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In many parts of the United States, car owners have to routinely get their car inspected and tested for safety, emissions, and to meet general standards for quality and use. Some drivers dread these inspections, while others embrace them as a necessity to ensure the safety and well-being of the public at large. But how much does a car inspection cost?
Car inspections will, on average, cost you anywhere from $150 to $250 for a standard vehicle inspection.
But this isn’t an all-encompassing estimate. There are a lot of factors that go into the determination of how much your testing will cost, and they vary not only by state but by the type and age of car you drive, as well. Keep reading for all the details!
How Much Does a Car Inspection Cost?
The cost of your vehicle inspection is determined by where you get it inspected, the state you are in, and the age and type of vehicle. Usually, the state you’re in has relatively low costs associated with inspection types and testing requirements, but you’ll often see a much higher price tag depending on where you get the testing done.
Certified mechanics can usually get qualified to do testing from private shops, but you’ll see that mark-up in price. You can get testing and inspections done at government-run facilities, but typically these can be a hassle to deal with between appointments and wait times.
Additionally, your state may have more than one type of inspection that your car needs to pass. Some states will require that a vehicle be able to pass proper emissions or safety testing to be street-legal. In some places, you get special consideration or exemption for vintage or classic cars that are only driven to and from car shows and expos. Some states have different rules for legally-modified race cars.
Cost of Car Inspections in the Different States
Car inspection standards and fees vary from state to state, where they’re needed or mandated. Some states do not have car inspections at all, save for those inspections with that diagnose your car for repairs.
Some states require emissions testing as a part of their inspection process, while others do not.
In California, you can reach out to vehicle inspectors such as Car Saints to have your vehicle inspected or tested. They offer basic vehicle inspections for vehicles 1998 and newer for $159.99, and will test and inspect vehicles older than 1997 models for $319.99. Other inspectors may charge at different rates, and this is just an example.
In Florida, you can expect several fees, testing costs, and inspection or reinspection costs for your vehicle. For quotes, you can contact private vehicle inspectors such as Miami Auto Inspections for more details. Some inspectors will do vehicle inspections for free, while others will charge as high as $99.
In New York State, the average cost of car inspection is $21. This number changes based on where your vehicle is inspected, as well as based on factors such as the vehicle’s weight, class, type, and more. If you’re further north in upstate New York, rather than the metro area, you could get an inspection for around $11 instead. The breakdown for inspection fees in New York can be found here.
In Pennsylvania, there are many inspection programs that you should look into as a car owner. These include the Emissions Inspection Program, the Enhanced Vehicle Safety Inspection Program, and the Safety Inspection Program. Prices for inspections vary since there are so many inspections that can be done, but on average, you should expect to spend between $50 and $100.
In Texas, the average cost of getting your vehicle inspected is about $25.50 if you pay for the inspections separately from the registration fee. Typically, it’s easier to pay both fees at once, which will cost you just short of $40. But rates may vary depending on the age of the vehicle, what type of vehicle it is, and more, so it’s best to look at the variety of costs and determine what price range applies to your car.
Should I Get a Mechanic to Inspect a Used Car?
Yes, a mechanic should inspect a used car or truck to make sure that there are no safety issues and that everything is working correctly. Typically, any time that you plan to purchase a used vehicle, whether it’s from a used car dealer or a local ad or online posting, you want to bring along a mechanic that you trust to inspect the vehicle before you commit to a purchase.
A qualified mechanic will know exactly what problems to look for and may even look for any signs of specific issues related to the particular make and model of the car you’re hoping to buy.
What Do You Need to Have Checked Out?
Your mechanic should be checking the vehicle’s brakes, making sure that they work correctly and are not rusted, corroded, or otherwise worn down to the point of being nearly unusable. They should also check the steering components of the car, van, SUV, or truck to make sure that nothing is wildly loose and that the vehicle can safely make turns where needed.
