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The Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection or RITEVE

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

The Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection or RITEVE

Those who own a vehicle in Costa Rica should know about RITEVE or Vehicle Inspection in Costa Rica. Why?

You don’t carry a valid RITEVE sticker on the right side of your windshield? Then you are bound to receive a ticket and a traffic inspector can confiscate your license plates.

The Riteve sticker, the Marchamo sticker, and the 3rd license plate are the three stickers you should worry about having always up to date in Costa Rica if you don’t want to run into trouble with the law.


Costa Rican traffic law obliges every vehicle owner in Costa Rica to have the vehicle inspected once a year by Riteve, to ensure that the vehicle complies with the safety standards and traffic regulations of Costa Rica and those established by the manufacturer to be able to circulate.

Where is RITEVE?

RITEVE or RTV means Revisión Técnica Vehicular or Technical Vehicle Revision. Riteve offers 13 revision stations in different locations throughout the country as well as 4 mobile units. Click on the map below, this will take you to the RITEVE map. You schedule an appointment directly from here or by calling  905-788-000.

The Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection or RITEVE

Before the vehicle can be inspected, RTV will first identify the vehicle by controlling the VIN number, the chassis number, and the license plates. Then they will inspect the vehicle thoroughly inside-out. The inspections have the fundamental purpose to increase the level of road safety and quality of the air by detecting anomalies that affect the essential components of the vehicle and the quality of the environment.

The Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection or RITEVE

When is it your turn for the Riteve inspection?

  • If your vehicle is less than 5 years old, you have to get your vehicle inspected every 2 years.
  • If your vehicle is older than 5 years, you have to get your vehicle inspected every year.

Check the last number of your license plate, for the month of your inspection:

January     1
February    2
March        3
April           4
May            5
June           6
July            7
August       8
September 9
October      0

The Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection or RITEVE

Import a vehicle

When you import your vehicle when you move to Costa Rica or import a car from another country, before the car is allowed to circulate, you will need to take the vehicle to the vehicle inspection first for approval. For 2015, vehicles have to measure in kilometers per hour so imported cars from the US have to be adjusted.

Purchase a used vehicle

When you purchase a used car in Costa Rica, play it safe and oblige the seller to get the car RTV approved before you purchase. Many used car dealers have the bad habit of rolling back the odometer to alter the mileage. The vehicle inspection started in 2015, takes inventory of the number of kilometers of each car on each inspection.

An amazing amount of those used cars (mostly sold by used car dealerships) seem to have wrecked or salvaged and are patched up before they are offered for sale in Costa Rica. Before you purchase a used car that comes from the US, check it on CarFax first. You will be amazed to see how easy it is to purchase cars like that from the US yourself, check here. If you purchase a vehicle like that, you might have some surprises waiting for you at your first inspection.

The Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection or RITEVE

What will Riteve check?

The RTV checklist is a mile long but emission control is one of the most important of the list of revisions. I find it easier to ask my mechanic to take the car a week before my Riteve inspection is up, check everything thoroughly and he will make the appointment for the inspection and take it there himself. Unless you are a mechanic yourself or know a lot about cars, why bother trying to do it yourself if you don’t have a clue what will need to get fixed and how?

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Ivo Henfling

If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the central Valley, or looking for any property for sale in Escazu, you need to call me. I have been selling real estate in Escazu for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and other areas. To me, a deal is not a good deal unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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