06 December 2012

Passing inspection

It gets colder and colder as the week goes on. It's snowing around Paris (150 miles northeast of Saint-Aignan) and and in northeastern France, and there's been a lot of snow in the French Alps. We haven't had any here so far, though we saw some sleet for a few minutes yesterday morning.

It's time for my biennial contrôle technique. My car's, I mean. It has to pass an official safety inspection every other December. All cars registered in France that are four years old and older have to be inspected every two years and certified to be mechanically sound.

The inspection list includes more than 125 items that get checked. To prepare for the contrôle, I take the car in for an oil change and general going-over by my regular mechanic the week before I take it to the inspection station. The inspection people don't do repairs, so they are in theory objective about the state of the vehicle. The fee is about 75 euros, or $100 U.S.

So I'm taking the voiture to the mécanicien this afternoon. My little Peugeot is 12 years old now and has about 165,000 km (100,000 miles) on the odometer. Since it has a diesel engine, it should last quite a bit longer. That's especially the case because I drive it so little and so gently nowadays, and I keep it in the garage in the winter.

Here's the Peugeot, a 206 with a diesel engine that I bought used in 2003.

In the U.S., only 17 states require annual or biennial vehicle safety inspections. In other states, only what they call a smog check (emissions inspection) is required. Ten U.S. states have no vehicle inspection requirements at all.


  1. i live in one of those states requiring inspections (well actually both VA & NC do) so I will still get them when we move to NC in the spring......I think its good to have them, despite being a pain.....we have nothing but very old cars so we always keep our fingers crossed that the car passes, or if somethings wrong, that its cheap to fix....good luck with yours

  2. How did I end up living in only states where a full inspection is required!?!?

    I didn't at all realize that only so few require the full inspection.

  3. Here in Texas it's an annual
    event, but not $100, thank
    goodness (about $15).

  4. I live in one of the ten states with no inspection- Alabama. There are many unsafe vehicles on our roads not to mention polluting our air. I even saw a flag with a coiled snake on it yesterday in someone's yard saying, "Don't tread on me".

    I hope your car passes with flying colors! It has served you well so far.

  5. Your car is really in good shape and still looks really "young". My Honda Accord is 18 years old and I want to keep it another 2 years just because it is still dependable and one day I will be able to say "my little Honda lasted 20 years". My wasteful neighbors ask me all the time when I am going to buy a new car. They just don't get it.

  6. Wow that sky is amazing. Our little Clio sailed through its test earlier this year so we are OK for a bit. Diane

  7. When I lived in Wisconsin and Illinois we had to take out car in for the inspections - no cost to us, by the way. Even when my Volvo was 17 years it passed nicely.
    Now in Oregon, there is no vehicle inspection except the one that is done when a new driver goes in for the driving test.
    I might have driven a rented Clio like yours one time. Yours has been well-cared for it looks like!
    France does a lot of things right - making their residents have vehicle inspections is a good thing in my book - too bad it costs so much.

  8. Florida is one of those states that has no vehicle inspection. We used to have to do that, but it became so obvious that we were being ripped off that the state in their infinite wisdom stopped the inspections. Of course, we never had to pay €75 for the privilege.


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