Two new checks added to the Controle Technique in 2017

2017 sees two more checks added to the CT. Both are a bit of a bother!
The first concerns the engine management light. If it is illuminated at the time of the test it will fail. Some cars may have a minor fault, maybe just a faulty sensor, which would not actually affect the proper running of the car but could be difficult & expensive to find. My own car is a case in point! I bought it with the light lit & it has passed 2 CTs & covered 80,000 kms since. Until I find the reason it will not pass another.

More of a concern is the second rule. Front window glass must allow 70% of light through. Most modern cars in standard form meet that requirement but many owners opt to add a heavier tinted film which restricts the light & heat inside the car in summer. The new law has been introduced because reduced visibility could cause accidents but it is more to do with being able to see who/what is going on inside the car - seat belts, mobile phone use & weapons - as sensible tints should not make that much difference.

Now here’s the problem. Although the 30% maximum light blockage limit is specific, as is the punishment regime for infringement, the test is purely subjective! Neither the gendarmes nor the CT station have any kind of measuring device so if in the opinion of whoever is checking is that your windows are too dark then you will suffer. It is a bit like being convicted of murder because you look like one!
I have invested in a machine from the USA for testing tints as used by most law enforcement agencies around the world.
My car has extra tints & I asked my local CT station if it would pass. The man responsible checked & proclaimed my windows to be ok, although he was not sure if the gendarmes would agree. According to my machine my windows block 82% of the light/allow 18% through. Different from the 30%/70% by quite a margin! Still, let the gendarmes prove it without a meter!


18% of light transmission seems pretty dark… with 82% blocked?
and are they referring to the front side glass of cars?.. most vehicles with tints as standard have their value marked on the glass… the Uk has had this regulation for ages, as a mate with severe tints on his driver and passenger windows was tugged by the old bil and he had to scrape the windows before they let him continue… or they would have the vehicle towed away as unsafe to drive… My Kia has privacy tints on all rear windows, mine and the passenger side windows are factory sundym glass as is the front screen… anything darker than 30% light transmission thru front glass is stupid? .

I was told by my local CT guy back in February of a far more concerning law coming next year…
Zero tolerance of oil leaks… as in nothing to be seen on the floor during or after the test… he mentioned it, because my aging Renault Master does have a small leak somewhere, and he advised me of the forthcoming regs in good time… when I was doing inspections on HGV’s in UK… the law allowed a drip no larger than a 10p coin during the test… which is pretty serious really, as Zero leakage is the norm for the majority of vehicles…

as for engine management lights… depending on the fault. there could be amber or red warning… amber could be something simple and best to investigate… red is what it means… generally stop immediately!..
the engine will probably still work, but possibly in limp home mode or restricted in some way…
just as an instance of stupidity of some drivers or vehicle operators… a coach company presented one of their coaches for test and failed because the ABS light was illuminated constantly… so they black taped over it… 10 minutes on the laptop told me a rear wheel ABS sensor was dead. 2hrs work and the vehicle was fine… the following week, the same company presented another coach with the identical light fault, and same resolution… red warning lights on the dash gave me some great roadside assistance experience… and some serious expenses of wrecked engines. transmissions and failed air braking systems…
with the horrendously sophisticated management systems of todays vehicles, any fault needs investigating… don’t be an amber gambler, and red could mean dead engine, trans, etc

Maybe someone could explain to me the attraction of having gangsta style blacked out windows? It used to be very popular with boy racers in the UK I know, shiny black windows and cars so low they can’t go over a ramp without damaging the underneath. Haven’t seen it so much in France, I understand there’s less tolerance of modded cars here, but I never did get the point.

Anna, despite the readings of my machine, the windows do allow someone to see that the car has someone inside & I can see clearly what is outside. No worse than wearing sunglasses! The dark glass does mean that the interior remains fairly cool in sunny weather & the seats can be sat on without burning bare skin. Even today some dashboards on modern cars distort & curl in the heat! The tint is purely for confort rather than looks. I agree that lowered customised cars look ridiculous & really dark tints seem to go along with the culture.

Bob, yes it refers to front side glass as extra tinted windscreens have been illegal for some time. I assume that your comment regarding greater than 30% light blockage as stupid means that you know what that looks like? Would you know what % a pair of sunglasses blocks? Many drivers drive while wearing those.

