Car Safety Inspection: Where To Get The Best

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Virtually all activities we do in this world are regulated by certain rules. In sports there are rules for each game; in entertainment, there are rules guiding the digital content of artists

In blogging, there are regulations to curb fake news and copyright infringement.

When buying a car – insurance coverage is compulsory, and again, to ensure you’re riding a safe car, a car safety inspection is a MUST; however, not in all regions.

You see, humans are somehow spellbound with different rules and regulations for virtually everything they do. We have Car Safety Features: Everything You Should Know an article we want to check.

Nevertheless, this article will focus on Where to get a car safety inspection” within America’s states.

But before we begin, I’d love to elaborate on car safety inspection and why it is a must in most states.

Car Safety Inspections

Each state in the US has laid down rules and regulations regarding buying and riding(brand new and used) cars within their jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, generally, auto insurance is a MUST for every car that plies the roads. You want to see our guide on how buying used car works.

However, all these laws, authorities, rules, and regulations do not basically point to drivers’ safety.

For example, when you buy insurance coverage – it covers the vehicle and not necessarily the driver or passengers that may be in the car.

Hence, a car safety inspection is a way of ascertaining the state of a car – if the car is safe to be on the roads or not.

Obviously, when a car isn’t good to be on the road (maybe due to some fatal damages to the major components), if a driver takes the car to the roads, he may be putting his life and that of the passengers (onboard) at very high risk.

This has made car safety inspection a compulsory in most states in the USA. But again, the question is, does this car safety inspection make drivers safer?

It is not really enough to legalize this safety measure, how effective is it going to be?

For example, when you buy a new or used car in Maryland, or you moved from another state to Maryland, in other to register your vehicle, it must pass the state’s inspection test.

However, if your car fails the safety test in Maryland, it has to be re-inspected after you hit another 1000 miles or after a 30-day window.

Many cars usually fail this test, and yet you can see them on the road; however, the 30-day window availed to the driver before his car is re-inspecting.

It is expected that he visits an auto mechanic store and fix the components that led to the car not passing the state’s inspection test.

If the defaults yet again and do not pass the test, there is likely a penalty for the driver.

In contrast, once a car passes this inspection test, the driver gets a confirmation document and his free to drive the car anywhere within the states.

When you move to another state, you may also have to opt-in for another inspection.

It is believed that the Maryland Car Inspection test is one of the most thoroughly conducted car safety tests in the US.

Outside Maryland and Alabama, other states allow cyclic car safety inspections in licensed stations.

The states that allow for this include Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Does the State’s Car Inspection Reduce Insurance Rates?

No. The simple answer is NO. Whether your vehicle passes a state’s car inspection test, it doesn’t affect the insurance rates.

Also, because a car passed the test doesn’t mean the car cannot have an accident.

In fact, car safety inspection does not have anything to do with insurance rates, and it also does not guarantee fewer death rates.

A careless driver will definitely cause an accident, which may possibly lead to the death of some casualties in the scene.

On the other hand, insurance companies carry out different tests and validate different information about a car before issuing the driver a particular policy to cover for certain situations.

The fact remains that the actual safety of drivers is more dependent on their carefulness and obedience to various road/traffic instructions, commands, and signs.

If you are looking for cheaper insurance rates, you need to keep up with auto deals and coupons sites/programs – you could grab a jaw-dropping discount on a lucky day.

Nevertheless, auto insurance costs depend on various factors, which are not limited to the type of coverage you’re buying, the state of your car, and other considerable factors based on different insurance companies.

So, since car safety inspection does not affect insurance costsand doesn’t assure of fewer accidents/death rates, what then is the actual essence of this compulsory test?

The answer to that question is quite simple – the state’s car inspection tests help to validate the healthy state of every car that is plying the state’s roads.

When a car fails the test, the driver visits an authorized repair shop to fix his car’s faulty components.

This can help (to some extent) in reassuring drivers’ safety. 

Now, let’s consider the documents and requirements for getting your car inspected in different states. Yeah, different states may require different documents.

Car Safety Inspection Requirements and Procedures

Most inspection failures are due to these factors:

  • Windshield wipers are in bad shape
  • Brakes aren’t responding fine
  • Bulbs, turn signals, stop lightsand headlights
  • Tires

What are the general aspects of your car that are being tested?

  • Horn
  • Seat belts
  • Windshield wipers
  • Mirror
  • Steering
  • Brake system
  • Tires
  • Wheels
  • Exhaust (emission) system
  • Beam indicator
  • Lamps
  • Rear red reflectors
  • Turn signal lamps
  • Headlamps
  • Motor, serial, or vehicle identification number
  • Wheel alignment
  • Suspension
  • Fuel system
  • Bumpers and fenders
  • Electrical system
  • Glazing (windows)
  • Hood/catches
  • Door handle latches
  • Floor / Trunk pans
  • Speedometer / odometer
  • Driver seat
  • Motor mounts
  • Gear shift indicator
  • Universal and CV (constant velocity) joints

What are the types of cars that are tested?

