Here’s What You Need To Know About Vehicle Inspections

Black woman driving

In some industries, vehicle inspections are a requirement. For example, according to Michael T. Gibson, a personal injury attorney, federal and state regulations govern truck inspections. 

What about passenger vehicles?

In some states, specific vehicle inspections are required, and we’ll detail everything you should know about the topic below. 

States Requiring Car Safety Inspections

Nineteen states currently require car safety inspections. A car inspection is a way to make sure vehicles are in good condition to be on the roadways safely. 

Inspections can also be done to ensure the vehicle is good as far as emissions and won’t create unnecessary environmental and air quality impacts. There are actually two categories of inspections—safety and emissions. 

During a car inspection, your vehicle is inspected by a professional to make sure it meets any state emission or safety regulations. Every state has its own guidelines. 

Safety inspections will usually look at the essential components of your car to make sure they’re working correctly. Emissions testing gauges the pollutant emissions of the vehicle. Potential reasons you might fail an emissions test include problems with your injectors or oxygen sensors. 

If you fail the inspection, then you’ll get a report letting you know why. You make the changes and then come back for another inspection. 

The 14 states that require an annual inspection include:• Hawaii• Illinois• Louisville• Maine• North Carolina• New York• New Hampshire • Massachusetts• Pennsylvania• Texas• Utah• Vermont• Virginia• West Virginia

In five states, you have to do biennial inspections, or they have some other type of requirement. The states in this category are Delaware, Illinois, Nebraska, Mississippi, and Rhode Island. 

Nine states require emissions testing throughout all locations, and then 22 states require emissions testing in certain parts of the state or cities. 

The states that don’t require emissions testing or safety inspections usually have lower populations, and there’s a lower risk of traffic accidents as a result. These states also tend to have high air quality because of the fewer people on the roads. 

What is a VIN Inspection?

There’s something called a VIN Inspection or a VIN Verification. This is, as the name indicates, an inspection of the identification number of your vehicle. The purpose of this type of inspection is to ensure the details in the state’s DMV database about your vehicle match up. 

A VIN inspection can be used to correct wrong information and to add out-of-state or old vehicles to the database. 

If you buy a vehicle from another state or move from out of state, you may need a VIN Inspection. 

You can get a VIN Inspection at the DMV, with a highway patrol officer, with a licensed verifier, or with an authorized notary in most states. 

What to Expect At a Safety Inspection

To make sure that your vehicle is safe to be on the road, during a safety inspection, most inspectors are looking for damaged, missing or overly worn parts. Some of the particular componentsthey may assess include tires and wheels, suspension systems, steering systems, brakes, headlights, and turn signals. 

The specifics and how comprehensive a safety inspection depends on the state. Some states only inspect the brakes, horns,and lights. 

Some states provide exemptions in some circumstances. For example, in North Carolina, if your car is more than 35 years old, you’re exempt from the emissions and safety inspections. 

You may have to pay an inspection fee, and some states require that you have your registration renewed for your vehicle before you can get an inspection. 

What’s Included in an Emissions Inspection

Again, the primary goal of an emissions inspection is different from a safety inspection. An emissions inspection is a way to verify that you’re not putting out too much pollution with your vehicle. 

The inspector might check your tailpipe emissions and make sure your emissions control system is working correctly. They might do a gas cap pressure test to make sure the cap screws on tightly enough to prevent vapors from leaking out. 

For very old cars, the inspection might include a single idle speed test, which measures the level of emissions when a car is idling.

It’s never ideal to fail a car inspection, so you should make sure your car’s in good shape before you go to one. 

If any repairs have been recommended to you or your check engine light is on, it’s best to get the repairs completed. 

Know the requirements in your state, particularly if you’re moving to a new state because they vary significantly. 

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