General inspection

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The main inspection that recurs in Germany (abbreviation: HU, colloquially TÜV ), in Austria recurring assessment , in Switzerland motor vehicle inspection (abbreviation: MFK) is intended to ensure the compliance with regulations and environmental compatibility of means of transport .

There are different legal regulations for this, which stipulate technical examinations at regular time intervals; worldwide, the intervals for a technical examination are typically annual or every two years.

The examinations in other countries of the world are partly limited to the implementation of a technical inspection during the first registration or later re-registration, however the examination of the engine emissions is always carried out in periodic repetition.


Common EU law

The Directive 2014/45 / EU beauflagt all Member States of the European Union to carry out regular inspections of motor vehicle safety and engine emissions. For light commercial vehicles (up to 3.5 t) and private vehicles (with up to eight seats) it is stipulated that the first general inspection takes place after four years and subsequent main inspections every two years. All other types of vehicles should be subject to an annual inspection (buses, trucks, trailers, taxis, ambulances, carriages are indicated). Army, fire brigade and special vehicles are excluded from the directive. However, various EU states have shorter test cycles that deviate from this.

Test reports issued by one member state must be recognized by others. The guideline defines a minimum scope of tests: identification of the vehicle, braking system, steering, visibility, lighting system and parts of the electrical system, axles, wheels, tires and suspension, chassis and parts attached to it, other equipment, environmental pollution and additional tests for vehicles used for passenger transport. The member states can expand the scope of tests, make the brake tests narrower, include other vehicle categories and narrow the test intervals.


Main inspection stickers,
issue for new vehicles from 2016
HU inspection sticker as proof of the main inspection, here valid up to and including December 2007. The end month is at the top ( 12 noon ).
HU inspection badge for 1978, still with the old arrangement of the month numbers
Signposting of test points

Since December 1, 1951, the HU has been mandatory for motor vehicles in Germany. This is to ensure that no unfit motor vehicle takes part in road traffic .

The examination of the engine management and emission control system (UMA) is part of the general inspection . Additional safety tests are required for trucks with a gross vehicle weight over 7.5 t and buses and coaches .

See also: Inspection stickers (license plates)


The scope and procedure of the inspection are precisely defined in the guideline on carrying out the main inspections and assessing the defects found on vehicles . The HU is a disassembly-free visual, functional and effectiveness test of certain components as well as a check of the vehicle for compliance with the StVZO . It includes traffic safety , but not operational safety .

All vehicles and trailers that require registration are subject to the inspection obligation ( Section 29 StVZO ). This does not apply to motor vehicles with a red license plate, but also to vehicles with an insurance license plate (scooters, S-Pedelecs and light vehicles up to 45 km / h), as well as self-propelled machines . The HU on vehicles of the Bundeswehr and the Federal Police is largely carried out by internal testing organizations.

Fire brigade and disaster control vehicles may be subject to different inspection intervals depending on the federal state.

The examination intervals are different (see Annex VIII to § 29 StVZO ). Here are a few examples:

Vehicle type 1. Examination interval after initial admission Further examination intervals
Car 36 months 24 Months
Taxis and rental vehicles 12 months 12 months
Motorcycles / light motorcycles 24 Months 24 Months
Trailers up to 750 kg 36 months
Trailers up to 3.5 t gross vehicle weight and caravans 24 Months
Trailers over 3.5 t gross vehicle weight 12 months 12 months
Trucks up to 3.5 t gross vehicle weight 24 Months 24 Months
Trucks over 3.5 t gross vehicle weight 12 months 12 months
Omnibuses (more than 8 passenger seats)


In Germany, the HU is not carried out by authorities, but by state-recognized testing organizations such as DEKRA , TÜV Süd , TÜV Nord , TÜV Rheinland , TÜV Thuringia , TÜV Hanse , TÜV Hessen , TÜV Saarland , GTÜ or KÜS . Due to the earlier monopoly of the TÜVs as the executing organization, the general inspection is often colloquially called "TÜV".

The vehicle owner is responsible for the timely demonstration to the HU . According to the fee schedule for measures in road traffic, he must also bear the costs for the HU. The HU is carried out at a facility of the testing organizations, in a motor vehicle workshop or in the vehicle fleet of a company. The vehicle owner presents his / her vehicle there for inspection at a convenient or agreed date. As a rule, he can attend the exam.

