Winter Driving Restrictions in Chile

Category: Expat info

Author: admin

Date: 24.04.2019

panoramic view santiago chile

Winter Driving Restrictions in Chile

Category: Expat info

Author: admin

Date: 24.04.2019

In case you are driving your car (or another type of vehicle) on a daily basis in the capital city, Santiago, the information in the following article might perhaps be important for you. So, read on.

Starting from April 1st until August 30th, depending on the severe air pollution (smog) in Santiago, you may be prohibited from driving your vehicle. But only if your vehicle does not have a catalytic converter. If you do not have a catalytic converter you will be prohibited from driving in the metropolitan area between the hours of 7:30 AM until 9:00 PM.

For some crazy reason, the government has seen fit to make buses, taxis and school buses exempt.

So if your vehicle is restricted how do you know?

The restriction is based on the last digit over your license plate.

You can check the local newspapers, TV channels or visit the UOTC website. The UOTC website updates every day at 10:00 PM so you can see if your vehicle will be allowed on the roads the following day.

Most (at least in developed first world countries) cars made after 1981 have a three-way catalytic converter and would be exempt from the driving restrictions in Santiago.

How can you tell if your vehicle has a catalytic converter?

All you have to do is look under the vehicle, follow the exhaust pipe from the engine back you will see a box or round object bigger than the pipe(before muffler) and has the pipe coming in and going out either welded or bolted to the bottom of the car.

Note: If you have an electric car you WILL NOT have a catalytic converter, but you will not be restricted as you are NOT burning fuel.

Now, most of the time cars that are “Sin Sello Verde” (meaning no green seal) are restricted (old cars mostly pre-1980s).

However, bear in mind that, if the smog gets extremely bad, as it sometimes does in the winter, they will restrict ALL vehicles based on their license plate.

air pollution smog sunset


If any questions appear, let us know in the comment section below. We would like to help you out! 🙂


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