Exploring Automotive Electrical Faults

What You Need to Know About Vehicle Inspection in Your State

State vehicle inspection is required in most US states, and the things that are checked on the vehicle are often similar but can include some things that are different from one state to another. The primary inspection often centers around vehicle safety, but emissions testing is also part of the process in some areas. 

1. Safety Inspections

When you register your vehicle in many US states, the DMV (department of motor vehicles) will require you to take the car to an inspection station for a safety inspection that ensures the vehicle is safe for the road. The inspector will go over all the critical systems on the car according to the state's requirements and then let you know if anything needs repairing on the car. 

In most states, the brakes, tires, exhaust, and condition of the body are all things taken into consideration. Still, the list can be different for each state, so check with the DMV or the inspection station to see what is on the list for state vehicle inspection where you live. If your car or truck fails the inspection, the state will often have a grace period that allows you to get the vehicle fixed, but beyond that time, they will require you to stop driving the vehicle until it is fixed to the inspector's satisfaction. 

Most state vehicle inspection stations will offer to fix the car for you, but you are not required to use any specific shop or service for the repairs. Many times if you have the tools and knowledge to do the work yourself, you can buy the parts, make the repairs, and then return for reinspection and get your passing certification and sticker for your vehicle. 

2. Emissions Testing

In many areas, the state vehicle inspection also includes emissions testing. Smog testing, as it is often called, is simply a tailpipe emissions test that reads the gasses coming from your engine to determine if the car is running correctly. An excessive amount of emissions is often a sign there is something wrong, and many times that will lead the inspector to scan the computer for error codes that can help diagnose the problem. 

A faulty O2 sensor or a plugged catalytic converter can cause emissions failures, and in most states, if the check engine light on the dash is one, the vehicle will fail immediately. The goal of these tests is to keep the cars on the road running efficiently and put out the least amount of harmful exhaust gas possible to reduce the air pollution in the area. 

In large cities, this can make a significant difference, and the state will often require these tests on cars going back twenty years, but antique cars often get a waiver because they never had catalytic converters or most of the emissions sensors needed to reduce the exhaust gases in the first place. If you have more questions, contact state vehicle inspection services.