Every year here in Costa Rica your car needs to be inspected. You will know when this is due based on the sticker on your car windshield.
Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection Requirement at DEKRA Every vehicle that circulates in Costa Rica is required to have a valid inspection sticker. The inspection is carried out by a private company referred to locally as DEKRA and which has inspections stations in various inspection points of Costa Rica.
Here you can see (picture above) that my next inspection will be due in June of 2024. As of this writing (Sep 13 2023) I had my car inspected about three months ago. June is my month to have my car inspected. Next inspection date (as you can see below) is June 24. The 24th is for the year, not the date of the month.
Yes, there is English if your browser translates for you. If you do not read Spanish, you might want to find a friend that does.
The first step after reaching the web site is to click on the “Make an Appointment”. You will have five steps to complete. To start with make sure you have your license plate number.
Just follow the directions to complete all five steps. Then select the time and day you wish to have your appointment. Being that the site is in English it is not too hard to just follow the provided instructions.
Here I selected Limon as it is the closes site to my home. You can pay online if you wish. My cost was 7,015 colones. Or for U.S. dollars $13.11. As of Sep 13, 2023, rate.
Now for directions to the office of Dekra in Limon let me start by giving you the landmark to measure from. I traveled from Puerto Viejo to Limon. As you enter Limon on hwy 36 traveling north from Puerto Viejo to Limon you will arrive at a stop light by the local MacDonals. At this intersection you will turn left on to hwy 32 which would place you on the main hwy to San Jose. Travel 18 kilometres from the stop light and keep your eyes focused on the left side of the hwy. With a little lucky you will see the building off on the left side of the hwy looking pretty new and freshly painted.
As you turn in to this building you will see the entrance which is open normally from 6 a.m. on for the rest of the day. There is normally a guard, and he will direct you to the back of the building to join the line of cars waiting to be inspected.
When you reach the back of the building you will wait until you are give the wave from an attendant to move forward. At that time he/she will ask you for your appointment document and your drivers license.
Once he/she punches your car into the computer you will drive forward to start the inspection of your car. This will be a very complete inspection. Lights (high beam and low), brakes, turn signals, seat belts, horn, wipers and carbon monoxide check. They even check your oil stick to make sure your oil is not burnt which would mean a bad engine and you should not be on the road. The check I had in the states was not even close to this one. It is really very encompassing. You know your car is in great shape if you pass this inspection.
After you complete your inspection, you will be asked to drive out of the building and across to the parking area. There you park and walk back to the building to hopefully receive your sticker to go onto your windshield for another year.
The individual at the last station in the building will print out you document and had you a sticker if all is good and of course you have passed the inspection. If not, you will be given another date to return for a reinspection. Let us hope that you pass.
If you have been here a while you might know someone that you can hire to drive your car to the inspection station for you. Last year I had a machinic friend take care of this for me. It cost me about $75 for his cost, inspection, and other possible expenses. Not bad if you do not want to deal with it yourself.
I hope this helps you have a better understanding of the process of getting your car inspected here in Costa Rica.