Vehicle Roadworthiness in Belgium

The compulsory roadworthiness test for your car or other motor vehicle in Belgium: why, when, where and how to get it done...

A test of vehicle roadworthiness (Contrôle technique/Autokeuring), in some form or another, has been required in Belgium since 1933.

Equivalent standards between firms undertaking inspections is maintained by the officially recognised federation, GOCA (Groupement des Entreprise Agréées de Contrôle Automobile et du Permis de Conduire/Groepering Van Erkende Ondernemingen Voor Autokeuring en Rijbewijs).

When Should a Vehicle be Tested?

New vehicles are exempt from the test until four years after first registration. Following the first inspection, vehicles need to be tested every year. This period may be extended to two years if the following apply:
  • The vehicles passes the contrôle and receives a green Certificat de Visite
  • It has covered less than 100,000 Km
  • The vehicle has been tested within its date limit
  • It is less than six years old
Note: Trailers in Belgium are also closely monitored and require registration. Vehicles with tow bars or cycle racks fitted need to be checked more often, and from the date that these devices are first fitted. Car owners will receive a reminder shortly before expiry of the current certificate. This is a green document known as the convocation/uitnodigingskaart. A vehicle should be taken for its test in the 60 days preceding expiry of the current certificate. The reminder is issued by the Ministry of Transport (Service public fédéral Mobilité et Transports/Federale Overheidsdienst en Vervoer), who should be contacted if any of the details are incorrect, or the reminder has been issued in error. The reminder also comes with details of the documents which will be required at the time of the test, the state which the vehicle should be in to undergo the test, and the opening hours of the nearest test centre.

When a car is sold

Vehicles destined for sale must also undergo the test shortly before sale.

After an accident

In addition, vehicles that have been involved in an accident must be re-tested following repairs. This is a slightly different test, and can only be carried out in specialist centres.

If the vehicle has been modified

Vehicles that have been tuned or modified in any way (for example, if the suspension has been lowered) must satisfy certain conditions. The website How2Tune has information about tuning and explains the rules and laws that apply for tuning cars in Belgium.

Taking the Vehicle Roadworthiness Test

The test must be carried out at an accredited centre. There are 77 of these in Belgium, most open from 07:00-17:00 with some open until 19:00 on Monday and/or Thursday.

Documentation required for the test

A vehicle should be presented for its test with the following original documents:
  • An up-to-date Registration Document (certificat d'immatriculation/inschrijvingsbewij), as provided by the Direction Immatriculation Véhicules (DIV)
  • Its certificate of confirmity (Certificat de conformité - COC)
  • For vehicles which have previously been tested, the Visit Certificate (Certificat de visite) issued after the contrôle technique
(see the GOCA website in French and in Dutch) The test includes a number of checks to ensure the safety of the vehicle:
  • emissions
  • the braking system
  • steering
  • mirrors and screens
  • lights and indicators
  • tyres
  • suspension
  • bodywork
  • seatbelts
Vehicles older than 25 years are exempt from some elements of the test. The model number and chassis number are also checked against the documentation brought in by the owner.

Car-Pass

The mileage is now recorded during a roadworthiness test and sent through to the central computer of Car-Pass – an organisation that maintains vehicle data for the purpose of checking legitimate mileage of vehicles being re-sold. The Car-Pass document also details the make and model of the vehicle, its date of first registration in Belgium, the chassis number, the date the document was prepared, and a unique document number for traceability.

Passing the test

Once a vehicle has gone through the test, it is issued with a green or red certificate (Certificat de Visite/keuringsbewijs). A green certificate denotes a pass. A green certificate may contain a Code 4 or 5 warning. This relates to a defect which can easily be put right and needs no re-test, or to faults which may occur soon and which the owner should be vigilant about.

Failing the test

If a vehicle fails the test, a certificate is issued, valid for three months. The necessary repairs must be carried out and the vehicle returned to the original test centre for a re-test within this period. If there are grave concerns about the vehicle's safety it may be issued with a red certificate, which is valid for 15 days or, in extreme cases, it may state that the vehicle should not be driven until the problems have been rectified. All the points on which the vehicle has failed are listed on the certificate.

Further Information

For extensive information on all driving-related matters in Belgium there are a number of sources.