How to do an annual car checkup in China? My trusted KIA Sorento 2.2CRDi

Annual check of the car in Shanghai, China

Sharing my experience with the annual check of the car in China.

It was time to have an annual checkup of my KIA Sorento 2.2.CRDi. First, fighting the insurance phone sales representatives for several weeks. We are a good target for them, but we also want to take more to cover third-party insurance. Normally, before the old one ends, the phone rings frantically. We are now attached to one insurance company for a year again.

I tried to ask about the coverage for the caravan, but they don’t know!! This is the biggest insurance company in China PingAn. I still haven’t gotten any clear answer from them or any insurance company on this matter. The best sentence I have gotten this far is “Let’s see when something happens.”

According to my information, the third-party insurance should cover if not separately mentioned. Some information can be found here

We don’t have time for the weekday inspection, so the weekend is the only option. We have divided tasks between my wife and me. I will take care of technical and driving, and she will take care of trip planning and other things where the Chinese language is needed.

When we first paid a visit for the annual inspection, we found out one traffic violation needed to be paid for beforehand. In China, they will check this; the car cannot pass the annual inspection before all have been cleared. Normally, you can use an APP, but it doesn’t work for us as the car is under my name and the APP called 12123 requires a Chinese ID.

Traffic Management 12123. Shanghai has a hotline, 12345, that has English services. Official site HERE

A very handy Chinese web page about the regulations for annual inspection is HERE

Pay your penalties in advance, this is a must before the annual car checkup in China.

So, get up early Saturday morning; I know this will take time.

  • The first police station does not handle tickets.
  • The second Police station is closed during the weekend
  • The third Police station does not exist anymore.

At the fourth one, we got the slip with the needed code to pay for the ticket using the mobile app 12123. This is better than before as you were forced to pay it in the bank. Sometimes, you need to pay it where you got it, which might be difficult. All this hassle could have been avoided if the better half had checked on the internet beforehand. Luckily, we started early that day.

So, we are ready for the annual checkup of the car.

I haven’t done this alone and always hired someone to do it. Ultimately, this was an easy task; I will do it myself.

How to do an annual car checkup in china. China DMV in Shanghai (vehicle inspection)
DMV in Shanghai. This one is located only 10 minutes drive from our home, so we decided to check the car by ourselves.

The “1st year, 2nd year…” about the annual inspection refers to the number of years after the vehicle is registered, and the annual inspection is valid on the last day of the registration month. Taking the driving license as an example, the registration date is January 23, 2017, so the first year refers to before January 2018, the second year refers to before January 2019, and so on.

Annual inspection of car scheduling in China

Luckily, the place is very close to our home, and it only took 5 minutes to drive there. Check in, and let’s queue with the others. My wife does not drive (she has a license), so I needed to drive. The man at the checking looked at me and told my wife I would know what to do as my Chinese is very limited. Finally, he agreed that he would test the functionality of the lights and other items. It wouldn’t have been an issue for me to do it, but he was friendly.

Shanghai Annual inspection of the car
To the line with the others. There were few cars today, but the total time was two hours.

You need to take out the warning triangle in advance and place it behind the car. Also, as my car is a seven-seater, I needed to lift it. up the 3rd-row seats.

In some places, gasoline cars need to have one fire extinguisher. But as mine is diesel, they don’t require it for some reason (I always have one in my car anyway). Here, they did not check the fire extinguisher at all.

Quickly checking the documents and next step, they took the car for a short test drive. Testing the breaks and drivability. Next step, head for the breaking test bench. Someone tapped here and there in the underbody and automatically checked the lights.

The last one was the emissions check. Letting the car run on idle and then accelerator worried me as this took quite a while. I have seen that China is very keen on cutting the pollution from cars, and as mine is diesel, it always worries me if there is some new restriction that will prevent me from using it. Officials in China have been aggressive in their intent to curb emissions throughout the country, and China 6 is one of the most powerful tools being used to accomplish that goal. Effective January 1, 2021, all light-duty vehicles will be required to meet the China 6a standards.

After 2 hours of waiting and checking, we finally got clearance, and KIA is ready for the next adventures. The total cost was 400CNY.

Annual check of the car in Shanghai, China
KIA passed it. No comments

My car is a Korean import as all the KIA cars in China are gasoline/electrical. The main reason is the power/efficiency while pulling a caravan (2000kg). Of what is seen on the streets, 99.9% of the cars are either gasoline or electrical. Only trucks are diesel.

Towing the caravan with KIA Sorento

I still need to update the car documentation for pulling a caravan, as mine is missing the information on towing capacity. This was not required before April 2022. It Cannot be changed in Shanghai (this is what needs to be from Zhuhai where our car is registered. I hope I don’t need to drive the car there for this. The distance is 1500km!

Update 21 July 2022

After contacting the Zhuhai Vehicle Admission Bureau, we got this information.

  • There is a list where they can check the vehicle’s towing capacity.
  • I don’t know how new/old models they have the information from the manufacturer.
  • As usual, our car model does not exist. It is imported, and the year model is 2014
  • This can be changed if we can arrange documentation from Korea regarding our car’s towing capacity.
  • Update 14 Feb 2024. Tried all possible ways to get original technical documentation. Tried from KIA South Korea, KIA Finland, and KIA China but this data cannot be found. The car is too old and it is imported. The case is now closed as the only way is to buy a new car.
New law for caravans. Towing capacity must show on cars documentation in China
Since April 2022, the towing capacity must be on the car’s documentation in China if you plan to buy a caravan. We don’t have this information.

Mission accomplished with clean documents for one year!

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