Frequently Asked Questions


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The LVVTA Technical Team maintains a record of the most frequently asked questions to make it easier for you to find the answers you need online. If you can't find the answer you're looking for here, chances are that it'll be over in our extensive Knowledge Base, which contains a huge number of questions and answers relating to technical information, and certification process


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What is Vehicle Certification?
Some modifications  require inspection and certification by an NZTA appointed LVV Certifier, who will issue a certification plate and attach it to the vehicle in order to be able to pass a Warrant of Fitness. Not all modifications require certification - there is a 'Certification Threshold Guide' which details which modifications don't require certification.

Sample Certification Plate

There are abbreviations on my certification plate - what do they mean?
It can be difficult, if not impossible to fit full descriptions of all the modifications on a certification plate. Therefore it is often necessary for us to abbreviate some modifications. Click here for a list of common used abbreviations that you may find on your LVV certification plate. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the list, feel free to give us a call and we can hopefully solve the mystery.

What are typical modifications that may need certification?
Note; this list is common examples only. If in doubt read the Certification Threshold Guide, or contact us.

  • Scratch-built cars, kit cars, trikes, and low volume manufactured cars.
  • Seat or seatbelt modifications.
  • Engine re-powers with increased capacity, power, weight and different fuel or engine type.
  • Engine modifications leading to 20% or more power, including addition of turbos, supercharger, different waste gates, re-chipping of computer chips on turbo cars.
  • Suspension modifications, e.g. lowering under 100mm road clearance, spring changes (non-Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) items), shock absorber changes, brakes and steering modifications.
  • Left to right hand drive steering conversions.
  • Wheel and tyre changes (non-OEM items), e.g. wheels wider than the bodywork, or with spacers or a different offset to the OEM design. Tyres with more than 5% greater rolling circumference than the OEM tyres.
  • Modifications to doors.
  • Frontal Impact modifications, e.g. removal or disabling of airbags, changes to crumple zones or energy absorbing areas e.g. bull-bars may affect the frontal impact design.
  • Motor home modifications.
  • Cars with disability controls.
  • Vans fitted with extra seats and seatbelts.

    Why does LVV Certification cost so much?
    Click here to see a cost breakdown for two common types of certification.
    We are often asked why LVV Certification costs so much. There are many different types of certification, from very basic (adjustable suspension, or an engine swap), right up to full certification of a scratch-built vehicle. Therefore, prices will vary considerably dependant upon the extent of the modifications, and the number of times a certifier needs to re-inspect the vehicle if rectifications are required.
    You can help to minimise the cost of your certification by reducing the number or re-inspections you require. This can be done by ensuring that all modifications meet the relevant technical requirements (LVV Standards, LVV Information Sheets, NZ Car Construction Manual) prior to your certification, and also that all modifications and rectifications have been carried out in a tradesman-like manner.
    Remember that your LVV Certifier is carrying out his certifications in a professional capacity, much like an engineer, dentist or doctor, and as such, will charge a fair and reasonable hourly rate, taking into consideration his business costs and overheads, and the liability that each certifier must carry for the life of the vehicle while the certification plate remains. 

          • Can my car be certified with suspension measuring under 100mm ground clearance?
            The 100mm suspension height limit (measured from the underside of the vehicle to the road surface) is a ‘modification threshold’. The modification threshold is a method of determining how far a vehicle can be modified without requiring LVV Certification. Click here to view the WoF VIRM, and then click on the ‘Tables and images’ tab to view the suspension threshold.

            The 100mm suspension height threshold should only be applied to a vehicle which has not had its suspension system LVV Certified. The only way to determine whether the suspension system has been LVV certified for lowered or modified suspension, is to check the details which have been recorded on the LVV certification plate - new suspension heights will be recorded in the ‘Susp/axle’ field.

            A vehicle can be LVV certified with a suspension height of less than 100mm; as part of the certification process the LVV Certifier will ensure (amongst other items, refer to the LVV Suspension Standard) that the vehicle has adequate suspension travel and clearance to bump stops, and that the suspension performs correctly. The LVV Certifier will make the decision as to the appropriate suspension heights, which will be recorded on the certification plate.

