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Vehicle Inspection, Maintenance, Repairs and Breakdown Recovery

Spain - Vehicle Inspection, Maintenance, Repairs and Breakdown Recovery

All vehicle owners in Spain are legally obliged to ensure that the car is roadworthy. It is a requirement to have a valid ITV inspection certificate at all times. The ITV test is the equivalent of the UK MOT test and this can only be carried out at authorised testing centres. The aim of the test is to ensure that all cars on the road are roadworthy and to reduce the number of accidents which are caused by drivers using vehicles in a poor condition. If you are caught driving a car that does not have an ITV test certificate you can be prosecuted and fined.

All new cars are tested when they reach four years of age and after that they should be tested every two years until they are ten years old. All cars which are over the age of 10 need to have an annual inspection carried out. All motorcycles and quad bikes are tested every two years after they are four years old and moped drivers need to have the first inspection when the vehicle is three years old, then tested every two years. If you have a vehicle that has been in an accident then an additional ITV test needs to be carried out after the repair to ensure that the work has been done properly and the vehicle is once again roadworthy.

An appointment is usually needed for an ITV test to be carried out but this will depend upon the individual testing centre. A local test centre can be found by searching the DGT website (Direccion General de Trafico). The owner should take along any technical information on the car, a copy of the registration documentation for the vehicle and proof that valid insurance has been taken out on the car.

The test itself checks various systems of the car to ensure that they are in good working order. These include the tyres, brakes, lights, emissions, shock absorbers and the wheel alignment. The mechanic carrying out the test will also look at the condition of the bodywork of the car, the mirrors and the condition of the windscreen and the wipers.

After the test the mechanic will issue a list of any issues which should be dealt with (infracciones graves & infracciones leves). All those which are considered serious (graves) need to be cleared before the certificate can be issued. The smaller faults (leves) need to be dealt with as soon as possible as fines are payable if you do not, but they will not stop the test certificate from being issued.

If the vehicle does not pass the test the owner is given a list of faults that must be dealt with within two months of the test. The repairs should be carried out and if retested at the same test centre within 15 days then the owner will normally receive a discount on the cost of the test. A car can be deregistered if it does not pass the ITV test within 2 months.

If the car passes the test then the driver will be issued with a card which shows details of all tests on the car, as well as the certificate. This is a small sticker which should be displayed in the top right hand corner of the vehicle’s windscreen. It will show when the next test is due. Cars that do not have a valid ITV certificate may not be insured.

If you take a foreign car into Spain it can only be registered when it has passed the ITV test. The UK test certificate is not valid in Spain and a Spanish certificate is not valid in any other country. A foreign car can be tested on a voluntary basis to show that it is roadworthy but the certificate will not be issued.

Breakdown services are available although there is no national service such as the AA and RAC. Most breakdown services are offered by local garages so it is best to investigate what is available locally to you when you arrive. The AA, RAC and other UK services do offer some European cover but this is generally for holiday makers rather than those who are moving abroad.

The general standard of vehicle repair is good in Spain, thanks to the system of ITV inspections and the incentives put in place by the government to encourage motorists to replace their older cars with newer vehicles.

Useful Resources

Direccion General de Trafico (Spanish Traffic Department)
Tel: + 34 902 508 686

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