Virtually all cars are eligible for the inspection test, including:

  • Passenger cars
  • Trucks and SUVs weighing up to 10,000 pounds or less
  • 20ft. trailers without air brakes

At the end of the test, the driver is issued an inspection certificate.

What would be checked on your car depends on the states and inspection center.

However, the points made above are the general things that may be checked on your car (not necessarily all).


The following are what to present in an authorized inspection station in Texas.

  • Proof of liability insurance (any state’s insurance is valid)
  • The inspection payment: this payment is compulsory irrespective of whether your car passes the test or not. The mode of payment depends on the inspection station you visit.
  • A (recent) valid photo ID

What’s being tested?

  • The car brakes
  • General car inspections – this usually takes 9 minutes or less

You can have your car rechecked during the middle of the month (13th – 26th).

What a vehicle safety inspection entails varies by state, but here are a few specific examples:

New York

In New York, cars and light trucks are inspected, and the following aspects are the main focuses of the test:

  • Seat belts
  • Brakes
  • Steering, front-end assembly
  • Suspension, chassis
  • Frame and wheel fasteners
  • Tires
  • Lights
  • Windshield and other glass
  • Wipers and blades
  • Horn and mirrors
  • Fuel leaks


You have to pay around $10 – $18 for your car to be inspected in Louisiana (tax excluded).

The following aspects will be checked in the vehicle:

  • Brakes
  • Speedometer and odometer
  • All the mirrors
  • Seatbelts
  • Steering and its components
  • Look out for holes and rusty parts on the car’s floor pan (in the passenger side)
  • Parking brakes
  • Horn
  • Interior and exterior lights
  • Windshield wipers and washers
  • Severely damaged or faulted windshields
  • A thorough check on the car’s body and sheet metal
  • Fenders and bumpers
  • Doors and windows
  • Hood latch
  • Wheels
  • Suspension
  • Shock absorbers
  • Exhaust system

From the few states listed above, one can see that what’s being checked differs.

Also, the price of this test varies from state to state. The severity of these checks definitely differs from state to state.

In fact, the procedures, methods, and tools used in car safety inspections are not the same when you travel from one state to another.

More so, you may have to re-inspect your car when you travel from state to state.

If you dodge car inspections, you will attract serious fines and penalties as per the state’s laws.

However, in some states, it is not compulsory to undergo car inspection; if you live in such states, there’s nothing to worry about.

Does Car Inspection Affect The Selling Of Car Within A-State?

Somehow, a car inspection certificate may be required by the car buyer since it is needed to register the car with the relevant authority.

Taking Maryland as an example:

When a private seller places his used car for sale, inspection is unnecessary before the car can be sold.

However, a valid car inspection certificate can help to convince potential buyers the more.

The certificate assures the buyer that the used car is still in good shape and worthy of being taken to the roads.

In contrast, dealerships operating within the state only sell vehicles that are priory inspected.

On the buyer’s side, when a car with lapsed inspection proof, you can drive into any of the licensed repair shops within the state to get the car inspected – the cost for this can be up to $70 or more.

However, if the vehicle is an old one (6 years old or older), the inspection cost can go as high as $300 or even more.

Actually, the cost is calculated based on the number of things that have to be fixed in order for the car to pass the state’s inspection test.

Due to this high cost, Maryland citizens would prefer used cars with valid state inspection proof; that would save them from the possible cost they may get when they try to inspect the car by themselves.

How to spot a lapsed car inspection document or certificate?

  • If the VIN on the inspection certificate doesn’t match with the one on the car.
  • When the date on the inspection certificate is past 90 days ago. Typically, inspection certificates are valid for 90 days (from the inspection date).
  • If the car has ridden over 1000 miles since it was last inspected. Check the mileage on the inspection cert and that on the car dashboard; if the difference is over 1000 miles, the cert is no longer valid.

These points will help you to fault lapsed inspection certificates when buying a used car from a dealership or private seller.

Is Car Safety Inspection Compulsory In All States?

There are states that do not make this test compulsory, and it doesn’t basically portray any safety treat.

As said earlier, car safety inspections do not guarantee fewer deaths and accidents rate in a state.

Nevertheless, car inspections can fetch auto repair shops a huge sum annually.

Final words

If your car fails the inspection test in a state, you have to fix all the highlighted issues and take the car back for re-inspection.

Regarding the fix, if your state doesn’t insist on repairing your car in certified auto workshops, you can take the car to any mechanic workshop of your choice or fix the issues (if they are things you can do).

The amount you will pay for your car to be inspected differs from state to state, and the amount to fix the identified problems depends on the fault(s).

More handy tips and guides about used cars and auto insurance can be read on our homepage.

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