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Heavy vehicle certification information for customers

Patrick Chu recertification update for customers – 15 February 2019

On 7 February 2019, the NZ Transport Agency stated in its media release that ‘vehicle owners will be provided with details on the refund process for recertifications and repairs next week’. In an update to that statement, we would like to advise and apologise to customers that they can now expect an update the week of 18 February. Any urgent concerns can be directed to


On 21 December 2018, the Transport Agency issued a safety alert revoking all tow bars certified by Auckland based heavy vehicle specialist certifier (HVSC) Patrick Chu of Transport & Structure Ltd. The safety alert relates to tow bars on heavy vehicles including small trucks, tipper trucks, motor homes and goods vans.

Safety alert: Tow bars certified by Patrick Chu of Transport & Structure Ltd

The responsibility for tow bar certification is with an HVSC and not a tow bar manufacturer.

The role of an HVSC is to approve the design of an aspect of a heavy vehicle (eg, specify what needs to be manufactured) and then certify its manufacture (check that what has been manufactured is what was requested). This ensures the safety of any modifications to a bus, truck, trailer or other heavy vehicle. Tow bars fitted to heavy vehicles require certification by an HVSC. If a tow bar is incorrectly certified this is the responsibility of the HVSC, not the tow bar manufacturer.

HVSCs must hold the appropriate qualification and be appointed by the Transport Agency.

Why did the Transport Agency decide to revoke Mr Chu’s tow bar certifications?

Mr. Chu made significant errors in his design calculations that led to him incorrectly certifying tow bars with a design life much shorter than required (meaning the tow bars have a shorter life span than they should, and a trailer is at the risk of detaching from the vehicle (including the safety chain).

The NZ Transport Agency will cover the costs of Mr Chu recertifications and repairs – further detail about this to come

The Transport Agency has agreed to cover the cost of recertifications and repairs for vehicle owners affected by the revocation of tow bars certified by Mr Chu. It will also reimburse vehicle owners who have already paid.

Specific details about how we will provide this support to customers and what they need to do will follow. Please be assured that we will also be contacting customers directly via both letter and telephone where possible.

An exemption was issued by the Transport Agency to allow vehicles with tow bar certifications issued by Mr Chu to continue to be operated with the tow bar fitted, so long as the vehicle is not used to tow. The exemption expires on 30 November 2019. 

Do we have your correct contact details?

It is important that we have your correct details so that we can contact you about what to do. Should you need to update us or you want to check we have the right information go here: Check/update your contact details page(external link)

Further information

Read the Patrick Chu media release:

Read the Patrick Chu safety alerts:

Related information