While not every state requires a safety inspection of your car or truck, there are many that do. The purpose of this inspection process is to ensure the vehicle is safe for the road and that all the proper equipment is on it. In many states, the inspection may also include a smog or emissions test, but again, that may not always apply depending on where you live.
Why Should I Have My Car Inspected?
The purpose of the inspection is always a subject of debate. Every state sets their own standards, but when they do, the intent it to ensure the car or truck is safe to be driven on public roads. A car in disrepair can cause an accident, injuring the driver, bystanders, and other drivers that are using the same road. The inspection process is designed to reduce the chance of mechanical failures and lower the likelihood of an accident as a result.
What Will They Inspect?
The list of items to be checked or inspected is going to be different from state to state, but there are some standard items that you can be sure will get a once-over. For a full list, contact your state's Department of Transportation, but expect to see the tires, brakes, lights, exhaust, wipers, suspension, and bodywork on the inspector's checklist. The limits set by each state are going to be different, but the DOT list should give you the pass or no-pass information, as well as the items checked. If it affects the safe operation of the car, plan on them checking it.
What Happens If My Car Fails?
Again, this is going to change by locale but most of the time, you will be given the option to have the inspector fix the item, take it home, fix it, and return, or to take the car off the road. Some states allow a small grace period, but there are some that will not allow you any free time. If you are confident in your skills, fixing the car and returning to the inspection station could be pretty simple. If you're not, it may be worth having the mechanic at the station fix it while they have the vehicle in the shop. You will have to decide what is best for you or what falls within your budget constraints.
Emissions and Smog Inspections
Not every state participates in emissions testing, and even more odd, some states participate only in limited counties. Even more confusing is that the standard changes by state, county, and even city sometimes. In order to get a clear picture of what the standard is in your area, you will need to visit the local inspection station and talk to someone there. They can help you understand what will be checked and what the emissions levels coming out of the tailpipe will have to be. There is no way for you to check it before the test, but in most states, there is a repair period granted for cars that fail just this part of the test. While none of these inspections are pleasant for the car owner, they are in place to keep everyone safe and should be done when required.
To learn more about state inspections, contact an auto service like Bradzoil 10 Minute Change.
As the son and grandson of mechanics, I spent much of my child hood under the hood of many cars. I have listened and learned about so many different problems and how to repair them effectively. I created this blog to cover as many car problems as possible without overwhelming readers. You will find tips for troubleshooting, advice for when to take it to a professional and suggestions for when to stop driving the car or truck immediately to prevent further and more costly damage. We hope that you find all of this information helpful and useful, allowing you to have a great running car.