RTA Vehicle Testing in Dubai - A Guide | ExpatWoman.com

A Complete Guide to Vehicle Testing in Dubai

Is your car due a vehicle test by the RTA in Dubai? Here's a complete guide on everything you need to know

Posted on

27 June 2018

Last updated on 19 January 2020
by Rebecca Roberts
Vehicle Testing in Dubai by the RTA

As part of a vehicle's registration renewal in Dubai, drivers must take their cars for vehicle testing.

To help a smooth process for Dubai drivers, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has several Vehicle Testing Centers (VTC) across the emirate. Each provides different services related to vehicle inspection.

If you bought a brand new car, and you're coming up to your three year registration renewal, or you've just bought a second-hand car in Dubai and it requires re-registering... Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about vehicle inspections and car tests in Dubai!

Why do you need to test your car in Dubai?

Vehicle tests in Dubai are required by law; each car must undergo tests at their respective frequencies to ensure that each one is always road-worthy. The RTA's efforts and VTCs work hard towards Dubai's vision of 'safer vehicles'.

Testing your car also means that any defect found should be rectified before returning to Dubai's roads.

When should you test your car in Dubai?

There are various types of vehicle tests that you may be required to have in order to comply with the RTA's safety regulations. As to when you should have a vehicle test in Dubai depends on the type of test and also, the type of vehicle. They are as follows:

Defect Test

The defect test refers to the event where the vehicle is taken to the Vehicle Testing Partners’ site for tests following a roadside inspection or a remote detection of defect(s).

Export Test

The export test refers to the test required prior to exporting a vehicle outside the UAE. This involves capturing of vehicle identification data such as chassis and engine details.

An export test is required when any light or heavy vehicle will be exported outside of Dubai.

New Vehicle Registration Test

The new vehicle registration test refers to the test required prior to registration of a vehicle purchased from outside an authorised vehicle agency in UAE. This test is also required when transferring vehicle ownership or when re‐registering a vehicle.

For both light and heavy vehicles:

  • This is required when a car is purchased from outside an authorised vehicle agency in the UAE
  • Transfer of vehicle ownership occurs
  • Re-registration of a vehicle occurs
  • After the new vehicle registration test, the vehicles in all categories must be tested annually.

    Periodic Vehicle Test

    The periodic vehicle test refers to the periodic testing of vehicle safety, road-worthiness aspects and exhaust emissions applicable to most vehicles. This test is required to renew the vehicle registration.

    • Light, private vehicles should have a vehicle test after 3 years since being purchased brand new, and then every year following
    • Light, commercial vehicles (e.g. taxis) should have a vehicle test every year from the date of being purchased/ownership transfer
    • Heavy vehicles should have a vehicle test every year from the date of purchase/ownership transfer


    The re‐test refers to the test performed upon failure of any of the above tests.

    Both light and heavy vehicles should have a re-test within 30 days of failure of compliance to the test standards.

Vehicle Testing in Dubai by the RTA

Where can you test your car in Dubai?

There are multiple Vehicle Testing Centers across the emirate that you may visit when registering your vehicle. The VTCs across Dubai are launched and ran by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in the emirate, and each offers different services related to vehicle inspections.

For a full guide on the RTA's VTCs and where they are, you may visit our complete guide to Dubai's Vehicle Testing Centers here.

How long does a Dubai vehicle inspection take?

As per the RTA, on average it can take up to 15 minutes to test a light vehicle, and up to 20 minutes to test a heavy vehicle.

The average end-to-end service time ranges from 20 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the volume of customers at the VTC.

How long is a car test valid for in Dubai?

You have up to 30 days only, post vehicle test, to complete the required transaction following the test. The validity of a vehicle test certificate is 30 days only.

If you fail to renew you registration or other process within this time-frame, another vehicle test will be required.

Requirements before visiting a Vehicle Test Center in Dubai

Before visiting a VTC, the following requirements are necessary prior to your car test:

  • A clean vehicle
  • A clean vehicle number plate
  • Remove underside cover, if present
  • Make sure the safety triangle, spare wheel and fire extinguisher (as applicable to your vehicle category) are in an accessible location
  • No advertisements and/or stickers of any sort on the vehicle without prior approval from the RTA

Documents needed for vehicle testing in Dubai

When taking your car for a vehicle test in Dubai, for instance, for a registration renewal or you're planning on exporting your car - you must take your current vehicle registration card with you in order to take the test.

Of course, in order to obtain your new vehicle registration, a vehicle test is required - and a valid vehicle insurance policy should be obtained. For this, you must present your Emirates ID, your vehicle registration card and your commercial licence copy (applicable only for commercial customers).

When is the last day you can test your vehicle in Dubai?

If your car is coming up to its vehicle registration renewal, a vehicle test may be performed within 6 months leading up to the expiry of the vehicle's registration.

As per the RTA, if you do not perform the vehicle test prior to the expiry of your registration, the test must be performed no later than 1 month following the expiry of the registration in order to avoid any penalties.

Vehicle Testing in Dubai by the RTA

How much does vehicle testing cost in Dubai?

The prices for testing your car in Dubai are as follows, as per the RTA. All fees are in AED.

Periodic Vehicle Test

  • Light Vehicles: 120
  • Heavy Vehicles: 150

New Vehicle Registration Test

  • Light Vehicles: 120
  • Heavy Vehicles: 150

First Re-Test

  • Light Vehicles: 35
  • Heavy Vehicles: 50

Export Test

  • Light Vehicles: 25
  • Heavy Vehicles: 25

What happens if my car fails the vehicle test?

If your car unfortunately fails the RTA's vehicle testing in Dubai, you must repair any defects within 30 days of the test. During this time, only 1 re-test is allowed. If the re-test is then failed also, you must perform a fresh, new vehicle test and pay the additional costs.

If, after all of the above, you are unable to obtain a valid test certificate for your vehicle, you will face the following consequences:

  • Road usage charge - you will be charged a fine by the RTA vehicle licensing department for each additional day the vehicle's registration is not renewed
  • No vehicle registration - you will not be able to renew your vehicle
  • Fine from Dubai police, or other police services in your emirate, if a valid vehicle registration cannot be presented
  • Renewal of commercial licence - fleet operators will not be able to renew their commercial licence if more than 10% of their fleet is not registered

Where can you take a vehicle re-test in Dubai?

A re-test can be performed in any RTA Vehicle Testing Centre branch, but must be performed within the same vehicle testing company as the first initial test.

Can you test your car in another emirate?

The simple answer to this is; no. The vehicle must be tested in the emirate in which it is registered to.

What if I disagree with the vehicle test result?

If you are unsatisfied with the vehicle test results, you may approach the RTA with your case through their call centre at 800 9090, or email the RTA directly.

A dedicated RTA team member will contact you to verify your details, perform investigations and provide you with a response within 5 working days.