An HU is evidenced by a test certificate or an examination report. If no significant defects are found, the vehicle registration document is provided with the examiner's stamp and name and the test sticker is attached to the rear license plate . This documents the year and month (recognizable by the top number on the badge) of the next HU. If significant defects are found, a re-presentation is required after the defect has been remedied (re-examination). If the road safety of the vehicle is no longer given, the test sticker is removed and the prohibition to participate in road traffic is pointed out. The investigation report must be submitted when registering and changing the vehicle.

quality control

The testing organizations are subject to official control and accreditation at state level. Means of control include a. defective test vehicles. Since the testing organizations are dependent on income, there is considerable competition, so that higher-level internal or official plausibility checks are not the rule. Unrealistic testing services therefore usually remain undetected or are only revealed through police checks or customer complaints.

For testing in workshops, an agreement between the respective testing organization and the workshop owner is required. The organizations are interested in being able to test in as many workshops as possible, as these are used to acquire customers indirectly . The workshops may be offered attractive conditions, in any case they benefit from the repair orders from their customers to prepare for the general inspection or to remedy defects after the general inspection. Likewise, the presence of the vehicle owner and possible influence of the workshops are general conditions that can affect the test behavior. HU “tests” in which the vehicles were neither viewed nor checked are possible; the involvement of a car workshop is usually essential. Improper superficial tests cannot be ruled out either. In this respect, the German HU system is not immune to corruption and is fundamentally different from the system in Switzerland (see below).

The issuing of test certificates, stamps and badges without proper HU (if necessary, against appropriate payment) is referred to in industry jargon as letter TÜV .

Exceeding the deadline for the main inspection

If the deadline for the main inspection is exceeded, there is a traffic offense. Depending on the duration of the exceedance and the vehicle type, this is punished with fines and possibly with points in the driving aptitude register of the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Flensburg in accordance with the Road Traffic Act (StVG) and the Driving License Ordinance (FeV). However, less strict penalties are provided for cars, motorcycles, and light trailers (vehicles that do not require a safety check): According to the Ordinance on the Catalog of Fines, an overdraft of up to two months with a warning fee of 15 €, an overdraft of two to four months with 25 € 60 and an overdraft of four to eight months will result in a € 60 fine. An overdraft of more than eight months can be punished with a fine of € 75.

If the examination interval is exceeded, there has been no nationwide backdating since July 1, 2012 . Until then, except in Saarland and Hesse, the end of the new interval was not calculated from the time the main inspection was carried out, but from the due date. In some federal states, backdating was no longer practiced before the change officially came into force (e.g. North Rhine-Westphalia from May 16, 2012).

If the HU deadline is exceeded by more than two months, a more intensive check is carried out, the so-called in- depth HU (20 percent surcharge on the normal fee).

Colors of the test sticker

The colors of the badge indicate the year of the next general inspection. The order of the colors has been fixed since 1980 and is repeated every six years: orange, blue, yellow, brown, pink, green.

1961 1967 1973 1979 1985 1991 1997 2003 2009 2015 2021 2027 etc.
1962 1968 1974 1980 1986 1992 1998 2004 2010 2016 2022 2028 etc.
1963 1969 1975 1981 1987 1993 1999 2005 2011 2017 2023 2029 etc.
1964 1970 1976 1982 1988 1994 2000 2006 2012 2018 2024 2030 etc.
1965 1971 1977 1983 1989 1995 2001 2007 2013 2019 2025 2031 etc.
1966 1972 1978 1984 1990 1996 2002 2008 2014 2020 2026 2032 etc.


The recurring assessment ( §57a assessment ) takes place in accordance with § 57a of the 1967 Motor Vehicle Act (KFG). The assessment sticker ("Pickerl") is attached to the windshield of multi-lane vehicles and to the fork in single-lane vehicles. The cycle is for new passenger cars (EC vehicle class M1) and some other vehicle and trailer classes for the first time after three years, then after two years and then subjected to an annual test of vehicle safety and compliance with emission limits (3-2-1 regulation ) . All other vehicles, for example single-track vehicles or trucks and buses, with the exception of a few special cases, must be checked annually. The inspection takes place at motorist clubs (ÖAMTC, ARBÖ) or in car workshops, as well as, if necessary, by experts. State bodies only check in special situations, namely the two other forms of assessment, the special inspection for vehicles with which there are concerns (Section 56 KFG), and the on-site inspection as part of traffic controls (Section 58 KFG).


