Police say it is too early to tell what the car linked to missing Invercargill boy Mike Zhao-Beckenridge can tell them.
Scientists from ESR are examining the wreckage of the car, extracted from the sea near Curio Bay this afternoon, as they travel on the boat Awesome back to Bluff.
Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Bowman, of Invercargill, said he could not confirm if there were any bodies in the car, or if anyone was in the car when it went in the water.
He said the scientists would be looking for any clues about Mike and his stepfather John Beckenridge, who have been missing since March 13.
Mr Beckenridge's car was discovered in the water on March 26.
Detective Senior Sergeant Bowman said he had been speaking with Mike's family and it had been a "hard, hard" day for them.
Police used a helicopter to drag the vehicle on to rocks of the Southland bay, before divers attached floats to it and the helicopter dragged it to the waiting boat.
The operation took about five hours, after the police national dive team this morning abandoned an initial plan to float the car to the surface using airbags.
Divers entered the water of a bay about 9am this morning to start the recovery.
Mr Bowman said police were still trying to exhaust every avenue in their investigation, and the car was a major piece of evidence.
He expected to know within "a few days", what the scientists could reveal.
A police spokesman said the boat which carried the recovered vehicle was due to have already docked in Bluff.
"The vehicle will then be transported to Invercargill for further forensic testing to occur.
"Police are unable to confirm any further details until after the completion of the forensic testing over the coming days," he said.