Understanding the ITV Test: Common Failures for Right-Hand Drive Vehicles in Spain

Understanding the ITV Test: Common Failures for Right-Hand Drive Vehicles in Spain

If you’re planning to take your right-hand drive (RHD) vehicle to Spain and register it onto Spanish plates, it’s crucial to find out as much as you can about the ITV test – Spain’s equivalent of the MOT. This technical inspection ensures that vehicles meet the country’s safety and environmental standards. Unfortunately, many UK vehicle owners are not prepared for the specific requirements of the ITV test, so here’s a breakdown of the most common reasons RHD vehicles might fail this inspection:

The Headlights Conundrum

In the UK, RHD vehicles are of course designed with headlights that direct the beam towards the left so oncoming drivers aren’t dazzled.. However, in Spain, we drive on the opposite side of the road, so the headlight beam needs to face the other way. During the ITV test, inspectors use a device known as the “cannon” to check the direction of the headlight beam. If your vehicle’s beam points to the left, it’s a guaranteed fail. While halogen headlights typically need to be replaced, in modern vehicles with LED and Xenon headlights, the beam direction can sometimes be changed automatically using the vehicle’s settings.

Fog Lights: A Simple Switch

Spanish regulations dictate that vehicles must have a rear fog light on the left side. Many UK vehicles, however, feature this light on the right. If you have fog lights on both sides, then you won’t need to make any changes. The good news? In many cases, it’s a straightforward process to switch the fog light from the right to the left side.

Speed Matters: Kilometres vs Miles

Your vehicle’s speedometer must display speed in kilometres per hour (km/h) for the Spanish roads. While many modern vehicles allow drivers to change between miles and kilometres via the vehicle’s settings, it’s essential to ensure that the speed is clearly readable in km/h before your ITV test.

Tyre Troubles

Spain has stringent regulations when it comes to tyre specifications. The ITV test will check your vehicle’s tyres against the manufacturer’s recommended size, weight limits, and speed ratings. Even if your tyres are in perfect condition, they could cause a test failure if they don’t match the required specifications. It’s always a good idea to double-check your tyres conformity before the test and remember that tyres on the same axle are a fail. 

Beware of Unregulated Modifications

Spain takes a dim view of unregulated vehicle modifications. Whether it’s window tints without the necessary EU certification, tow bars that don’t align with specifications, or any other unauthorised changes, such modifications can lead to a failed ITV test. It’s worth noting that post-Brexit, vehicles from the UK registered after 1 January 2021 are considered non-EU. As such, they can only be brought into Spain under a change of residence.

Navigating the ITV test with a UK vehicle can be challenging, but with the right preparation, it’s entirely manageable. Ensure your vehicle meets the Spanish standards, and you’ll be cruising the beautiful Spanish roads without a hitch. If you found this guide helpful, consider sharing it with fellow UK drivers planning a Spanish adventure. Safe travels!

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