Drivers in France are having to wait longer to book contrôles techniques for their vehicles due to a lack of qualified specialists.
The contrôle technique (CT) is similar to an MOT in the UK, and is mandatory for all privately-owned cars, including hybrid and electric vehicles (although some classic cars do not need one). Not having one can invalidate your insurance, and risks a fine of up to €750.
It is required at least every two years for all vehicles that are at least four years old, and must be undertaken by an official garage: a centre de contrôle technique agréé.
The check includes 133 mechanical checkpoints, both inside and outside the vehicle.
Two-week delays or more
Some drivers are now reporting delays of around two weeks when it comes to booking an appointment for their vehicle.
This has been blamed on a lack of qualified garage personnel, as a result of ever-stricter qualification requirements.
Drivers are warned to book their CT as early as possible to allow for the backlog. You may struggle to find a garage that can take walk-ins. You can book your CT up to six months before it is due.
You can search for a centre de contrôle technique agréé near you by using the free tool on this website, by entering your code postal or the name of your closest town.
Since 2018, the government has required CT mechanics to have a relevant Bac pro (mécanique automobile or mécanique industrielle). Prior to this, mechanics only needed a mechanics or bodywork CAP to begin working at a professional garage and to carry out CT checks.
This has led to a shortage of staff at several key garages that would usually carry out frequent CTs.
One garage belonging to the 30-strong CTS group told BFMTV that it had been trying to fill five vacant jobs at its site without success for 18 months. One mechanic now has to work on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, as well as his usual hours, to keep up with demand.
Motorbike CTs may worsen the issue
The situation is likely to continue to worsen, as motorbikes are - controversially - set to require CTs from 2024 onwards.
This new requirement attracted intense criticism from motorbike campaigners and the government U-turned on the rule several times before coming to a final decision.