The time has come for you to get your car inspected. Of course, you want to pass inspection, but before you can even bring your vehicle in, you have to find a place to take it to. Where can you go for this crucial car service?
Across the United States, there are countless automotive inspection services to choose from. Here are few examples from all over the country -
- Auto Inspections Direct in Beverly Hills, California
- New York State Inspection Center in Staten Island, New York
- PA Auto Inspection in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- AZ DMV Inspection Station in Phoenix, Arizona
- District of Columbia Motor Vehicle Inspection Station in Washington, D.C.
- Auto Inspector in Charlotte, North Carolina
- Air Care Colorado in Littleton, Colorado
- New Jersey State Inspection Center in Ewing, New Jersey
- Maryland State Inspection in Baltimore, Maryland
- Official Inspection Station in San Antonio, Texas
If you’re getting your vehicle inspected for the first time, you’re not going to want to miss this article. In it, we’ll tell you how often you need inspections, what you should bring, and what to do if you don’t pass. Keep reading!
Before you continue reading, let us say we hope you find the links here useful. If you purchase something through a link on this page, we may get a commission, so thank you!
How Often Do I Need to Get My Car Inspected?
How frequently should you plan your car inspection? To answer that, we have to look more closely at the state you call home. While you’ll always get some time between inspections, precisely how much varies from state to state. Here’s an overview:
- West Virginia – safety inspections annually
- Virginia – safety inspections annually
- Vermont – safety inspections annually
- Utah – statewide safety testing when your car turns four years old, eight years old, and ten years old, then safety inspections annually
- Texas – emissions testing annually
- Tennessee – safety inspections annually
- Rhode Island – safety inspections every other year after your car turns two years old (if buying it new)
- Pennsylvania – safety inspections and VIN checks annually
- New Mexico – safety inspections every other year in Bernalillo County only
- New Jersey – emissions testing every two years unless your car is five model years old
- Massachusetts – emissions testing annually
- Louisiana – safety inspections every one to two years
- Indiana – safety inspections every two years for Porter County and Lake County residents
- Illinois – safety inspections every two years based on zip code
- Idaho – safety inspections every other year in Canyon County and Ada County
- Hawaii – safety inspections annually unless your car is new, and then you can wait two years between inspections
- Georgia – safety inspections annually for Atlanta metro counties
- California – emissions tests every other year, unless you have a vehicle that’s not yet six years old, a car made before 1975 or on that year, a car running on diesel produced before 1997, trailers, motorcycles, electric vehicles, and hybrids
- Arizona – emissions inspections every other year for those in the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas
If you don’t see your state on the list, check out this link. Your state probably still has somewhat strict inspection rules, just those that aren’t based around testing every X amount of years.
Does My State Require Car Inspections?
Then again, another reason you might not have seen your state in the above section is that it could not mandate car inspections. Yes, that’s right, some states have done away with inspections altogether.
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
Washington State, as of January 1st, 2020, also no longer does inspections.
So what if you live in one of these states? Well, it doesn’t mean you want to get lax with your vehicle care. You may want to have a professional test your car now and again, even though it’s not in an official inspection capacity. This way, you can know for sure your vehicle is roadworthy.
What Do I Need to Bring to Get My Car Inspected?
Just like how often you need to get your car inspected is different from one state to another, the documentation you should bring to your inspection changes as well. That said, it’s better to be overprepared than under, so here’s what you’ll want to have ready, even if you don’t necessarily need it all.
In New Jersey, you’re only required to bring your proof of state insurance, vehicle registration paperwork, and your driver’s license for your vehicle inspection. Over in Texas, you also need a photo ID, a means of payment (inspections in this state aren’t free), and proof of liability insurance.
According to that state’s Official Inspection Station website, your photo ID needs to be both valid and up to date. You also need a photo ID for obtaining your V1-30, which lets you register a car or truck in Texas. The proof of liability insurance doesn’t have to be specific to Texas, but any state.
How much would you pay to get your car inspected? For a regular inspection, expect to shell out about $150 to $250.
Can I Get a Friend’s Car Inspected?
Your buddy is due for an inspection soon, but they just don’t have the time. They’ve asked you to do them a favor and bring their car in for them. Can you do that?
More than likely, yes. The owner doesn’t always have to be present for a car inspection. That said, you must have all the required paperwork and documentation, including auto insurance papers.
Do keep in mind that in a state like Texas that requires a photo ID, if they see you’re not the person in the photo, that may raise some red flags. We recommend calling the inspection station in your area and asking if you can bring in someone else’s car for inspection before just assuming you can do it.
What Happens if I Don’t Get My Car Inspected?
You were supposed to schedule a car inspection, but life got in the way, and you completely forgot. Is it okay to forego an inspection?
No, and it’s something you’ll want to schedule ASAP if you missed yours. According to the New York DMV, in that state, you could get ticketed and fined for not having a current inspection sticker. Also, if you wanted to renew your vehicle’s registration, you would be unable to.
Inspections are for your safety above all else. If a critical safety feature is malfunctioning or has failed altogether, you want to know about it so you can get it fixed right away. While accentuating circumstances will happen, please try not to miss inspection.
Oh No! I Didn’t Pass inspection! Now What?
Let’s say you went in for your inspection, but you failed. This can happen for a lot of reasons. Some of these issues are quite small, and others, not so much. No matter what contributed to your car failing the test, a vehicle inspection report will be issued to you. You may also get an emissions repair form.
You will have to visit a trusted mechanic to get whatever is wrong with your vehicle patched up. You generally have a month to do this, and then you have to test again. Hopefully, this time, you’ll pass.
TO find out what sort of issues can cause your car to fail inspection, check out our former post here.
Car inspections are a regular part of owning a vehicle. You’ll have to bring yours into an inspection station every year or so for safety and emissions testing, at least in most states. While failures do happen, if you get your car fixed up per the vehicle inspection report, you should soon pass with flying colors. Good luck!