A bald tire like in the photo will not pass the Riteve vehicular inspection. So what is a driver to do? In Costa Rica there is always the option of renting for a few hours to pass the inspection, then...
A bald tire like in the photo will not pass the Riteve vehicular inspection. So what is a driver to do? In Costa Rica there is always the option of renting for a few hours to pass the inspection, then…

QCOSTARICA – Renting tires to pass the vehicular inspection has become more common, to the point where the Riteve vehicular inspection service has noted a concern in its 2015 report to transport authorities.

In the report, Riteve says it has detected that on numerous occasions drivers change the tires of their vehicle, with rented tires, so as not to fail the inspection.  See also Drivers Cheat Riteve To Pass Vehicular Inspection

Following this, the Consejo de Seguridad Vial (Cosevi) – Roads Safety Council – has made the decision to take tougher action on drivers during routine roadside inspections.

The Policia de Transito (Traffic Police), working with Riteve will be able to inspect items such as tires and emissions. This is a practice that has been carried out at times, but not to any great extent.

Through spotchecks, the Traffic Police can carry out a mini vehicular inspection to verify the safety of the vehicles.

How does tire rentals work?

Simple, you know the tires on your vehicles are bad. You have several choices: one, undergo the vehicular inspection in the hopes of passing; tow, buy new tires; or three, rent.

Renters of tires typically locate themselves near a Riteve inspection station, with ample signage to let would be customers know of their service.

One, two, three or four tires, in exchange for payment, are mounted on the vehicle to be inspected. After the inspection, you go back to get your “old” tires mounted back on your vehicle.

You now have a driveable car until the next inspection or an accident where you bald tires failed, whichever comes first.

Combating the tire rental problem

Transport authorities have proposed several mechanisms to combat tire rental, including each tire sold in Costa Rica come with a serial number or the permanent etching of the license plate number on each tire. The latter has caused controversy, given that the tires then become useless if the vehicle they are to be used on becomes a junker, even though the tires still have plenty of life. With the former, it would be a matter of convincing Costa Rica tire manufacturers to comply. What about all the imported tires?