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Delays to book obligatory CT car checks lengthen in France

A lack of trained personnel has been blamed for the backlog

A mechanic holding a clipboard and checking a vehicle in a garage

The CT has 133 checkpoints both inside and outside of the vehicle, and must be carried out by an official garage (a centre de contrôle technique agréé) Pic: Minerva Studio / Shutterstock

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.

Read more: Explainer: The rules of France’s contrôle technique car checks

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.

Read more: Do you get a notification when car’s contrôle technique test is due? 

Recruitment problems

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. 

Read more:  Update: French motorbike contrôle technique decision overturned again 

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.

Read also

French car contrôle technique centres warn of appointment bottleneck
Can I get a French contrôle technique on my UK-registered car?

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