I’VE finally done it. I worked up the courage to take my car to Estepona for its overdue ITV test. I had no concerns about the car passing with flying colours – I was more worried about me!
The ITV test is one of those things that I hate most about living here.
In England, I just had to hand over the keys at the test centre, and pop back later to collect my car. Much more civilised. Especially if you’re a girl with only just enough mechanical knowledge to change a tyre and check the oil. Still, that’s more than some men I know.
The main difference between the ITV and the MOT is that you’re very involved ALL the way through the ITV test.
After registration, you sit in the car park and wait for your number plate to be called out. Then, in my case at any rate, you anxiously wring your hands and glance around to make sure that you haven’t heard incorrectly and that another car isn’t keenly heading over to the test area.
Confident that it’s now your turn, you start the engine and nonchalantly drive over to your designated “linea”, then dither about how far in to drive, until an inspector finishes his chat with a colleague, and comes to your rescue.
Now my Spanish isn’t too bad and I can get through most situations, but there is nothing worse than having technical and mechanical instructions barked at you at rapid fire pace.
My ploy this year was to look pathetic and stammer along in my politest girlie Spanish. I’m not proud. I can pull off the rabbit caught in headlights look when I need to. (I should confess that this was my mother’s idea, not mine, and that it had worked for her a couple of weeks previously!)
Thankfully, I managed to get one of the kinder inspectors this time. I’ve had horrors before, who’ve just kept yelling the same word over and over, even when it’s been blatantly obvious that I haven’t had a clue what they’re on about.
This guy, on the other hand, was quite soft spoken and spent the first few minutes explaining what was going to happen and showing me what I would have to do. He even lined the car up for me so that I could safely drive over the pit – he may have been thinking of himself at this point since you seem to have to drive right over their heads!
The first round of light flashing, indicating and reversing went pretty well. I even managed to pop the bonnet without too much drama (I’d done my homework and made sure I knew how to do this before I got there). And, hallelujah, by pure chance, I had enough water in the tank to squirt on the windscreen when requested.
Before the dreaded drive over the inspector’s head business began, I was very impressed that he gave me a walkie talkie to use in the car. Normally, you have to strain to hear what they’re shouting from way down in the pit below and what with all the other noise and horn honking around you, it can be difficult to make out when they’re telling you to wiggle the steering wheel, but your brakes on, engage the handbrake, move forward or whatever. I tell you, it’s stressful!
But this time, it was a much less harrowing experience as I could hear the inspector through the walkie talkie and let him know when I hadn’t understood.
I’m always fearful that I’ll amputate their arms by wiggling the steering wheel when I’m meant to be putting on the brake. I’m sure there are precautions down there to stop this happening, but you never know and wouldn’t it be awful!
Anyway, the car passed with flying colours and I took a deep breath to calm my nerves before driving back to the office.
That’s that over with for another two years, thank goodness!
ITV regulations and test centres in Andalucia (in Spanish): http://www.itvandalucia.com/