The motor vehicle inspection (MLC) of Switzerland is done by the road traffic office of the respective canton. According to Art. 29 of the Ordinance on the Technical Requirements for Road Vehicles (VTS), all vehicles are subject to a periodic vehicle inspection . The test intervals according to Art. 33 VTS must be differentiated depending on the type of vehicle. Cars, motorcycles and trailers up to 3.5 t must be examined for the first time after four years (from 2017 only after five years), then after three years and then every two years. Trucks and all commercial vehicles are subject to an annual inspection. Tractors must generally be presented every five years.

The vehicle owners will receive an invitation to review in good time. This is carried out by government agencies. The vehicle owner does not attend the test. The aim is the constant quality and independence of the test.

Used cars are often offered “fresh from MFK”, ie vehicles are presented new when they are bought.


In Belgium , vehicles have to undergo a technical inspection every year. This periodic check must be carried out on all cars that are four years old or older. A test certificate is issued for this test, there is no sticker on the license plate. The test certificate must be carried along with the registration papers in the car. Under certain circumstances, the validity of the test certificate can be extended to two years.


Regular vehicle inspections have been carried out in Finland since 1917. The inspection was originally carried out by the local authorities, and since 1968 there have been national test centers of the Autorekisterikeskus Motor Vehicle Office. A law from 1994 determined the opening to competition, so that the Autorekisterikeskus authority was divided into a registration office Ajoneuvohallintokeskus (AKE) and a private-sector testing organization Suomen Autokatsastus Oy .

The Määräaikaiskatsastus 'periodic inspection' is carried out for cars for the first time after three years and then after five years annually. The examination period is determined by the date of first registration.


The Contrôle Technique has been compulsory for cars and commercial vehicles in France since 1992. It takes place for the first time after four years and then every two years.

Motorcycles and small trailers (<750 kg) do not need an HU.


The technical check is carried out by KTEO test centers. The first private KTEO was founded in 2004 and by the end of 2007 there were 61 test centers. The test regulations have been tightened since 2008: in addition to an expanded scope of tests, all vehicles have since then been required to undergo a general inspection for the first time after four years and then every two years, and all two-wheeled vehicles have been subject to mandatory inspection. More than 150 test centers had been set up by the end of 2009, as only 50 to 55% of the demand could be met by then. In addition to the 130 private KTEOs, 59 state KTEOs still exist as the administrative bodies of the prefectures, but these are usually not as modern as the private KTEOs. In 2012, the Minister for Infrastructure Makis Voridis announced that he wanted to close the state KTEOs.


The National Car Test (NCT) in Ireland takes place four years after initial registration and every two years thereafter. A round test sticker is attached to the windshield as proof. Vehicles that are ten years old or older must be tested annually. Commercial cars are exempt from the obligation to inspect.


Normally, private cars in Iceland have to go to the Skoðun (examination) annually , which is subordinate to the Umferðastofa . The following applies to new registrations: first inspection after three years, then after another two years, all subsequent inspections annually. A sticker with the year (a new color per year) of the next inspection is attached to the license plate. The car must be inspected within three months, otherwise the vehicle owner will automatically receive a transfer slip with a fine by post.


The technical inspection (revisione) and emissions test for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to 3.5 tonnes is carried out at the test centers of the state road traffic authority (Motorizzazione Civile) or at authorized contract workshops. For these vehicles, the technical test is due for the first time after four years and then every two years. Taxis, rental vehicles, buses, certain special vehicles, larger trailers and all other vehicles with a total weight of more than 3.5 tons are checked annually by the state test centers. The examination carried out is noted in all cases in the registration certificate. The emission test is handled differently by the regions; some regions (e.g. Lombardia) require an annual emissions test.


The algemene periodieke keuring (apk) in the Netherlands takes place for the first time after three years and then annually. They include a technical examination and emissions tests. For gasoline cars with an initial registration from 2008, a test is only carried out after four years and then every two years. From a vehicle age of eight years, the car must be checked annually.

From a vehicle age of 30 years, the car only needs to be checked every two years. Cars with a first registration before 1960 are exempt from APK.


