Costa Rica’s Roadway Safety Council (COSEVI) has published a new manual for mandatory technical vehicle inspections, conducted by the Spanish-Costa Rican company Riteve SyC. A total of 14 changes were published in the official government newspaper La Gaceta on Nov. 21, and will take effect in January 2015. Drivers should note that if a vehicle is found to have a “grave infraction,” owners must fix the problem and return for a second inspection.
Once a year, all vehicles in Costa Rica must pass inspection. Those that pass receive a sticker to be affixed on the inside of a vehicle’s windshield.
Following are the 14 changes:
- License plates must be up-to-date according to rules and regulations issued by the National Registry. If current plates are not displayed at the time of inspection, a “grave infraction” will be noted.
- The installation of a “mule killer” (mataburros – a large front bumper sometimes used on 4-wheel drive vehicles) will be checked. If there is a concern that all or part of this equipment might fall off, you will receive a grave infraction.
- If the fenders on your car or motorcycle have been modified, inspectors will look for skirts that prevent airflow under the vehicle. If these skirts aren’t wide or tall enough, you will receive a grave infraction.
- If your windshield has a crack longer than 50 cm, look forward to a grave infraction.
- Buses and microbuses registered on or after January 2013 must have two- or three-point seatbelts on sideway seats or front-facing seats at the back of the vehicle. Non-compliance is considered a minor infraction.
- Starting in 2015, any vehicle brought into the country must have a speedometer that shows kilometers/hour. Failure results in a grave infraction.
- Your odometer must be in good working order. Your mileage will be noted. Riteve will ensure that the mileage hasn’t been altered or modified according to the official number registered when the vehicle entered the country. Starting in January 2016, a grave infraction will be noted for a lack of legible mileage or if it is found that the number shown is less than that originally registered.
- If your headlamps are of a different color on either side, you will get a minor infraction.
- Before the smog test, the oil pressure in vehicles with sparkplugs will be checked to see if your oil light is on. A warning light will result in a grave infraction.
- Any tow heavier than 750 kg must have working brakes. Otherwise, you get a “dangerous defect” designation.
- If the time limit on vehicles that have the steering wheel on the right side has passed, the modification to the left side must have been completed. A certificate from a properly licensed mechanical or electro-mechanical engineer must be presented, or you are prized with a grave infraction. All such conversions must be registered with the National Registry.
- Only heavy trucks can use re-treaded tires, as long as they’re designed for that use. They must be labeled “regroovable.” Otherwise, yes, a grave infraction comes your way.
- The installation of airbags will be inspected. Depending on the type of problem found, you could be found in receipt of one of four types of grave infractions, or two types of minor infractions.
- Meters will be checked in taxis to make sure they’re audible to the hearing impaired, and they must print out a receipt. Otherwise, you and your meter will be awarded a grave infraction.