purchased under.

The Transport Agency will amend the Vehicle inspection requirements manual (VIRM): light vehicle repair certification, used by repair certifiers, to reflect the change.