In Norway , the PKK (Periodisk kjøretøykontroll), also called EU- Kontroll , is divided into two main categories. Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 3500 kg or less must be inspected for the first time four years after their initial registration, and then every other year. Vehicles and trailers with a gross vehicle weight of more than 3500 kg, vehicles that are approved for the transport of ten or more people, as well as taxis and ambulances are to be inspected for the first time two years after their initial registration and then every year. The PKK appointment is based on the last number on the license plate, whereby the number corresponds to the calendar month (1 = January, 2 = February, etc.). The vehicle owner is responsible for meeting the deadline. Failure to do so can lead to the vehicle being deregistered.


The vehicle inspection (control besiktning or bilbesiktning) has been compulsory in Sweden since 1965. In addition to the technical traffic safety test, it also includes a test of the exhaust gas values. Cars and small trucks have to be inspected after three years and after five years after the initial start-up, then every twelve months. Motorcycles four years after first use, then every 24 months. Oldtimers, so-called Veteranfordons (30 years and older), must be viewed every 24 months. The result of the inspection visit is automatically forwarded to the transport authority (transportstyrelsen) , and the vehicle owner is also given an inspection report.

A vehicle is divided into one of four categories depending on the results of the examination:

  • No complaints (Utan anmärkning): no defects found, vehicle approved for road traffic
  • Complaint (Anmärkning): minor defects (e.g. defective lamp), the vehicle owner is requested to rectify them. However, the vehicle will be registered for road traffic without being demonstrated again.
  • Complaint with follow-up inspection (Anmärkning med ombesiktning): significant defects with follow-up inspection within 30 days. Without a successful follow-up check, there will be a driving ban.
  • Complaint with an immediate driving ban (Anmärkning med omedelbart körförbud): The vehicle has such significant defects that it can only be driven home or to the nearest workshop.

By December 31, 2009, the motor vehicle authorities (Transportstyrelsen) had sent the owner a control label after paying the vehicle tax, which was attached to the rear license plate. This control mark has now been abolished without replacement. Using the control sticker, the police were able to determine whether the vehicle tax had been paid, valid insurance was in place and the vehicle had passed the inspection. However, this can now be checked using the traffic register.

Until January 1, 2010 the inspection survey was carried out by Svensk Bilprovning AB . Svensk Bilprovning AB is a non-profit limited company and the majority owner is the Swedish state. On January 1, the monopoly on these controls was lifted and accredited private companies were allowed. Svensk Bilprovning AB is to be privatized.


The requirements of the Inspección Técnica de Vehículos (ITV) in Spain are based on the guidelines of the autonomous communities . A first test is usual after four years, then every two years and annually for vehicles that are more than ten years old.


In Turkey, government bodies were responsible for the technical inspection of motor vehicles until recently. A contract was signed with TÜV Süd in 2005 as part of a transport policy project by the Turkish government that aims to align technical specifications with European standards . This provides for the technical testing of vehicles to be privatized and for this to be carried out exclusively by the newly founded TÜVTURK (a joint venture of three partners) for the next 20 years, which in return guarantees the establishment of a nationwide network of test centers according to the latest standards.

United Kingdom

The MOT test in the UK has been carried out for the first time since 2006 after three years and then at annual intervals. The regulations, first introduced in 1960, determined a technical test for vehicles older than ten years. The current test also includes an emissions test - in Great Britain the test is carried out by authorized workshops, in Northern Ireland only in the DVA test centers. Vehicles registered before January 1, 1960 have been exempt from testing since 2013.

North America

In the United States and Canada, determining vehicle inspections is a matter for the states and provinces, respectively.


The province of Manitoba requires a technical examination only at the time of registration (initial registration or re-registration), in Nova Scotia , New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island an examination takes place annually, in Ontario and British Columbia the examination takes place every two years.

There are regular emissions tests in British Columbia ( AirCare ) and Ontario ( Drive Clean ).

United States

The nationwide Clean Air Act requires an exhaust gas test in all metropolitan areas whose air quality does not reach a minimum standard. This means that almost all states are regularly investigated, but a few states, such as Florida , Kentucky, and Minnesota, have also discontinued these investigations with the permission of the federal government of the United States. Among the states, which are limited to these emissions testing, including Alaska , Arizona , Colorado , Connecticut , Georgia , Illinois , Indiana , California , New Mexico , Nevada , Ohio , Oregon , Washington and Wisconsin - besides, also mostly to certain counties ( County ) limited with major cities.

