Saturday, May 21, 2011

Doha Car Inspection

[June 2015 update: got my car inspected and updated the post accordingly. There's a great website now with information]

Looking back in my blog I realized that my post about the car inspection process was out of date. Since it was time to get my car inspected I decided to not do what I did last year (pay someone else to do it) and go out myself so I could experience the adventure first-hand.

This usually meant a trip to the Industrial Area, something no one looks forward to doing, but other options are now available. There is a website with the locations, timings and more information --

Someone told me that the center in Wakra doesn't have much of a lineup so on Wednesday around 11:30 I went there hoping it would be quick -- WRONG! Massive line-up of something like 50+ cars and only two garages for testing. You'd be in line for something close to over two hours. I saw the main center in the Industrial Area opens at 6:00am, and that would be before the morning rush hour, so I set an early alarm and headed out. . .

The Industrial Area testing center is located on 24th Street (I suggest looking it up on a map before you head out so you know exactly where it is). Note that you have to go around back to enter - to a corner entrance marked “Gate 1”. The entrance is not on the main street.

As soon as you are entering the gate you will see a security guard. Do not drive past him, you need to stop and get a number from him. I didn't know this. All I knew was that I needed a number so I drove past the security guard, parked, went into the testing center, and went to the information desk to ask for a number, only to be told you get it from the security guard. That meant I had to walk out, walk to the other end of the parking lot in the heat, to get a number from the security guard. [2015 update: this time the security guard didn't hand out a number and just directed me the booth I mention below. It might have been because I was there so early, he might hand out numbers later.]

There were a lot of cars in line in front of the testing garages and the security guard pointed to a lineup that I should join. So I got back in my car and got in the line. The lineup was about a dozen cars long and you only moved every 3 to 5 minutes. [2015 update: because I was there early, 6am on a Thursday, there was only one car ahead of me, in previous years I was there on Saturdays around 10-11am so it had a bigger lineup.]

Part-way along you pass a booth. When I pulled up to the booth I gave the guy my vehicle registration and the fee (QAR 75). After a minute he gave me a receipt with my ticket number on it, and a plastic sleeve which contained my registration as well as a copy of my receipt which said "Inspector Copy". After that you continue to inch along the line to the garage.

Once I got to the garage I pulled up, put the car in park and left the car running, handed the inspector the plastic sleeve with my registration and "Inspector Copy" receipt. He looked at the receipt and registration, handed me back my registration, and then I left and walked into the main building. Make sure you bring your copy of the receipt with you as it has your ticket number on it. He asked if there was a fire extinguisher in the vehicle so be prepared to point it out (No fire extinguisher? You can buy one in the main building). Otherwise you're not allowed to stick around or chat with the inspectors, you have to go wait in the main building.

In the main building is a small stand with various sodas and drinks, another counter with a guy selling fresh orange juice (QAR 6, I know because that's what I had), an ATM, and about 80 seats in front of the counters where the employees were. There was an electronic board that would flash your number when your report was ready.

I was a little concerned about how long I'd be there as there was about 40 guys waiting and only one guy working the counter. Turns out it was not a complicated process: when the inspection is finished the report is printed and the guy at the counter types your number on the electronic board, and you go collect your report. I maybe waited about 15 minutes then got my report and car key. Then I went out the door near the counter (opposite the door I came in) where my car was waiting in the parking lot near the garage I used. All in all the whole process took about 45 minutes, much easier than when I did it the last time at that temporary inspection center near a supermarket.

But sometimes they do fail you for small things. The report has two sections:

1) Technical requirements: this is the stuff like if your brakes or exhaust are up to code. If you fail this you'll need to get your car repaired.

2) Legal requirements: If there are any scratches or other damage this will be deemed a failure.

Once because I had a couple of scratches on the door (from some fool in the parking lot opening their car door too hard), the inspectors deemed it a “fault” and said my car didn't pass. Seriously, the two scratches were about an inch long! Apparently the inspectors are instructed to be conservative and write up any problem. My car now fails the Legal Requirements part every year.

So what do you do in that situation? Go outside and get your car and at the side of the building is another line up with a Ministry Officer sitting outside by a desk, who you go to for a second opinion. Drive up, hand him the report, he takes a quick look, and if he thinks it's minor he signs off that you can renew your registration. Which of course he did in my case.

Fighting the traffic on the drive back was more annoying than getting my car inspected.

[So the inspection is done, now what? click on this link to see my post about renewing your car registration]


Mobile Vehicle Check said...

That’s really great that you get car inspection done in just 45 minutes and again with better experience than previous one.

Mobile Vehicle Check

Anonymous said...

Please check out the website for locations, maps, fees, opening hours, preparation advice and information about the two new 4 lane stations that are open in Wadi Al Banaat (nr.Qatar university) and Mesaimeer beside the Woqod storage depot