In Spain, the periodic road worthiness inspection, is the ITV. (Inspeccion Tecnica de Vehiculos – Vehicle Technical Inspection). Like the UK MoT test, it’s mandatory for all road going vehicles, and driving without a valid ITV can result in fines.
When Does The ITV have to be done?
The frequency of the ITV test depends on the age and type of vehicle. New cars are first tested after 4 years and must be inspected every 2 years thereafter, until they reach 10 years of age. Any car over 10 years of age has to be tested annually.
Motorcycles, mopeds and quad bikes are first tested after 5 years, after which the test is due every 2 years. Caravans are first tested at 6 years, after which the test is due every 2 years.
If a vehicle has been involved in a serious accident, it also has to undergo an ITV assessment after being repaired, to confirm its road worthiness.
What Happens at the ITV?
It’s best to pre-book your ITV appointment (cita previa). You can do this online or by phone. At the moment ITV centres are still very busy due to the back log from the lockdown, so you could be hanging around all day if you go for a walk in appointment.
With a pre-booked ITV, you should arrive at the centre at least 10 minutes before you appointment and go to the ticket machine and tap the ‘cita previa’ option. You enter your vehicle registration and take the ticket. Keep an eye on the display for your ticket number, and when it comes up, you go to the desk indicated and hand over your vehicle documents, (permiso de circulacion and ficha tecnica). You’ll pay the test fee, and be given a receipt. They’ll hold onto your ‘ficha technica‘ as assuming you pass, they’ll need to stamp it at the end of the test. (In some places they give you a clipboard to hand to the inspector).
You then go to your car and wait for your registration to come up on the display. When it does, you drive to the indicated inspection bay.
The test begins with a check of the vehicle exhaust emissions, headlight alignment, lights indicators, windscreen wipers, horn and seatbelts etc. They they will take a look under the bonnet of the car, and also check that the windows wind up and down.
After that you’ll be told to drive forward for the mechanical tests and underside checks. Your handbrake and brakes will be tested on a rolling road, then the steering gear, shock absorbers and underside will be checked.
What do they look for in the inspection at the ITV?
- tyres (damage, tread, correct type)
- lights (beam alignment, all working, correct bulbs)
- emissions (within the permitted limits)
- suspension (worn shock absorbers, worn bushes)
- steering (tie rods, connections, play)
- brakes (pads, discs, fluid, leaks)
- safety devices (seatbelts, horn all functioning)
- doors & windows functioning
- seats (folding access seats e.g. in 2 door cars)
- engine fluid leaks
- windscreen (wipers and screen wash work, cracks)
The inspector will also check the condition of the bodywork, windscreen and mirrors, dashboard warning lights and that all essential equipment functions correctly. A fault with any of the above could result in an ITV test fail.
ITV Test Results
On completion of the test, a document called an ‘informe‘ is issued. There are four outcomes,
- Inspeccion favorable – Pass
- Inspeccion con defectos leves – Pass with minor faults
- Inspeccion desfavorable – Fail due to serious faults (defectos graves)
- Inspeccion negativa – Fail due to very serious faults (defectos muy graves)
The presence of any serious or very serious faults will lead to an inspection failure. Minor faults (defectos leves) are similar to MoT advisory notes, i.e. smaller faults which don’t require a retest, but which should be rectified as soon as possible. If you are stopped by the Police some time after the ITV test, and your vehicle still has the minor faults that are shown on the ‘informe‘, you could end up with a fine.
ITV – Test Failure
If a vehicle fails the test, the owner must correct the listed faults, and resubmit the vehicle for testing. If very serious faults are found, the vehicle cannot be driven away from the inspection station. I.e. it will have to be taken home or to your repair garage by tow truck (grua). Repairs must be completed within 2 months of the inspection.
If repairs are carried out and the vehicle is retested within the 2 month window, you will normally not have to pay for the repeat test. Should the car not be retested in the 2 months after the inspection, notification will be sent to the Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico, and the car may be deregistered. In any event, a higher test fee will be incurred. Having an appointment booked for an inspection after the due date, but continuing the drive the vehicle is illegal.
The ‘informe‘ shows that the vehicle passed the inspection and this successful pass is stamped in the vehicle log book (ficha tecnica) as proof of road worthiness. An ITV test windscreen sticker is also issued which shows the month and year of the next test due. The sticker must be displayed in the top right hand corner of the windscreen. In the case of motorbikes and mopeds, it can be carried with the vehicle’s paperwork.
Although on Spanish vehicles the ITV next test date is indicated by a sticker placed in the windscreen (with a hole punched in the month), this does not mean you have until the end of that month to submit pass the inspection. This only serves as a first reference. The date that is logged from the last ITV inspection, is the date that must be adhered to. (If you bought a vehicle new, then it is 4 years after the first date of registration). Penalties for driving with no valid ITV are from €200 euros upwards, and the vehicle may be impounded.
How Much Does the ITV Cost?
The cost of an ITV varies between provinces and according to the vehicle size and type. For petrol smaller engine cars its around €30, larger engine and diesel around €40 or €50.
If you have an older vehicle, it’s worth going to a mechanics or garage that provides a pre-check service, to make sure your car is ready for the test. Some garages also offer a service to take your vehicle through the test for you. For many this is without doubt a stress-avoiding and sensible, time saving solution.
Whilst the price might not put someone off putting their vehicle through the ITV, the experience itself might. Apart from typically having to set aside a few hours for a 15 minute test, during the test you have to go through various checkpoints and perform various tasks, for which all the instructions are called out in Spanish.
NOTE: If you are registering a vehicle from another country, it will also have to be inspected at the ITV, but this is a much different process and costs around €150.
Need a hand with your ITV?
We can arrange a pre-check for you, book your appointment and go with you, and if you really can’t be bothered with it all, we can pick up your car and take it for you. (Available Malaga to Estepona)