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Revisión Técnica aka Riteve

June 10th, 2011

ReteveThose who drive any type of vehicle in Costa Rica must take their vehicle to be examined once every one or two years. This is done at any of thirteen locations throughout the country. This is known as Revisión Técnica or Riteve for short. Not well known is that they also have four mobile units that service remote areas North, Central, South and Los Santos.

How often you must go depends on the age of your vehicle. Newer vehicles must go every two years and those who drive older vehicles must go in ever year.  My license plate ends in a six, so June is my month, and I just had it done yesterday.

Cost for a passenger car is just under 10,000 colones or about $20.00 at the current exchange rate.

If this topic interests you (and it should even if you are an old pro because I am including some helpful info, read on!

Making an appointment.

You can, but probably should not, just wander in and try to get seen thinking someone did not show up.  Backups are long if you do not make an appointment.  Feeling lucky?  Give it a try, but the appointment thing is much easier.

Making an appointment is easy.  Here is the process:

  • Go here -HINT:  If Spanish is an issue, download and use the Google Chrome browser which will translate these pages instantly.
  • One the right side is a list of stations by name of location.  Click the one nearest you.
  • The little station icon (picture) will change to orange.  Place your mouse over it and a bubble will pop up with a link that says: “Solicitar cita previa en esta estación” Click that.
  • Next you get a chart showing open hours (in yellow).  Looks like the thing you get when choosing airline seats.
  • Click the date and time you want remembering the date format is international and the time is military time.
  • Enter your license plate number and your cell phone or other number I suppose.
  • You then get a confirmation which you should print out.
  • Done!

What gets checked?

Here is a list:

Seat Belts : You have one for each seat the belts are working properly and have no cuts or wear.

Steering Wheel : It works correctly. Does not have excessive play.

Wipers : are in good condition, operate and clean the windshield.

Polarized visors (if any): Check that the brushes do not touch.

Windshield : No cracks or ‘bull’s eyes”

Mirror : It’s in good condition and secure.

Doors : Open and close properly.

Speedometer : Working.

Fuel cap : Capped and secure.

Front and rear bumper : They’re in good condition and securely attached.

Reflective : They are 2 red and reflect light at night. This is for certain high capacity passenger vehicles like tourist type vans.

Light over License Plate : Lights up and is not loose.

Brake lights : 2 lateral and 1 central, are red, they work and are in good condition.

Rear turn signals : Red, orange, no more than 4, are working and in good condition.

Directional : They’re white or orange, no more than 4, and are working and in good condition.

High and low beams : No more than 4, white or yellow color with no difference between them.Subject and in good condition. The change of high and low light work.

Halogen (if any): They are white or yellow and should not work with high beams.

Decorative lighting products you may have installed and which are prohibited by law.

Mufflers, smoke and any noise : If gasoline engine accelerates and smokes, will not pass RTV. No abnormal noises or have the air filter or carburetor modified. Muffler required.

Tires : They are smooth, no cuts, bulges and with sufficient tread.

Fenders : Secured and in good condition.

Plates : The numbers are easily read match the title.

Title:  You MUST have the original title and not a copy.

Fluid levels Must be full. Oil, water, brakes, etc.

The Process

You pull in and park then take your original title and reservation info to let them know you are there. They give you a paper which you will give to the inspector.  You then drive around to the main entrance area and get in line.  Yes there ARE lines, but not too bad.  Make sure you are in the line for the type of vehicle you are driving.

An inspector may come out and start testing various things like doors etc.  He may also lift the hood and check the engine compartment.  I have been told but have not verified that the engine may not be overly dirty. He may check fluid levels too. While we were in line, a young woman made maybe 20 trips with a 12oz water bottle because apparently her car was low on water levels.  Washer?  Radiator?  Who knows, but don’t forget those levels.  Clearly she did not want to come back another day.

Basically?  that’s it.

My car is a 2009 model, so my next visit will be in June 2013. The rule is five years old or less years old you go every two years.  Older then five years requires an annual visit.

When to go?

You can tell when you must go here. It is based on the last number of your license plate.

Why should you not forget this?

The ticket for not having a current reteve is HUGE and can result in the confiscation of your vehicle.  Best not to fool around with this.  Get it!


16 Responses to “Revisión Técnica aka Riteve”

  1. Rebec on June 11, 2011 7:39 am

    What is considered newer vehicle? Less than 5 years, 10 years old?

