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FINANCE

Contrôle technique: How to save money on your compulsory French car inspection

The technical inspection of vehicles - France's equivalent of an MOT - must be done every two years, but prices vary widely from place to place.

Contrôle technique: How to save money on your compulsory French car inspection
Photo: AFP

Now the French Finance Ministry has put together an online price comparison site to enable motorists to find the cheapest côntrole technique near them.

The site asks for your vehicle type (car, van, camper van etc), type of fuel (petrol or diesel) and location before showing you a list of nearby garages and their rates. You can find the site here.

Prices for the inspection can vary by around €50 from place to place, so it's well worth shopping around.

The vehicle check must be done every two years or your car will not be road legal (although an extension was given for people whose côntrole technique ran out during lockdown) and in 2018 the standards for the inspection were tightened up.

The new tests take longer than the old ones and are consequently more expensive – usually between €65 and €110 depending on where you are. And then you face having to pay for repairs if a fault is found.

The new côntrole technique tests 134 things about the vehicle and includes 'critical faults' that “constitute a direct and immediate danger for road safety or that have a serious impact on the environment”.

The environmental aspect of the new inspection has worried many drivers of older cars, but mechanics says this will only be a problem for old cars that are badly maintained and highly polluting.

For full details on what the inspection involves, click here.

 

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DRIVING

F1 and summer holidays: Which Austrian roads will be busy this weekend?

Record-breaking crowds are expected in Spielberg this weekend for the F1 Grand Prix race. Meanwhile, summer holidays start in Austria and Germany. It's going to be a busy one on Austrian roads.

F1 and summer holidays: Which Austrian roads will be busy this weekend?

Motorists should prepare for long delays on some Austrian roads this weekend as Austria hosts the F1 Grand Prix and school summer holidays start in several Austrian and German states.

The Kurier is reporting that around 300,000 people are expected at the Spielberg Red Bull Ring in Styria for the F1 race, with 100,000 attending on Sunday alone.

As a result, all hotels and camp sites in the region are completely booked out, which means lots of visitors will be making their way to the region in the coming days.

FOR MEMBERS: 7 things to know about driving in Austria this summer

Motoring organisations ARBÖ and ÖAMTC are already warning motorists of the high possibility of traffic jams, especially when exiting the Pyhrnautobahn (A9) at the St. Michael junction.

Other expected hotspots are the Murtal expressway (S36) and Obdacher Strasse (B78).

A spokesperson for ARBÖ said: “If possible, use public transport.”

Alternative transport options include bus shuttles to the event site and a Park and Bike service at Therme Fohnsdorf where visitors can park their cars and then cycle to the Red Bull Ring.

A shuttle bus will also be in operation from Knittelfeld train station. The service will run from Friday to Sunday, every 20 minutes between 8am and 8pm, and every 30 minutes from 8pm to 11pm (or 7pm on Sunday). Rail operator ÖBB recommends booking tickets in advance.

READ MORE: When and where to avoid driving in Austria this summer

In Spielberg itself, motorists should prepare for delays on Triester Straße, as well as on the direct access roads to the official parking areas at the track.

According to the ÖAMTC: “Day visitors should leave as early as possible. If you arrive in Spielberg around 7.30am you have a good chance of a quiet journey.” 

Thankfully, pleasant weather with highs of 23 degrees are forecast for this weekend, which will relieve some pressure on the roads.

Summer holidays

As well as the big attraction of the F1 race, the school summer holidays are beginning in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland this week.

In Germany, the holidays start for Berlin and Brandenburg, and schools also break up in the Netherlands. 

This will bring extra traffic to roads in Austria as families set off on summer vacations – either in Austria or simply passing through the country to get to places like Italy and Croatia.

Find out more about avoiding the worst traffic on Austrian roads with The Local’s guide to the ÖAMTC’s traffic calendar.

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