The Contrôle Technique in France

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

The contrôle technique is a compulsory test for roadworthiness (similar to the UK MOT) for all vehicles of more than 4 years of age. This includes passenger cars and transport vehicles with a gross weight which does not exceed 3,5 tons. This includes passenger cars and transport vehicles with a gross weight which does not exceed 3,5 tons. The roadworthiness test is optional for motorcycles and is no longer required for a collector’s vehicle registered before 1960 (since February 2017).

Note: From 20 May 2018 the number of checkpoints on the car has increased from 123 to 133. In addition, if the required repairs are considered to be critical (that is, constituting an immediate danger to road safety), you will only have 24 hours for repairs to be done or the vehicle will not be allowed on the road. The increase in the number of points being tested will likely result in an increase in cost for the CT. 

Taking the Roadworthiness Test

The first contrôle technique (CT) of a new vehicle should be done within the 6 month period before the car becomes a 4 year old. It must be done at a recognised technical centre. You won’t receive a  reminder to get this test carried out. Take the car’s original vehicle registration document (Certificat d’Immatriculation) to the test, not a photocopy. The cost for the test may vary from one place to another, so it’s worth shopping around to compare prices.

  • To find a local test centre visit the UTAC website and select the region from the map
A CT pass is valid for two years (in the case of private cars). Take the car for the next test before the two year period expires. If you have a foreign car and don’t have a French registration document, take a Certificate de Conformité or the foreign registration document to undergo a CT. 

Commercial Vehicles must be tested for emission pollutants every year. The test generally takes no more than an hour and once completed, the test centre places the CT certificate onto the registration document.

  • To find a local test centre visit the UTAC website and select the region from the map
If the vehicle passes the test, the centre provides a document, and a stamp (vignette) for the windscreen that marks, among other things, the date the next test is due.

If the vehicle fails the test

There is a two month period in which to repair the problems before the vehicle becomes un-roadworthy. Once fixed, the centre will test for that problem only. If the car is not returned to be retested within two months, a full test will need to be retaken. The owner is fined if a vehicle is not roadworthy - the police can check this easily by looking at the stamp attached inside the windscreen.

Frequent reasons for failure:

  • worn tyre tread
  • lights not all working
  • emissions too high
  • shock absorbers faulty/worn
  • faulty/worn brakes
  • wheel alignment faulty
  • some aspects of damaged bodywork, for example if a door cannot open
  • some aspects that could impair safely, including the condition of the mirrors, windscreen and wipers
Payment is made to the centre. Prices may vary from centre to centre. There are additional tests for cars running on LPG.

Note that it is illegal to fit rear seats to a vehicle de societé (company car - delivery type) unless the work is done by a registered garage and with all new parts and authorised receipts are supplied by a main dealership.

Sale of a Used Car

A used car over four years old being sold privately must be sold with a CT certificate no more than six months old (two months if a re-test or contre-visite is required). The seller must arrange the vehicle inspection and give the valid CT certificate to the buyer as this is needed to register the vehicle in their name. 

A valid roadworthiness test certificate from another European country is accepted when selling the car, as long as it is no more than six months old, and as long as the vehicle is not yet registered in France.

Further Information