The ingenuity of some to trying to circumvent the law, in this case, the vehicular inspection goes beyond reason, paying to pass the test at whatever cost, not caring if their vehicle the continues in poor condition.
This is the mistake by many in Costa Rica, who will spend up to ¢100.000 colones (US$200) or more to momentarily alter their vehicle with the sole purpose of passing the Riteve inspection.
According to mechanics we spoke to, people are constantly coming to the mechanic not to fix what is wrong, rather to make temporary adjustments to the settings like exhaust emissions and braking systems.
The mechanics say “they warn the customer” but in the end most don’t have the money to properly fix the vehicle, placing their lives and that of their families and everyone else on the road, at risk.
Car tires is one of the most common of a “temporary” fix. In the last year the test for tire thread wear has gotten tougher, meaning more and more vehicles fail the inspection for worn out tires.
The temporary fix is to “rent” a tire or set of tires.
This is perhaps the most lucrative of the temporary fix market. There are places that offer “full service”, not only renting you the tire(s), but mounting them on the vehicle, etc. Most of these places are near a Riteve station so as not to wear the tire in the process. And then redo the change.
The cost is about ¢5.000 colones a tire or ¢20.000 for a set of four.
Another of the most hackneyed techniques is to adjust the fuel injection system to the point it will pass the Riteve gas emissions test.
“It’s simple”, explains our mechanic, who will, with a screwdriver, adjust the system to pass the test. Not important if the idle is rough or the vehicle has problems accelerating on the road, the key here is to pass the inspection and then back to the mechanic to have it reset.
This service can cost up to ¢50.000 colones, depending on the mechanic and the vehicle.
There are a number of centres that for a few thousand colones will provide you with an emission report, a service used by mechanics, but also the pubic as well.
At the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT) they understand the problem. MOPT officials say the fault is not with Riteve, but with the public who break the law.
The MOPT operates mobile units to detect emissions and check tire threads. The driver that fails the roadside inspection is fine and license plate confiscated. MOPT officials say is what counts is the reading at the time of the test and not the Riteve result when the vehicle was submitted to an inspection.
“People should understand that keeping their vehicle in good condition is not simple a matter of complying with the law, but for their safety and the safety of others”, explaines Silvia Bolaños, vice-minister of the MOPT.
For Germán Marín, the director of the Policia de Transito (Traffic Police) “we are planning more roadside controls to detect problems. There is also a project by the MOPT to mark tires when purchased to avoid tire swapping”.
Getting a temporary fix for your vehicle is as close as keystroke on internet classifieds or checking the print classifieds section.