Pass the Spanish MOT first time!

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The Spanish MOT, or more correctly, the Inspecciòn Tècnica de Vehiculos (ITV) is required to make your vehicle legal to drive in Spain. It proves your vehicle is road-worthy.

All Spanish vehicles should have a coloured sticker on the windscreen that shows when the ITV is due. Stickers for next year (2024) are in red. If you are buying a car, check this important sticker is present.

How often is the ITV?

If you are lucky enough to have a car under four years old, you do not need to worry about the ITV. Cars that are between four and ten years old, have an ITV every two years, and after that it becomes an annual event.

Booking the ITV

Nearly every town has an ITV centre. Unlike in the UK, these centres do not do any repair work so there are no conflict of interests. The centre will test your vehicle and send you on your way if there is nothing wrong. There is no temptation to “invent” things that need fixing in order to pass the test.

You may have seen an ITV logo in your nearest town. If not just Google the location of the nearest. You can either book online, by phone, or just pop into the office at the ITV centre.

Pre-ITV checks

  • Make sure your tyres are all good. They should be the same type on both sides of the axle, but can be different between the front and rear. The should not be worn or have cracks.
  • Get someone to stand outside your vehicle while you test each light in turn. lights. Make sure indicators, brake, side, main and reverse lights all work.
  • Your brakes should be good, and stop well without pulling to one side.
  • There should be no smoke coming out of the exhaust. If there is, you will need to get this looked out before the test.
  • All seat belts should be working, with no rips in the material
  • Check the horn actually works!
  • Make sure your wiper blades are working, and the wash reservoir has some fluid in it.
  • Finally, if you have any stone chips in the drivers field of view these will need fixing at somewhere like CarGlass. If it is cracked anywhere, the whole windscreen will need replacing.

On the way to the test

Make sure the engine is nice and hot. Rev it harder than you normally would, and linger in lower gears to really get the engine hot and burn off any crud. If you have an older vehicle, chuck some RedEx or similar additive into the fuel tank to help reduce emissions.

Required documents

When you arrive at the test centre for your appointment, park up and go into the office. They will want to see:

  • Ficha Tecnica, this is the document from the last ITV test. If this is the first ITV then you will not have one of these
  • Permiso de Circulación, your vehicles registration document (think logbook for UK readers)

I have done two ITVs now, and never been asked for these, but in case you are asked, it is probably a good idea to have your NIE and insurance certificate to hand.

Finally, you will need some means to pay. The fee for my 2.0 litre diesel in Murcia was 54€. Smaller cars will cost less.

The ITV process

You will be directed to a lane. Follow the lane into the test centre and stop at the stop sign. Wait until you are directed by a member of staff. Chances are, as an English speaker, the tester official will ask for permission to drive your vehicle rather than directing you. This means you get to sit down and wait for the results.

Our test took about 20 minutes. At the end of the test, the tester disappeared for about ten minutes to print the paperwork. Until the very end you have no idea if you have passed or failed, these guys would make great poker players as they reveal nothing!

Something I love here, and I am not sure if it is every ITV centre or just the one we use, but they always give you free gifts. I have had mineral water, a bottle of wine and a torch so far.

And that is it! We passed! I think the system is fairer than the UK, and any well-maintained car should not have any trouble passing the ITV.

One final point though. We were actually testing our motorhome this time. We were asked to sign a declaration about our awning and solar panel installation to say it was ok. This had been installed many years ago in France by the previous owner, so no documentation existed. I believe in the future, new motorhomes will need paperwork to prove the installations are safe and legal. So if you have any work done to add extra features to your motorhome, make sure you get all the paperwork for it, or you could be asked to remove the additions!

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