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Vehicle condition eligibility under SEVS

Under the SEVS import laws cars which are complied must be structurally sound. This means that they cannot have significant rust to the chassis or any structural components, nor can they have had structural accident history in the past, even if it has now been repaired. J-Spec would not normally consider cars with this kind of previous damage to be satisfactory for customers anyway, however also under SEVS it is a requirement.

Examples of previous accident history which could make a car ineligible for compliance could include cars with any accident history where:

  • the chassis rails were significantly bent or deformed
  • the chassis floor is significantly bent or repaired
  • the boot floor has been significantly straightened or replaced
  • inner guards have been significantly straightened or replaced
  • there are any clamp marks, indicating the chassis has been on a jig and straightened in the past
  • window pillars or side sills were bent, deformed or replaced

Examples of accident history where a car is still eligible for import would normally include parking speed accidents where panels such as the front bumper or front guards were removed, replaced or repainted, but where the structural chassis components underneath are undamaged. This is why J-Spec uses the phrase "No major accident history" for vehicles, indicating that although parts may have been repainted in the past, the chassis has never been significantly affected by an accident.

Likewise rust to the underbody or structural parts is not acceptable under SEVS, and at J-Spec we hate rust so this is something we always are wary of. Surface rust which is not structural, or surface rust to exhausts, suspension arms or other bolt-on underbody parts is acceptable as long as it is surface rust only.

In our experience in fact we are far more cautious and picky than the Registered Automotive Workshops who make the call on if a car is ok or not, and we will often turn down a car that a workshop later says upon seeing photos or a description that they would have been ok with. We believe that a bit of extra caution is far, far wiser than the alternative.