Vehicle Roadworthiness in Portugal

All vehicles must undergo regular inspection by official test centres (like the MOT test) to ensure the car is legal and roadworthy with safe emissions...

The IPO (Inspecção Périodica Obrigatória) is the roadworthiness test of a motor vehicle in Portugal. (It is also known as the Inspecção Tecnica Périodica and the Inspecção Automóvel Obrigatória.)

IPO tests are compulsory and may only be undertaken by a test centre (Centro de Inspecção) authorised by the Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes (IMT). The tests serve to ensure that the vehicle is not a hazard on the road. It is compulsory for a vehicle in use to be roadworthy.

  • All cars and motorbikes over 250cc with more than four years of age must be inspected and tested at an approved garage test centre every two years until the age of seven. From the eighth year onwards, the vehicle must be tested annually. There are no exemptions for classic cars. A vehicle may be tested 3 months prior to the due date
  • Light Goods Vehicles (LGV) must be inspected two years following the issuing of the first licence plate and annually thereafter
  • Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) must be tested one year following the issuing of the first licence plate and annually thereafter until the eight year. At this point, it must be tested twice yearly

If a vehicle has been involved in a serious accident, it should undergo an IPO Extraordinary Inspection (Inspecção Extraordinária) after repair to establish whether the repair has been carried out correctly.

Taking the IPO Test

The test centre will require:

  • Vehicle ownership document (Titulo de Registo de Propriedade) and Vehicle logbook (Livrete) or
  • DUA (Documento único Automóvel) - the new combined registration, licence plate and log book card
  • Owner's taxpayer's contribution card or number
  • The previous inspection certificate

Before carrying out the inspection, the test centre will verify the vehicle's registration number, model, motor and chassis numbers and tyre sizes. The vehicle is then tested to ensure the following things are in proper working order:

  • Tyre tread (must have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread remaining)
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Shock absorbers
  • Brakes
  • Wheel alignment
  • Windscreen wipers
  • Headlights
  • Indicator and brake lights
  • Steering
  • Horn/hooter
  • Speedometer
  • Seatbelts
  • Mirrors and reflectors
  • Licence plate

Cars are also checked for the condition of the bodywork, mirrors, and windscreen as well as safety belts. For example, if a door cannot open it may be considered a safety violation.

The following should also be in the car and may be checked:

  • A yellow, orange or red reflective danger jacket
  • One red reflective warning triangle
  • Spare wheel and the tools necessary to change it

The car must also be hygienically clean.

Failing the test

If a vehicle fails the test, a Red Form (Vinheta Vermelha) is issued listing the faults. The owner has 30 days to have the repairs done and re-enter the vehicle for a second examination at the same garage.

Passing the test

The test centre will issue a green IPO sticker and report (Vinheta Verde) that details the results of each test undertaken. It has a detachable badge showing the exact date when the test is next due, which should be displayed on the right-hand side of the front windscreen of the vehicle for police inspection.

Not displaying the green IPO certificate or driving without a valid IPO certificate can incur severe fines and car confiscation.

Foreign Vehicles

Vehicle roadworthiness is not transferable across EU countries. If a car is imported, it must pass the Portuguese IPO test before it can be registered in Portugal; likewise, the IPO of an exported Portuguese registered car will not be valid in another country.

CO2 Emissions

Allowable emission levels vary in Portugal depending on the make, model, and age of the car.

Further Information