During a periodic motor vehicle test (APK) your vehicle is inspected by a garage or by a testing station. The inspector carrying out the APK will check whether the vehicle is roadworthy, environmentally safe and registered correctly.
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.
Is an APK mandatory?
A periodic technical inspection (PTI or APK) is mandatory for most vehicles registered in the Netherlands. Some vehicles do not have get tested periodically. For instance vehicles over 50 years old, such as vintage or classic cars (in Dutch) do not need an APK. Is a vehicle over 50 years old used for public transport or for transporting dangerous goods? Then you do need to get it tested periodically.
APK for trailers?
You also have to get your trailer tested, if it weighs over 3,500 kilograms (in Dutch). Agricultural trailers are exempt from APK.
When to get an APK
When you need to have your car, commercial vehicle, fast tractor or trailer tested for the first time 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 when you need to have your vehicle tested.
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.
Foreign APK inspection
If your car, trailer or van has a Dutch registration number, outside of the Netherlands you can have them tested at one of the car inspection centres in Belgium and Spain (scroll down).
Your vehicle is rejected
Is your vehicle rejected? If you disagree with this you can object. You can only object at once upon inspection. You cannot object retroactively. You may not move or repair your vehicle.
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? You insurance may not pay out.