The fluids in the vehicle should be checked, too. This includes the transmission fluid, engine coolant, power steering fluid, oil, and brake fluid. The check should ensure that no fluids are leaking, and all are in the right places and are sull, or at least not empty.
The vehicle’s lights should also be checked. Any warning or service lights on the dash should be checked out or explained immediately. The headlights, high beams, blinkers, and fog lights, if the car has them, should also be checked. Additionally, the car’s heating and A/C should be checked, along with the relevant filters.
The final checks should be for the tires and driving quality of the car. The tires should have a healthy amount of tread on them and not be suffering any signs of dry rot. The date of the tires should also be checked, as an out-of-date tire can be dangerous. Tires over ten years of age are considered to be outdated and should be replaced.
If all of the above checks out with your mechanic, you should still test drive the vehicle to be sure that you can safely handle it. You can also determine that it does not display any additional problems while driving that might have been overlooked while it was sitting stationary.
What Does a Full Car Inspection Include?
A full car inspection will typically include everything that your mechanic should be looking at when you’re looking to buy a used vehicle. But the inspection parameters sometimes vary by state and may consist of things that your mechanic won’t initially check for when you first buy the car.
For example, some states will require your vehicle to pass emissions testing. An emissions test will determine the level of pollutants that your car emits from its exhaust. Currently, 32 states require some level of emissions testing. This may involve measuring the emissions with special tools or may be a visual test of the smoke put out by your vehicle.
Often, your tests will take into account the age of the vehicle, the state you’re located in, the weight and type of the vehicle, fuel type, and what kind of regular use your vehicle sees regularly.
Does Jiffy Lube Do Car Inspections?
Jiffy Lube does not perform car inspections in most circumstances, though this may depend on the state you live in. They do, however, take care of oil changes, battery testing, and filter changes.
Additionally, the technicians at Jiffy Lube may be qualified to test your car for things relevant to your inspection tests, depending on your area and state. This may include brake inspections, light bulb inspection and replacement, and emissions testing where necessary.
Does AutoZone do Car Inspections?
No, Auto Zone will not do state-required inspections on your vehicle. They will do code scans at some locations, but will not perform full inspections.
If you know that something is wrong with your vehicle and are feeling particularly mechanically-inclined, you can use Auto Zone’s Loan-A-Tool Program to get the right tools to do the job yourself.
Auto Zone is primarily a retail location for things like oil, batteries, and cleaners. They will install batteries and air filters if you purchase them and ask them to assist you, but this is a far reach from having a full state-approved inspection done.
Does Walmart do Vehicle Inspections?
Walmart does not do state vehicle inspections. Some of their services are limited by the location, available technicians, and local regulations, as well. For the most part, you can expect basic services from your local Walmart’s Tire and Lube Express shop.
These services typically include basic tire services, such as installation, balancing and rotation, mounting, and flat repair. Additionally, you can get a car battery installed, even if you’ve bought it from another location, though that will cost you an additional fee. You can also get your oil changed at any Walmart that has a TLE in it, keep in mind that not all Walmarts have this area in the store.
Does Pep Boys Do Inspections?
Yes, Pep Boys does state vehicle inspections with a relevant appointment. Depending on the state you’re in, you can get a full car inspection, emissions test and inspections, safety inspections, and engine diagnostics done for your vehicle.
If your vehicle happens to fail a safety or emissions test, it’s not the end of the world. Pep Boys will give you a detailed list of issues and reasons why your vehicle didn’t pass the required tests. They’ll also give you a cost estimate for repairs, if possible, or requested, though they may not be able to implement all of the necessary repairs within their shop.
More often than not, though, if your Pep Boys offers the testing, they can fix most related problems with your car where they become apparent.
Almost every state has some mention of vehicle inspection in their laws; whether it be safety testing, emissions testing, or a general inspection, the chances are that you’ll need to have your vehicle inspected at some point.
Knowing not only what an inspection entails, but perhaps more importantly, how much it costs, is, therefore, a certain aspect of properly and legally owning and operating a vehicle.