Beware rush as drivers try to beat strict new contrôle

Test centres brace for surge in demand ahead of tough new standards

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Test centres for the contrôle technique (CT) across France are bracing themselves for a rush in spring as drivers sign up early to get their cars checked to beat new, stricter controls that start on May 20.

Motorists must get a CT done on cars at four years old - then every two years and can do it up to six months before it is due.

But from May 20, the test will take longer and cost more (leading testers SGS say 15-20% more expensive) with increased pollution checks. Many more vehicles are expected to be rejected with faults, which will be renamed ‘failures’.

The number of checks rises from 123 to 132 and failures could soar from 453 to 606. There will also be 127 ‘critical failures’ where owners cannot drive their vehicles ex­cept to a garage to get repair work done within 24 hours, and 340 ‘major failures’ needing repairs within two months. In each case, vehicles will face a retest.

Many future ‘critical failures’ such as a worn tyre are not seen as dangerous in the current test and the number of retests could double from the present 18%.

Nearly 25 million cars are due to undergo a CT each year but as there is no automatic reminder system one in three drivers forget, risking a €135 fine. Driving with a major or critical failure will from May 20 also be liable to a €135 fine.

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