States with a regular vehicle safety review:

  • Delaware - first after four years, then every one or two years, depending on the vehicle type
  • District of Columbia - every two years
  • Hawaii - first after two years, then annually - commercial vehicles every six months.
  • Louisiana - annual technical inspection, emissions test in Baton Rouge
  • Maine - Annual Technical Inspection, Cumberland County Emissions Test
  • Massachusetts - Annual Technical Inspection and Emissions Testing for 1996 and later vehicles
  • Mississippi - Annual Technical Exam
  • Missouri - Biennial Engineering Review, St. Louis Emissions Testing
  • New Hampshire - Annual Technical and Emissions Testing for vehicles built in 1996 and later
  • New Jersey - for the first time in four years, then every two years
  • New York - annual technical inspection including emissions test
  • North Carolina - Annual technical inspection, emissions test in 48 of the 100 counties for vehicles built after 1996
  • Pennsylvania - annual technical inspection, emissions test in 25 of the 67 counties
  • Rhode Island - biannual engineering and emissions testing
  • Texas - Annual Technical Examination, Emissions Test in the Houston Metro, Dallas Metroplex, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso metropolitan areas
  • Utah - technical check every two years, then annually for vehicles older than eight years
  • Vermont - Annual Technical Review
  • Virginia - Annual Technical Inspection, Biennial Emissions Test in Northern Virginia

Africa, Asia

Burkina Faso

The state testing organization CCVA was developed in 1986 as a development aid project by the German federal government and set up by TÜH Darmstadt. The vehicle inspections correspond to the German standard with African nuances. Since 1992, several vehicle inspectors have been trained as government interns by the German testing organization DEKRA at the DEKRA branches in Aachen and Munich. The technical cooperation and support from DEKRA (Aachen) lasted until 2009. In autumn 2009, the CCVA was taken over by the Swiss COTECNA and was to be renamed Burkina Control SA .


The vehicle registration regulations are set by the provincial authorities; in half of the provinces there are regulations that correspond to the European standards for new vehicles. According to a general provision, owners of vehicles with visible exhaust smoke are punished.


In Japan, the technical test takes place in the “shaken” (車 検) program. The inspection is carried out for the first time after three years and then every two years.


During the various work processes involved in the main inspection, workers can be exposed to inhalation exposure. Among the hazardous materials include, for example diesel engine emissions (DME), carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ), nitrogen oxides (NO x ) and benzene . The German recommendation "General examinations and safety tests of vehicles in test centers of officially recognized monitoring institutions" support the risk assessment and describe suitable protective measures. They define criteria for compliance with the state of the art and provide assistance for checking the effectiveness (e.g. according to TRGS  402). The recommendations apply to work areas in test centers of officially recognized technical monitoring organizations in which main inspections, examination of the engine management and emission control system (UMA) and safety tests (SP) as well as individual acceptance tests are carried out on motor vehicles.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Directive 2014/45 / EU
  2. Trial against test engineer: HU certified without tests
  3. Is it all just plaque fraud? - "I can get you letter TÜV". Auto picture dated July 2, 2004, accessed September 26, 2013
  4. Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection: Ordinance on Fines Catalog (BKatV) of March 14, 2013 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 498). Retrieved March 25, 2019 .
  5. HU backdating is not applicable. In: , March 30, 2012.
  6. Reform of the TÜV test now comes into force . TÜV Nord Group - press releases. June 22, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  7. GebOSt, §1, No. 413 Note 8. Accessed June 4, 2020 .
  8. What do the individual badge colors mean? TÜV Nord, Frequently Asked Questions (subpage about HU Auto), accessed on September 7, 2018
  9. Extension of the first inspection interval for cars and motorcycles. In: January 21, 2015, accessed April 12, 2019 .
  10. Technical control in Belgium. ( Memento of December 23, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Information on, accessed on December 23, 2014
  11. From 2010 no more car insurance without TÜV in Greece., December 15, 2009
  12. Greece wants to close public KTEO.
  13. EU control - Statens Vegvesen. ( Memento of March 5, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Website Statens Vegvesen , February 21, 2010.
  14. Traffic in Burkina Faso ( Memento from January 24, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  15. German statutory accident insurance e. V. (DGUV): DGUV Information 213-727 - General inspections and safety tests of vehicles in test centers of officially recognized monitoring institutions. Retrieved October 23, 2019 .