Riteve (Revision Tecnica) Advice for Car Owners
For any car owner in Costa Rica, the Revision Tecnica, commonly known as the Riteve, is a mandatory inspection required for all vehicles. For cars less than five years old, the Riteve is necessary every two years, and for the rest of us, it's an annual event.
Where Do I Go?
There are 13 official Riteve inspection facilities throughout the country. These include: Alajuela, Alajuelita, Canas, Cartago, Guapiles, Heredia, Liberia, Limon, Nicoya, San Isidro del General, Puntarenas, San Carlos, and San Miguel. An additional four mobile units service remote parts of the country.
When Do I Go?
Riteve inspections are offered from January through October. The last digit on your license plate determines your inspection month. You have until the last day of the month to pass the inspection. My plate ends with 9, so I must go by September, whereas my neighbor's plates end in 3, which equals a March deadline.
Why is Riteve Important?
Without it you can expect a very expensive ticket, and your car may be impounded. Traffic police routinely check your windshield for current Riteve stickers, and you must show proof of current Riteve to pay your annual Marchamo, a vehicle circulation permit, due December 31.
How Much Does it Cost?
Around 10,000 CRC, or $20. If you fail the inspection the first time (roughly 50% of all vehicles do!), the fee is $10 the second time around.
Can I Make an Appointment?
Yes, and it's always recommended. Visit their website, rtv.co.cr, and make the appointment online at your nearest location. Be sure to take a book, as they are often backed up.
What Documents Should I Bring?
The vehicle's original title (no copies allowed) and printed proof of your appointment.
What Do They Check?
Attendants will run a battery of tests on brake lights, turn signals, seat belts, windshield wipers, fenders, doors, lights, tires and other basic features as well as smoke and emission tests. Always make sure your fluid levels are topped off; a fresh oil change before your appointment is also recommended.
What If My Car Fails the Inspection?
This is very common, so it's important to set your appointment a few weeks before your month ends, so you have time to address the repairs needed to pass the inspection.
What If I Don't Speak Spanish?
A popular option for many expats – Spanish speakers or not—is to pay your trusted mechanic to complete the process for you. It saves a lot of time, and for $20-30, you save the headache and hassle of long waits. For an additional fee, mechanics will also do a pre-Riteve emissions test to ensure your car will pass on the first try. This extra money is well spent and recommended for anyone who owns an older car or truck.
Are There Any Alternatives?
The Public Transportation authority recently announced that it would end the Riteve monopoly on vehicular inspections in 2012. Only time will tell if car owners have other options besides Riteve.