With regard to the engine management light, the test refers to the orange light. Bob is right, by all means have the fault diagnosed! I sometimes forget that I am not always addressing petrolheads, sorry! As a registered garagiste I have found that the cause of its illumination it not always easy to find if there are no symptoms to trace. Diagnostic computers, even the manufacturers’ own, often fail to find the fault! I still feel for the owner of a Renault Laguna who spent over 9000 euros with a main dealer trying to track what was coming up as an injector fault on his 2 litre petrol car! Or the Audi owner quoted 2200 euros because their computer diagnosed a faulty injector pump (needed a new solenoid valve 25 euros).
Sometimes the cost of trying to repair a ghost fault outweighs the value of the car! Incidentally, an illuminated ABS light is not a CT failure, after all, lots of older cars don’t even have ABS so if yours isn’t working your brakes will be like driving an older car.

Sunglasses block 86% of the light - allow 14% light through.

Yes, but most people only where them when the sun is shining. You can’t exactly take the tint of your car window when you would be better off without it.
To me, the equivalent of heavily tinted windows is dudes that wear shades even when it’s dark.
I once worked for a well-kown holiday company who didn’t allow staff to wear shades at all because their market research had showed that customers don’t like it when they can’t see the eyes of the person they’re talking to. I thought that was a pretty daft rule too, because sometimes you need sunglasses, but I kinda saw the point.

I have had the rear windows of my car tinted which does seem to keep it cool.

It just looks like it was done at the factory and not gangsterish.

I was advised when it was done to avoid tinting the front windows as the French police don’t approve.

I do not disagree with you. However, the amount of tint varies considerably. Would you know the percentage of light passing through a car window if you were inside? If you are looking in to a car from the side you are seeing through two windows, not one, so if a car has the legal 30% light limit you would be looking at a 60% light block which would look very dark. It looks quite different from inside - not gangsta at all unless you move in those circles!
The 30% rule is now fairly universal world wide & is enforced by using a special light meter but here it can be enforced by people who are just guessing. When a motorist is nicked for speeding his speed has been measured on a special calibrated machine, not by a copper thinking you are driving too fast. By all means have a 30% limit on tints but it should be checked by a machine too. My point about my glass is that my CT man would pass my windows although my meter showed that he was miles out on his guess - I was not justifying my tint which sadly (because it helps keep the interior cool) will have to go.

All sunglasses?

Don’t know. I just checked my pair which are standard prescription sunglasses. There is probably a set standard for these but I am sure there are designer variants… says:-
"Transmission rates. An unfortunate name for this part of the unending technology you can learn about sunglasses. This one is quite simple actually. It is what it sounds like. The transmission rate (also called transmittance) is a percentage given which describes the amount (or rate) of sunlight that will go through the lenses of your sunglasses and into your eyes. Being a percentage, they run from 0% (black as night) to 100% (clear as day). All lenses fall somewhere in between there, most being closer to 0%. Each different range of transmission rates also has categories which are organized like this:

Category 0: 80 – 100%
Category 1: 46 – 79 %
Category 2: 18 – 45 %
Category 3: 8 – 17 %
Category 4: 3 – 8 %

Category 0: These lenses are those which allow the most sunlight in and are commonly associated with safety goggles or eyeglasses, or when you need to be completely seeing what you are doing. Other colors in this range are bright yellow and some oranges. They are not really useful in sporting except for night time sports and indoor sports.

Category 1 lenses are more common. They can be used for most sporting events, as they will provide adequate coverage in most conditions.

Category 2 lenses are a lot more common and better suited for sports as they do not allow too much sunlight in as to affect your vision, but allow enough in to let you see what you are doing. Most brands use category 3 lenses for a large percentage of their models as this amount of light just happens to suit sports perfectly.

Category 3 lenses are quite dark. They are used for many different sports, where the light is so bright that you need extra coverage (e.g., snowboarding, skiing). They can be great for a day at the beach as well, and I would recommend them for many sports in daylight. Category 2 and 3 are the most common for everything from sporting to fashion.

Category 4 lenses are so dark that less than 10% of sunlight passes through them. You cannot see the eyes of the person wearing these kinds of lenses, so they are the dark kind the mustached-pervs wear in the park. Kidding. They are designed for conditions in which the sun will be beaming down on you. Some sporting events might require these kinds of shades, but usually they are for fashion, coverage at the beach, or to hide bloodshot eyes from your boss or clergyman. You CANNOT wear them while driving. It is not safe and is in fact illegal in many countries."

