Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fun with Riteve

And now I'm going to try to go an entire post without swearing! Or using obscene/offensive language of any sort! Which is difficult, considering my two-year-old car didn't pass Riteve yesterday.

Riteve, for those who don't know, is the car inspection you have to do every year. Sometimes you'll see it shortened to RTV. Mine is like 8 months overdue, but esposo claims that they don't really care as long as you 1) do it within a year's time and 2) do it before your marchamo (that's the circulation rights thingy, like registration in the States) expires. The marchamo on my car expires around Christmas (I know, lucky, lucky me!), so we have a while before I have to really worry about it.

I wanted to get the darn Riteve taken care of, though, but turns out my car's rear disc brakes are poop (see? no swearing!) and caused my poor little car to fail the test. Here's what to expect if you've never gone to Riteve:

1. Make an appointment. I use their website. You can't just show up and expect to get your car inspected, but you can pretty much get an appointment within a few days, unlike, say, trying to get your cedula renewed at immigration (though you could do that at BCR, if you could manage to actually get through on their phone lines -- which is another, curse-filled post entirely).
2. Show up 15 minutes before your appointed time. Bring your registration, title, marchamo, last year's Riteve, all that stuff. There will be a line of people (probably) waiting to check in; go wait in that line. And then check in. ;-) You have to pay almost 10,000 here (you didn't think this would be free, did you?).
3. You then bring your car around to the back and get in line. If you're lucky, there will only be one or two cars ahead of you. If you're really, really lucky, you'll be the only one in line. That doesn't usually happen, though.
4. One of the inspectors will come out and you hand him the paper they gave you when you checked in. Then just sort of follow the lead of the car in front of you. Hopefully you speak Spanish or bring a Spanish-speaking person with you. Because I don't know about you, but my Spanish is pretty good, and I still don't understand when someone in a loud garage is telling me to put the car in neutral, pop the hood, slowly press on the brakes, etc.
5. They will sometimes check to see if you have a jack and triangles, but they didn't check that when we went. They will check that all your lights and directionals work, brights, winshield wipers, windows go up and down, window tinting is factory installed (if it isn't, you're gonna have to take it off, and believe me, we've gone through that before! this time the guy really picked at each window to make sure it was factory tinting, which is allowed), the seats go forward and back, the horn works, the seatbelts work, etc.
6. Then they test your exhaust and the steering, and the shocks.
7. I think at the next station they test your brakes, front, rear and handbrake. I knew we were screwed when the rear brakes only showed 38%. (Ooh, is "screwed" a swear word? Or offensive? ;-p Dang, I tried!)
8. Then you drive over an open pit, where they check something else, and shout at you from a speaker. I could not understand a word the guy said, but luckily esposo could figure it out. (Did he say Grand Central Station or your aunt's constipation?)
9. Then you wait at the end, and someone will either give you a sticker, or tell you to go to such-and-such window to get your results, or something. It sometimes gets a little disorganized at the end of the line.
10. Hopefully your car will pass and you'll get your new sticker which is good for a year -- hooray! Or, you will get a piece of paper that includes the ominous word "grave" and what's messed up on your car that you have to fix in order to pass -- boo!
11. If you don't pass, you have 30 days to fix whatever needs fixing and bring the car back for a 5,000 colones recheck. If you wait more than 30 days (me! me! me!), you'll have to go through the whole inspection again and pay almost 10,000. Which is what I'll be doing sometime in early December. Hooray for me! I still love my car, though.


  1. Deciding not to swear when talking about the Riteve process is like starting a diet on Thanksgiving, but I'll be darned, you did it. Nice post, thanx for the walk through. Although I hope the no swearing thing is just for poops and giggles.

  2. No kidding! It was all I could do to find the positive. "It's a good thing you know your brakes are bad so that you don't spin out on the highway during rainy season!" blah! I think the no swearing thing was a one-time deal, though. I can't hold myself to it. :-D I just realized my five-year-old has a gutter mouth to rival my own, and I can only point the finger at one person! So I'm trying that "set a good example" crap, but hey, he can't read my blog yet anyway...so fuck it, right?