Roadworthiness Tests in Costa Rica

Information about the compulsory roadworthiness test - Revisión Técnica de Vehiculos - in Costa Rica...

The Revisión Técnica de Vehiculos (RTV) is a mandatory roadworthiness test required for all cars, trucks, taxis, busses and motorbikes which are registered in Costa Rica. The Riteve SyC is responsible for carrying out the tests.

Every vehicle must have a certificate of roadworthiness (RTV) to prove it has passed the test. There is a substantial fine for driving a vehicle without a valid certificate.

In addition, a sticker must be displayed on the windscreen to show that a Revisión Técnica has been successfully completed.

The official RTV website outlines the rules of the RTV as well as showing the locations of test centers throughout the country. It is possible to book a test via the website (in Spanish).

When Should a Vehicle Be Tested?

The test must be taken every year for cars over five years old and every two years for those under five years old. Tests are conducted from January to October. The month in which the test must be taken is decided according to the last digit of the registration plate of the vehicle. For example, if the last digit is 5, the vehicle must be tested in May.

The test must be done by the final day of the relevant month.

It is possible to find out online when a vehicle's next roadworthiness test is due by typing the relevant registration into the field under Verifique su Carro: Click here.

Public transport vehicles are subject to roadworthiness tests twice a year, every six months.

  • For further information about how often a roadworthy test is needed: Click here (in Spanish)

Taking the Test

The roadworthiness test is carried out at an accredited test center.

  • For a list of the locations of the 13 roadworthiness test centers in Costa Rica: Click here

In addition to the 13 test centers, there are also four mobile test centers, each of which covers a certain region and moves between towns.

  • For information about the mobile test centers: Click here (in Spanish)

To book an appointment online:

  • Select the relevant test center on the Riteve SyC website, and then click on Solicitar cita previa en esta estación
  • Select a date and time from the yellow boxes marked horario libre
  • Enter the vehicle's registration number (Matrícula del vehículo)
  • Enter a mobile phone number (Teléfono celular) to receive a confirmation SMS

Alternatively, appointments can be made by telephone, Tel: 905 788 00 00.

The roadworthiness test costs about CRC 10,000, which must be paid on the test day before the test is done.

Documents required for the test

  • Official ID
  • Vehicle Property Title (Titulo de Propiedad de Vehiculos)
  • Test center appointment print-out (if applicable)

Pre-test check

Ensure that all fluid levels in a vehicle are topped up before taking the test; it is also advisable to change the oil. It is possible to have a pre-RTV check done at a garage; they can also take the car for the test. A car taken for testing by a garage usually passes the roadworthiness test first time.

The test includes a number of checks for the following:

  • Bodywork
  • Brakes
  • Doors
  • Emissions
  • Headlights
  • Mirrors
  • Reflectors
  • Seat belts
  • Tires
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Wheel alignment
  • Windscreen chips/defects
  • Windscreen wipers

For a list of recommended checks before taking a vehicle for a roadworthy test: Click here (in Spanish)

Passing the test

When a vehicle passes a roadworthiness test, an inspection certificate and a sticker for the windscreen are issued.

Failing the test

The vehicle must be tested again at the same center where the first test was taken; the re-test costs about CRC 5,000.

  • For further information on roadworthiness tests: Click here (in Spanish)

Selling a Car

It is possible to buy or sell a car without a valid roadworthiness test certificate (RTV), but buyers usually negotiate a valid RTV as part of the transaction.

Insurance

A car must have a valid roadworthiness certificate for the owner to pay the obligatory liability insurance and car tax. This is called Marchamo, and is paid annually. It is illegal to drive a car which does not have Marchamo: the car can be impounded and there is a substantial fine.

  • For information about the Marchamo: Click here (in Spanish)