Control Technique MOT

Controle Technique - MOT Test in France for cars and light vehicles

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The ‘contrôle technique’ is an obligatory vehicle inspection that must be undertaken every two years. 

The test applies to all passenger and transport vehicles up to 3.5 tons gross weight. Vehicles above this weight are subject to a separate set of regulations.

If you own a vehicle over 30 years old (véhicule de collection), the test is only required every 5 years.

For new vehicles, the first test must be within the 6 months that precede the fourth year of registration. To explain: If you purchased a car on 1st Sept 2014, you need to submit for its first contrôle technique between 1st March and 30th August 2018.

There is also a separate pollution test for commercial vehicles over 4 years old, which must be undertaken on an annual basis.

You are not sent any official notification that your vehicle is due for the test, so you need to diary the date, although once you have undertaken the first MOT, the centre will normally send you a reminder when the next one is due.

Motorcycles are currently not subject to a test.

Selling a Car or Vehicle

There are particular rules governing the sale of a vehicle and the contrôle technique.

If you sell your car, and the vehicle is at least 4 years old, the seller has to provide a test certificate dated no later than 6 months from the sale. This period is reduced to two months if a further test is required. 

There is no requirement that the vehicle must have passed the test, or that the seller should undertake any works required to make it roadworthy, should it have failed. You are completely free to sell or buy a vehicle that has not passed the test, provided the test was undertaken within the stipulated period.

The certificate is required by the new owner for registration of the vehicle in their name. So if you buy a vehicle with a roadworthiness certificate that is not valid, you will not be able to register it in your name.

For a vehicle under 4 years old, it is possible to arrange for a 'voluntary' MOT to be undertaken, which either seller or purchaser might find useful. The test has no official status.

Control Elements

The CT currently examines 124 elements of the vehicle.  Not all problems that are found result in a failure of the test. Test failure, requiring a re-test after repairs have been undertaken, occurs in 72 points of control.

The test is undertaken without dismantling any part of the vehicle, by a visual examination or a test of performance, eg braking, suspension, pollution and normally lasts around 45 minutes.  Once the test has finished you are given a report (procès-verbal) which will list any defects found. 

Currently if your vehicle fails the test you are given two months to undertake the repairs and to return the vehicle to a test centre for an examination of the repair. You are permitted to drive the vehicle during this two month period. If the test fails again, you are given a further two months to repair and return to the test centre.

Test Centres and Costs

The tests are carried out by one of the thousands of accredited vehicle workshops located throughout France. You will find them listed in the pages jaunes.

Their prices do vary as they are not set by the government. Expect to pay between €70 and €90. 

The cost of a re-test of those elements that failed the test is generally between €10 and €30, depending on the number of elements to be inspected. 

You are free to choose whatever accredited test centre you wish, inside or outside of the department in which you reside.

Changes to the Controle Technique 2018

In May 2018 the following changes are expected:

  • Increase of the number of items checked from 124 to 400.
  • If the vehicle fails one or more of the new 146 “critical” defects the amount of time given to fix the car and have it retested will be just 24 hours.
  • The vehicle will undergo a "5-gas" control, capable of quantifying the emission level of particles and nitrogen oxides.
  • Due to the increased time needed and new equipment including the gas analyser the price is expected to rise by between €50 and €80


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