            The measurement recorded on the LVV certification plate should be checked or measured with the vehicle parked on a flat surface in an unladen state (no occupants or cargo), and should be measured from the centre of the wheel rim upwards to the top of the wheel arch. These suspension heights have a 5% tolerance to allow for spring sag or other minor inconsistencies.

            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.

            What are the LVV Certification Thresholds?
            The Certification Threshold Guide details which level of certain modifications require LVV Certification. If the specific modification is not shown in this table, the vehicle does require LVV certification.

            What is a Low Volume Vehicle?
            Low volume vehicle means a make and model of a light vehicle (classes LC, LD, LE, MA, MB, MC, MD1, MD2 and NA) that is:
            “(a)     manufactured, assembled or scratch-built in quantities of 500 or less in any one year, and where the construction of the vehicle may directly or indirectly affect compliance of the vehicle with any of the vehicle standards prescribed by New Zealand law; or
            “(b)     modified uniquely, or in quantities of 500 or less in any one year, in such a way that compliance of the vehicle, its structure, systems, components or equipment with a legal requirement relating to safety performance applicable at the time of the modification may be affected.”
            Definition taken from the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002

            Do de-registered modified vehicles need to be LVV certified?
            Vehicles modified or scratch-built, that have been de-registered (or licensing fees not paid for 12 months or more resulting in the vehicle's registration lapsing), do not need re-certification if they have their LVV certification plate affixed to the vehicle structure. Vehicles with a modification declaration certificate will need to be LVV Certified, as this certificate becomes null and void upon the vehicles registration lapsing. Vehicles that have only original manufacturers' equipment fitted or modifications done that are below the LVV Threshold need only have re-registration inspection and a VIN number issued, if required.

            Can I modify a vehicle which already has already been LVV Certified?
            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.

            Do old vehicles need to be LVV certified?
            Vehicles modified or scratch-built before 1 January 1992 do not need LVV certification unless modifications that affect the vehicle safety have occurred after that date. These vehicle should have a modification declaration certificate which lists all of the modifications present on the vehicle.

            Do I need LVV Certification if I have a Modification Declaration Certificate?
            Cars that were modified prior to 1 January 1992 were issued with a Modification Declaration Certificate at that time. The Modification Declaration Certificate is valid as long as the vehicle is continually registered and until changes are made to the vehicle, at which time the vehicle must be LVV certified and issued with an LVV plate. Provided the vehicle is still the same as it was in 1992, the Modification Declaration Certificate continues to be valid today for WOF purposes. The WOF issuer is able to check with LVVTA or NZTA to verify details on the certificate.

            How can I obtain a copy of my Modification Declaration Certificate?
            For instruction on how to request a duplicate Modification Declaration Certificate CLICK HERE.

          • 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.

          • What is an LVV Authority Card?
            A card specifying alternative safety related equipment for a specific person and vehicle.
            Two organisations currently issue authority cards:
            NZHRA – example - fender exemptions for hotrods
            Motorsport NZ – example - authority for use of a 4 point harness in a motorsport vehicle driven on public roads.
            For more information, refer to section 2.12 of the LVV Code.

            Can I import a modified vehicle?
            The most up-to-date information can be found on the NZTA website for importing vehicles. Should your vehicle be from a manufacturer that builds less than 500 per year, the vehicle is scratch-built, or modified from standard (see Certification Threshold Guide), then it will need to be LVV Certified by an LVV Certifier before it can be driven in New Zealand. Any information you may be able to obtain showing UK SVA or Australian ADR compliance will be useful to the LVV Certifier, but does not guarantee compliance in NZ.

            Where is my nearest LVV Certifier?
            Click here to find a complete list of LVV Certifier in New Zealand. You will need to select a Certifier who holds the appropriate 'LVV Certifier Category'. The list of categories is available here.

            Who can do a noise test on my car?
            Click here for a  list of LVV Certifiers that are able to carry out an Objective Noise Test (ONT)


            Can't find what you're looking for? Click to see more FAQ's in our Knowledge Base.

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