Pre-Purchase Assessment - Terms and Conditions

A VTNZ Pre-Purchase Assessment provides an objective, independent viewpoint on the general mechanical and structural condition of the motor vehicle. The assessment is based on a non-invasive external and operating inspection only and is valid at the time of the appraisal. The assessment will not identify any hidden defects, intermittent problems, problems that cannot be identified on a visual inspection or become evident after the inspection.

VTNZ has used all reasonable care and skill in completing its examination of the vehicle and in the preparation of the report. This is a limited assessment and we do not warrant the condition of the vehicle at the time of purchase. The assessment report will not identify whether any of the systems or parts of the vehicle will continue to operate acceptably. For coverage of potential future repairs you could consider purchasing a Mechanical Warranty Insurance policy.

VTNZ prepares the report for the customer named in the report and is under no obligation to supply information on the assessment or supply a copy of the report to any third party.

The assessment report excludes information on the vehicle’s registration, liens or finance secured over the vehicle, or ownership of the vehicle. This information can be provided by purchasing a Vehicle Information Report (VIR), which VTNZ can arrange for you.

The assessment report excludes information on the value of the vehicle. However, information on the vehicle’s value can be provided by purchasing a Red Book vehicle valuation certificate - VTNZ can arrange this for you if you would like.

The information provided in the report is accurate to the best knowledge of VTNZ at the time of the assessment and VTNZ disclaims all liability on behalf of itself, and its agents and contractors, to the extent permitted by law, for any error, omission, defect, failure and/or for any damages arising out of reliance upon the report

What We Assess


The engine vacuum test checks the condition of the engine including the state of its tuning against standard industry guidelines. Appraisal of engine noise, fumes and exhaust smoke is conducted to identify engine wear. External drive belts are checked for condition and we identify if a cam belt is fitted.

Engine Electrical

The battery, alternator and starter motor are checked under electrical load for correct operation. This is a generic test in accordance with VTNZ’s assessment procedures and may vary from manufacturer’s specifications. VTNZ does not perform additional tests that may be specified by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Cooling System

The radiator, water pump and hoses are checked externally for signs of deterioration and leaks. A pressure test of the cooling system is conducted to check for leaks and signs of engine internal problems. The coolant is assessed visually for inclusion of a corrosion inhibitor.

Road Test

The road test appraises driveability and focuses on the operational facets of the vehicle. The check confirms that all gears are operable and no abnormal noises are apparent from the engine or drive line. The handling, steering and brakes are assessed for operation under normal driving conditions up to the speed noted.

Wheels / Tyres

The wheels are assessed for damage. All tyres are checked for tread depth, damage and abnormal wear patterns that may indicate wheel alignment issues. The tyres are also checked for compatibility. The type of spare wheel is identified.

Lights (not included in a Basic Pre-Purchase Assessment)

All lights are checked for operation. Any damage to lenses is noted.

Interior Electrical (not included in a Basic Pre-Purchase Assessment)

The operation of the switches for the lights, wipers, indicators, hazards, etc is checked. Warning lights for oil pressure, ABS and SRS are checked at engine start-up time for correct operation.

Interior (not included in a Basic Pre-Purchase Assessment)

The standard interior components are checked for operation and general condition. We also check that the car jack, wheel brace and basic tool kit are present.


The vehicle’s underbody is assessed for signs of accident damage, corrosion and other structural damage. The exhaust system is checked for leaks and general condition while the CV and steering boots are checked for integrity. Any fluid leaks are noted.

Steering and Suspension

We assess steering and suspension components for effective operation, damage or fluid leaks. We don’t remove or dismantle any suspension components.


Evaluate that modifications to the vehicle are in compliance with the LVV plate if attached. VTNZ is not liable for any modifications that do not comply with attached documentation.


A visual check is conducted to identify corrosion spots, panel or paint damage and dents in the bodywork. The windscreen and wipers are checked for damage/wear. The operation of the doors, bonnet and boot/tailgate is checked. (In a Basic Pre-Purchase Assessment the exterior assessment  is restricted to a visual check for corrosion and structural damage.)


This assessment evaluates brake performance using Roller Brake Machine technology. This technology identifies brake imbalances and performance problems, which may indicate worn or faulty components. The brakes are also checked for pad and lining wear if visible, fluid leaks and brake hose/line condition.

What The Comments Mean

  • Comments - These note any general observations that are made during the inspection.
  • Items for your consideration - These are any items that are identified during the assessment that you may wish to be aware of.
  • Requires further investigation - It is the customer’s responsibility to seek specialist advice, for further investigation of items listed to ensure that the condition meets the customer’s needs, as recommended by VTNZ.

What Is Not Included

  • Physical engine tests are unable to be carried out on most diesel vehicles and some petrol vehicles. If a physical engine test cannot be carried out, we will include the Automotive Technician's expert opinion on the status of the engine.
  • A Warrant of Fitness inspection.
  • Internal assessment or dismantling of the vehicle.
  • If the vehicle is found not to be roadworthy or safe after the assessment, VTNZ will recommend to the driver that the vehicle be towed. This will be at the driver's expense. VTNZ shall not be liable for any damage, injury or loss suffered where a vehicle has been driven against VTNZ’s recommendation that the vehicle was not roadworthy or safe.

What We Recommend

  • Ensure that the Warrant of Fitness is less than 28 days old.
  • If the vehicle has a cam belt fitted, service records should be checked to see if it has been replaced as per the manufacturer’s specification.
  • Note the cam belt condition - failure of the cam belt can result in costly engine damage.
  • Check that the VIN number from the vehicle and the Vehicle Information Report (VIR) match.