My sunglasses & my car windows are both cat 2. You learn something new every day!


Until the French have proper traffic cops on their roads stopping the appalling driving that is common place here tints on windows is the least of their worries!!

1 Like

I don’t find French drivers more annoying than UK drivers TBH. Annoying in different ways perhaps but then part of it is due to different national highway code rules and customs and mindsets, and because they are taught differently.
What really winds me up in the UK is the appalling lane discipline on motorways, and that doesn’t seem to happen here. I thought I’d heard that “hogging the middle lane” had become a specific fine-able offence in the UK but I haven’t noticed any improvement. Apart from that, I guess all nationalities have impatient drivers that tailgate and ignore speed limits and overtake when they shouldn’t, that need to be let get on with it, and nervous/slow/inept/distracted drivers, that need to be treated with patience. On the whole I find drivers more courteous here, less of the de-humanising “tin box” syndrome. But then I do very little city driving in either country.

I’ve got used to most of the French driving habits, but the one thing that never fails to amaze me is the lack of consideration or courtesy for other drivers.

For example, if you are trying to get out of an awkward junction, and it would be far easier for them to let you go first, it never happens! When I make a (nice) gesture to let them go first, as it makes it easier, I’m looked at as if I’m from another planet and they haven’t got a clue what to do

I don’t actually interpret that as lack of courtesy, I think it just isn’t the custom so it confuses them, and it’s safer if everyone does the expected thing - they don’t expect to go when it’s not their turn, so it doesn’t occur to them that you do expect to. Respecting the rules and waiting your turn is a different form of politeness I suppose? I’m told that that in the UK learners these days are taught to pull out at the earliest opportunity, which I appreciate is necessary because the roads are so crowded and if you wait until there is nothing coming you would get a queue building up behind you - but it does annoy me when I’m the only car on the road, and someone pulls out from a junction in front of me so I have to slow down and then I’m stuck behind another car for the duration, when they could easily have waited an extra couple of seconds to let me past and there would have been nothing else coming. In Normandy at any rate, drivers seem quite happy to sit and wait patiently at junctions until the road is clear - which you can, because there’s so much less traffic.

I don’t agree with either part of your comment. I travelled about 600km on a motorcycle yesterday and the awareness of the other road users is impressive. Also having spent a lot of time driving in Germany where the rules of the road are followed even when common sense suggests a better alternative I find the French system more straightforward. I hate driving in the UK, something that can be summed up in two words; traffic density.

Still think lack of any kind of road traffic police in this country visible on major roads contributes to the dangerous driving practices of many drivers . I drove 600 km a week for 12years taking my kids to the train station for school and experience it on a daily basis ! Perhaps the driving is worse in this region. Grenoble/Lyon .

We have an occasional gendarme presence on the roads round here, and travelling round different regions it’s not unusual to see them parked by the roadside, either just watching or with their radar guns out, or doing checks at roundabouts (why are they so fond of setting up at roundabouts?). But Genoble/Lyon is one of the few places I’ve never driven in so maybe it’s different there. I’ve always been a defensive driver and in the UK I tend to feel as if I’m reacting to one thing after another and preparing for defensive action the whole time, it’s quite exhausting. In France there seems a lot less potential danger to react to, drivers behave more predictably and less aggressively, and generally I find driving in France a serene and pleasant experience.

There was a lot of police presence travelling through Tours yesterday but none around Paris. In between I saw enough Gendarme vehicles to feel a presence. The French rely a lot on their all seeing cameras to oversee traffic.
I really cannot get upset about driving standards in France, there is the odd idiot but show me a country that is free of them. Yesterday’s easy to point the finger at generalisation was single women in Fiat 500s. I came across four whose lack of consideration made me wonder if it was the same one on four occasions. That was just yesterday’s coincidence, I’m willing to believe that most young women with Fiat 500s are perfectly good drivers with normal levels of spatial awareness and concentration and will not try to pretend that by buying that particular make and model of car their drivers have subconsciously undergone a personality change.

Same here David having toured most of Europe on the bike i find the French totally aware of two wheeled vehicles far more than in the UK lane discipline better and generally more courteous yes ther will always be the odd exception but but during my working years as a field service engineer i travelled on average 1000 miles per week amazing what i experienced ,one woman actually took her hands off the steering wheel turned completely around to discipline one of the children in the back her car veered across the road other drivers avoided her and her response was a two fingered salute and mouthed the words F OFF