  2. Bob Furlong on June 11, 2011 7:49 am

    Tim, Having never been, I was looking for the technical checks on drive thru under what get’s checked. Another installment in store? Bob

  3. don derkach on June 11, 2011 1:38 pm

    If I retire to Costa Rica and bring my 2003 Honda 2 door accord, how much taxes do I have to pay? And is it advisable to drive from Florida to C.R. or better to get it there by ship?

  4. Mike Mitchell on June 11, 2011 6:43 pm

    Insights into whether or not it would pay to ship my 1999 Ford Explorer or Kia Rio 2005? Anyone?

  5. Hamid on June 11, 2011 9:33 pm

    The first ticket I got for expired RTV, a few years ago was about 4,000 colones. No biggie. About a week ago I was stopped because my inspection had expired six days earlier. This time it was 165,000 colones!

    I won’t comment on the logic of the new fines. If you are looking for logic, keep looking!

  6. Mario on June 12, 2011 7:35 pm

    Interesting bit: most people fail RTV because of the more trivial checks you mention. They leave the house in a hurry, do the line, inspector tells them to turn on the right blinker… and it doesn’t blink. Don’t forget to check all your lights a few days in advance.

    I think the dirty engine check point is actually an engine serial number check. They’re supposed to go under the hood, check your VIN and your engine serial. If they can’t read the engine serial, you don’t pass.

  7. Mario on June 12, 2011 7:36 pm

    Don: do yourself a favor… don’t. You’ll have an easier time if you sell your 2003 accord and buy a 2003 over here.

  8. Terri Goodness on June 27, 2011 4:28 pm

    Thanks for this. I just got a huge ticket and thought it was because I was American. I see that I just made a mistake in not getting my riteve renewed and the fines are not logical. I really appreciate the info you have provided. Making an appointment today!

  9. John Boyd on July 8, 2011 8:02 am

    Is there a Riteve exemption for vehicles over 25 years old for the gases only?
    July 8 2011 John

  10. peter trombetta on November 6, 2011 10:52 am

    Believe me. 95% of the cars that get inspected will not pass for what ever reason. Why you ask? I return visit cost you 5000 more colones or 10.00 more. And they will find something for that extra 5000 colones. Welcome to Costa Rica, get used to it, it’s everywhere here.

  11. peter trombetta on November 6, 2011 10:59 am

    Bringing your car to Costa Rica. You will pay a huge import tax fee based on the valuation of your car. Ex. If your blue book value of your car is 10,000 it is not the valuation here. Blue book does not exist here. They might valuate your car at 15,000 and tax you on that amount not 10,000.My friend sold autos here for years and tried every which way to bring in a car cheaper than you can buy one here. Will not happen. Cheaper to buy one here, but be real careful if you do. You need to know the ins and outs of buying a car here.

  12. Lori Loucas on November 6, 2011 9:00 pm

    My two cents worth… We brought in a 2003 Jeep Liberty. Between car, shipping and taxes, paid about $16k total. We can buy same car here for $20k, but you KNOW it’s been “ridden hard and put away wet”. At least we know where the car has been and how it was cared for. Here, it could be a Hurricane Katrina car that was a salvage vehicle in the US. They don’t have to disclose that here. Or, it could have lived its life on the coast, going up and down steep gravel “roads”. Definitely, cars here pay the price of crummy gas. We’re happy with our decision – and when the Jeep goes to car heaven, we’ll bring another one in from the states.

  13. Ed on November 25, 2011 12:42 pm


    Am considering moving to Costa Rica. I have a 2008 Toyota Tundra 5.7 liter 4WD with 20″ run-flat radial racing all-terrain tires. It is paid for and beautiful. Is it feasible to ship it, pay the fees, and use it for executive off road tours as a business? Or, should I sell it here in Alabama, US for about $24,000, move to Costa Rica and buy something more ideal there?



  14. Mel Mongerson on December 14, 2011 12:07 pm

    I have not been to Costa Rica in two years and had the car in storage. I need to
    get a Riteve but do not have a current Riteve to drive the car to the inspection.
    The website indicates that I need the Riteve before they can issue a Marchamo.
    What can I do so I am not in violation of the Costa Rican Law?

  15. borumca on January 20, 2012 7:06 pm

    Mel, I believe that what u have to do is to make an appointment with riteve and tow you car to the appointment! and back home, get your Marchamo and voilà! Ready to drive!!

  16. Buying a Used Car in Costa Rica | Pura Vida Culture on March 18, 2012 2:42 pm

    […] The following is a list of what is checked at the Riteve: the below information was provided courtesy of http://blog.therealcostarica.com/ […]