The APK inspection (Algemene Periodieke Keuring) is required by law in Europe. It is an inspection for the improvement of traffic safety and protection of the environment. Below, we provide, among other things, general information about the APK and when and how often your vehicle should be inspected.
First, it is important that you know whether and when your vehicle requires an APK inspection. Or rather, when your vehicle needs to be APK approved. If you own a vehicle that is "APK required," you should not drive it without a valid APK. If you do anyway, you risk being fined. And, more importantly; if you have an accident with a vehicle without APK inspection, it is possible your insurance company will not compensate any damages.
When APK inspection
If your vehicle runs on petrol or has an electric motor and has never been inspected before, the first APK is due 4 years after the car is first allowed onto the road. After this inspection, you should have your vehicle inspected once every 2 years in the following 4 years. After 8 years, your vehicle should be inspected annually.
Does your vehicle run on diesel or LPG? Then the first APK inspection is due 3 years after the car is first allowed onto the road. After these 3 years, the vehicle must be inspected annually.
Is your vehicle older than 30 years, but from after 1 January 1960? Then the APK should be performed every two years. Vehicles from before 1960 do not need to be inspected.
Is your vehicle heavier than 3,500 kg? Then the APK should be performed every year. Again, vehicles from before 1960 do not need to be inspected.
Where APK inspection
If your vehicle is due for an APK inspection, this inspection must be performed an APK company approved by the RDW. You can recognise such companies by the shield with the text 'RDW approved' and a sticker containing the text 'APK light vehicles' or 'APK heavy vehicles'. You can also have your vehicle APK inspected in Belgium and Spain; both heavy and light vehicles. You can find addresses where this is possible at classLibrary.Autonet.Objects.hpBasis.
What else you should know about the APK inspection
Normally speaking, you will receive a letter from the RDW to remind you that your vehicle must be APK tested soon. This letter also contains the date by which your vehicle should be inspected. The responsibility to have the APK inspection take place in time is your own.
The costs of the inspection are not fixed and differ per company, you always receive an APK inspection report. Even if your vehicle is rejected.
Postponement of the APK inspection is not possible. If you cannot meet the inspection requirement, you have the option of suspending the registration certificate.
In short; the APK inspection is a snapshot. The inspection does not give you the guarantee that your vehicle will remain safe and maintenance free for the rest of the year. It remains important to check and maintain your vehicle regularly.