Periodic motor vehicle test (APK)

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Most vehicles in the Netherlands must undergo a periodic motor vehicle test (APK). The APK is carried out by a garage or testing station. The inspector carrying out the APK will check whether the vehicle is roadworthy, environmentally safe, and registered correctly.

Is an APK mandatory?

A periodic technical inspection (PTI or APK) is mandatory for:

  • passenger cars
  • company cars
  • motor vehicles with 3 wheels
  • heavy vehicles (over 3.500 kg)
  • ambulances
  • special vehicles (taxi, bus, public transport cars and vehicles used to transport dangerous goods)
  • agricultural vehicles (with a maximum speed of over 40 km/h)
  • non-agricultural trailers weighing over 3,500 kilograms (in Dutch)

Mopeds and motorcycles are exempt, as well as vehicles over 50 years old. Vehicles over 50 years old used for public transport or for transporting dangerous goods are not exempt.

Did you suspend your vehicle’s registration? You do not need to have your suspended vehicle tested.

Where to get an APK

In the Netherlands, the garage or testing station where you have your vehicle tested, must be approved by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW). You can recognise these by the approval sign with the text 'RDW erkend' (RDW-approved) and a sticker with the text 'PTI light vehicles' (APK lichte voertuigen) or 'PTI heavy vehicles' (APK zware voertuigen). Or check the Dutch-language location tool.

When to get an APK

The first time you must have your car, commercial vehicle, fast tractor, or trailer tested depends on the following factors:

  • the type of vehicle (car, light commercial vehicle, heavy commercial vehicle)
  • the date when the vehicle was first allowed to go on public roads
  • the type of fuel (petrol, diesel, LPG, electric)

How often to get an APK

After the initial test, your vehicle needs to be tested annually or every 2 years. 6 weeks before the APK of your vehicle expires, RDW will send you a reminder. The RDW website includes a schedule which shows how often and when you need to have your vehicle tested.

Inspection report

After inspection you will always receive an inspection report. You will need the report for instance if you do not agree with the result of the inspection and wish to appeal. You may also need it when driving abroad.

Your vehicle is rejected

Is your vehicle rejected? If you disagree with this you can object. You can only object immediately after inspection to the inspector. You cannot object retroactively. You may not move or repair your vehicle. The inspector will contact RDW and they will send an employee for a second opinion. However, if the initial rejection is upheld you will have to pay the costs of re-examination.

No driving without APK

You are not allowed to drive on public roads without a valid inspection report. You may be fined by the police or the RDW. If you are involved in an accident with a rejected vehicle? Your insurance may not pay out.

Foreign APK inspection

If your car, trailer, or van has a Dutch registration number, you can have them tested outside of the Netherlands at one of the car inspection centres in Belgium and Spain.