Surviving a car technical inspection
All motor vehicles, including cars, vans, trailers, caravans, and even articulated lorries, which are registered in Luxembourg must pass an annual technical inspection for roadworthiness also known as the Contrôle Technique (CT).
The good news is that if your car has been on the road for less than 4 years you won’t need one yet. Technical inspections start 4 years after the car entered service, and then annually after it reaches its 6th birthday. This would explain why the second hand car market is flooded with 6-year old cars.
Inspections during current restrictions
You are still required to have a valid technical inspection document even with Covid-19 measures in place.
The SNCT appointment system is accessible on its website. You connect with your login (you can generate one the first time you use it), and choose the language of your choice (including English), then select the type of vehicle and the type of inspection, plus the inspection station of your choice.
You now also need to make an appointment for a car that was rejected (previously you turned up for a re-test). All appointments are confirmed by email and you need to print out this confirmation and bring it with you.
The Sandweiler technical control centre has a new system. Once you have checked in your car, an agent will take your keys in exchange for a ticket with a bar code. You can stay in a new waiting area, and use the ticket to collect your vehicle once the inspection is complete.
The main testing sites are Esch-sur-Alzette and Sandweiler (open Monday to Friday 07.00 to 18.30 and Saturday 07.30 to 13.15). The Livange testing centre is open Monday to Friday from 07.00 to 16.00 and Saturday 07.30 to 13.00, and Marnach centre is open Monday to Friday 07.30 to 16.30 and 07.30 to 13.00. You can find a list of addresses and opening times, plus days the centres are closed here.
You must wear your mask in your car during the entire test. Test and re-tests (if your car has failed in the previous 28 days) must be conducted by appointment, which you can book online here.
The SNCT has set up a home system for vulnerable customers, but it seems to be available to everyone subject to available time slots. An approved SNCT partner will collect your car, take it for its test, and return it to your home. You will need to provide the necessary documentation listed below. The strictest hygeine standards will be followed by the person driving your vehicle.
If you want to use this home system you can contact the SNCT on 26 15 62 333 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost including insurance for this service is €85,50 plus the cost of the technical inspection, and it is available for vehicles less than 3.5T except motorcycles.
When and where is the inspection done?
You’ll get a letter from the National Vehicle Testing Centre (SNCT) about 8 weeks before your vehicle is due for its inspection.
You book online, but appointments are booked up quite far in advance so don’t leave it until the last minute. It may even be worth booking it before the letter arrives.
You can also book your CT with Dekra in the Bourmicht business area of Bertrange, or an approved garage where a person registered to do the inspection will test your car. You’ll find a list here. Charges will be slightly higher, but the location may be more convenient. Some dealers will take your car for its check up for you, for an additional fee and give it all the pre-checks and repairs to ensure it passes.
What gets tested?
You can prepare your vehicle before you go. Check the windscreen wash is full (wipers will be tested), that all your lights including indicators and fog lights work, and that you have your breakdown triangle, yellow vest, on-board fire extinguisher, and the spare tyre is compliant.
During the test your car will go through an assault course where various inspectors will check different safety or roadworthiness requirements including:
- Vehicle ID, chassis number and licence plates
- Noise and exhaust emissions
- Lights and reflectors
- Electrical equipment
- Axles, wheels, tyres and suspension
You’ll need to take the following documents with you:
- Grey registration card
- Previous technical inspection certificate if applicable
- European Conformity Certificate for vehicles registered after 1998
- Valid insurance (green card)
- Valid tax vignette or papers
If you’ve forgotten your green card (insurance certificate), the SNCT centres have a touch screen computer that allows you to print an attestation of assurance.
On passing the inspection you will receive a new certificate which will be calculated using the expiry date of your existing certificate so you don’t lose any days if you take the inspection test early.
What happens if my vehicle fails?
If your car fails, you will get a certificate valid for 4 weeks that allows you to drive between the test centre, your home and the place of repair. You must return within 28 days for a re-test (you will need to make a re-test appointment on the SNCT website). If you don't re-test your vehicle, you must prove that it has been destroyed (a possible option if the repair bill is much higher than the value of the car). You’ll find details for de-registering your car on Guichet.
Your vehicle will only be tested for the elements that failed the inspection. Minor defects may result in you getting a certificate but will be noted on this to ensure you’ve repaired them before you return for your next inspection.
How much does it cost?
There was much consternation at the big price hike for the car inspection earlier in 2019 (a 39% increase), but fees are set and compulsory. You will pay at the end of the test regardless of whether your vehicle passes or fails.
Cars, hybrids and small vans cost €53,50, electric cars are €47. A re-test will set you back a further €25-31. Motorcycle tests cost €40. You can find a full list of charges here.
If you use an alternative centre to those run by the SNCT like Dekra expect to pay €61 for your car and possibly more at an approved garage.
Which vehicles are exempt from the CT?
Some vehicles are exempt, including mopeds, vehicles that cannot go faster than 25km per hour, small trailers weighing less than 750kg, and classic cars first driven before January 1950. In these cases, you will need a valid registration sticker. Motorcycles and cars more than 20 years old can be tested at the ACL centre in Bertrange.
Other circumstances where you will need an inspection
You might need to get a technical inspection if you modify or pimp your ride, particularly any changes to the chassis. Also, if you are involved in a major accident involving repairs to your wheels/tyres, steering, brakes, or suspension, again you’ll need to get your vehicle tested.
You must get a test if you’re stopped by the police and requested to do so. Finally, if you import a car from overseas and register it in Luxembourg (which you must do after 6 months), you may need to get it inspected before registering it (particularly if you are bringing it from outside the EEA/Switzerland).
For a light-hearted look at the trials of your car failing the Contrôle Technique, read this.