Frequently asked questions

What is a vehicle safety recall?

A vehicle safety recall is a process whereby a vehicle manufacturer identifies a safety related defect of design or construction liable to cause significant risk of personal injury or death. New Zealand representatives of manufacturers in conjunction with their parent company overseas may decide that a fault or defect falls outside these criteria and should still be classed as a safety related recall. In these situations the Motor Industry Association (MIA) protocols are followed in conjunction with an assessment made by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

What is the process for a recall?

When a vehicle manufacturer has identified a safety related recall, their New Zealand representative sets about researching how many vehicles are currently in New Zealand. This is done by first assessing the manufacturer’s vehicle owners’ record system and then verifying this with the official motor vehicle register, managed by Waka Kotahi. There are strict criteria in place for authorising the release of vehicle owner details to third parties for safety or enforcement activities.

Once the number of affected vehicles is identified, the manufacturer sets about contacting vehicle owners advising them of the seriousness of the recall and what they should do to have the fault rectified. Waka Kotahi assists in this process by authorising an advisory letter to be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle advising them of the recall and what they should do to have the fault rectified.

The vehicle manufacturer will coordinate a convenient time with the vehicle owner to have them bring their vehicle to the nearest franchise dealer to have the fault rectified. Should the vehicle owner not respond to the manufacturer’s request within a suitable period of time, the manufacturer may then request Waka Kotahi to place a ‘ban flag‘ on the vehicle.

What is a ‘ban flag’?

A ban flag is a process that will prevent the vehicle from obtaining its next certification (warrant of fitness (WoF) or certificate of fitness (CoF)). This is a last resort process because it will cause inconvenience for the vehicle owner.

When is a ‘ban flag’ placed on a vehicle?

Only after written contacts to the vehicle owner have met with no response and only when there is a high risk associated with a vehicle.

If the website says that a make, model and year of vehicle has been subject to a recall, does that mean all of those vehicles have been recalled?

No, in many cases only a small range of vehicles within that make model and year are affected.

How do I know if my vehicle has been subject to a recall?

If your mailing address is correct on the Waka Kotahi records for the vehicle you own, the vehicle manufacturer will have sent you a letter advising that your vehicle has been recalled.

Check/update your address and contact details