With the introduction of new laws regarding motoring there has been a flurry of activity, as the ITV stations are rammed full with drivers and riders getting their vehicles inspected. Pedro, Paco and Paci (Paco’s female equivalent) are taking packed lunches whilst queuing up for their inspection. Making an appointment would have been easier

Basic vehicle checks could have prevented the “desfavorable” tickets being issued and it is always amazing to witness the amount of defective lights, noisy exhausts and bald tyres that wishful thinking will never allow through. Some folks opt for a pre-ITV at a garage and these can certainly be of use in finding basic faults but are no substitute for the real thing and give opportunity to the unscrupulous to find fault as may happen with the notorious MOT where the brake discs seem to need changing every year. If you use a garage, ask for recommendations from friends

Simple checks

Lights should be checked all round preferably with the help of the other half or a friend. Some bulbs require the services of a contortionist with rubber fingers to change. It is for your safety that you should check the condition of the wipers as the testers only seem to check that they move. Washers should do as advertised; a blocked nozzle can be cleared by a bent pin. The horn should be loud enough to frighten suicidal cyclists

Emissions are difficult to check but if your exhaust is chucking out enough smoke to hide a fleet of destroyers then a fuel additive may do the trick. If you usually only undertake short journeys, a blast along the motorway before the inspection should clear out clinging particles. The mandatory noise test in the Valencia region should be no cause for concern unless your exhaust has holes or you are a Harley-Davidson rider

Brakes and tyres

Brakes can be checked by screaming along the motorway too close to the car in front in Spanish style, then slamming them on when the lead vehicle suddenly slows. A safer method is to find a nice quiet spot off the public highway such as an industrial estate on a Sunday afternoon or the road outside of a government office during the siesta and firmly apply the brakes whilst holding your hands close to but off the steering wheel. You should stop in a straight line with no unnecessary vibration or noise. Slamming the brakes on will also fracture any built up gloss on the pads giving better grip

The tyres should be evenly worn all around showing enough tread that the “wear bars” running across the tyre is not flush with the rubber that touches the road. Check that the pressure is correct; the right inflation level is normally noted on a sticker inside the fuel filler cap or on a door column. If you have had the tyres changed since the last inspection, ensure that they match the description shown on the same sticker. In the UK and Ireland less attention is paid to weight and speed ratings than here where they are rigidly enforced. The ratings are at the end of the tyre description, such as 94W


On the other hand perhaps you should ignore all of the above and pay close attention to the paperwork because with this being Spain it is more important than the vehicle itself! If your vehicle is Spanish registered, you will need to take along to the ITV station the registration document (Permiso De Circulacion), ITV card (Tarjeta Inspeccion Tecnica De Vehiculos) and insurance certificate. The ITV card is a complete description of your vehicle so if you have made any modifications such as adding a tow bar or changing the wheels for bigger ones, these have to be approved and added to the card

A vehicle being inspected for re-registration will also need to be accompanied by a Certificate of Conformity or Engineer’s report (ficha reducida) but this is a whole different subject