How Much Does A Car Inspection Cost

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In many of the states in America car inspections are a requirement for registering a vehicle. Owners of cars are responsible for having their cars inspected and tested for safety, emissions and other general measurements of standards. As a requirement, many vehicle owners ask how much these inspections cost.

These vehicle inspections are extensive and time consuming. The cost on average between $150 and $250 for an extensive vehicle inspection. However, certain factors will impact this cost such as what type of vehicle you drive and what state you live.

What Is Included In A Vehicle Inspection

A vehicle inspection is incredibly thorough and will take a while to complete. A vehicle inspection will cover the exhaust system, steering, suspension, brakes, tires, wheel alignment, fuel system and much more. Let’s take a closer look at what each of these categories will cover

Exhaust

The exhaust system is a collection of tubes and chambers that move the exhaust of the car out of the engine. The exhaust manifolds have several tasks from reducing noise, to converting the toxic gaseous result of burning gasoline into something less damaging for the environment.

Included in an exhaust inspection:

  • Exhaust Manifold
  • Oxygen Sensor
  • Catalytic Converter
  • Muffler
  • Exhaust Pipe
  • Tailpipe and Muffler

Steering And Suspension System

The steering and suspension of your vehicle are two separate systems though they are typically grouped together in an inspection process as they work together to keep a vehicle under control. The suspension is responsible for supporting the vehicle and keeping a smooth and stable ride. The steering allows the driver control of the car when turning.

The steering and suspension systems inspection include:

  • U-Joint
  • Idler/Pitman Arm
  • Center Link
  • Bushings
  • Tie Rod Ends
  • Ball Joints
  • Shocks/Struts

Tires, Wheels And Alignment

The tires and wheels of the vehicle are a major safety component and as we all know the car would not be able to get very far without them. A tire and wheel inspection will be done visually looking for any punctures or foreign objects. Other things checked include tire pressure, wear infrequencies and alignment issues

A tire and wheel inspection will include:

  • Tire Pressure Check
  • Tire Tread Depth
  • Inspect for Illuminated TPMS Light
  • Signs of a Misalignment

Braking System

The braking system of your car is responsible for slowing the vehicle down and is a crucial safety feature. The brake inspection is debatably the most important

A tire and wheel inspection will include:

  • Measure Brake Pad/Shoe Thickness
  • Measure Brake Rotor Thickness
  • Measure Brake Drum Diameter
  • Brake Hoses
  • Parking Brake System
  • Other Braking Components including Hardware, Calipers, Wheel Cylinders, and ABS
  • Brake Fluid

General Vehicle Inspection

There are a handful of other components that are checked in a vehicle inspection. The list will include some parts that you rarely consider as important to vehicle function, though they are crucial none the less.

A vehicle inspection will also include these various components:

  • Belt Tensioner
  • Valve Cover Gasket
  • Power Steering Hoses
  • Windshield Washer Fluid Top-Off
  • Start/Charge Test
  • Spark Plug Scheduled Maintenance
  • Fuel Filter
  • Fuel System
  • Ignition Wires
  • Power Steering Hoses
  • Timing Belt
  • Exhaust System Check

Who Performs Vehicle Inspections?

You can get a vehicle inspection done at just about any mechanic or dealership.

Most mechanics preform vehicle inspections which means you should do research before receiving services from any of them. Be sure to find a reputable mechanic that is well reviewed on Google.

Dealerships will also offer vehicle inspections but they may be pricier for the quality of service.

What Are The Vehicle Inspection Requirements By State?

The following chart outlines the inspection requirements for each state in the United States of America.

StateRequired Safety Inspection?Required Emissions Inspection?Required VIN Inspection?
AlabamaA safety inspection is required prior to transferring ownership of a car. This includes buying a vehicle new or used from a dealer, selling your vehicle to another owner, or transferring ownership.Alabama also does not have a law requiring statewide emissions inspections but does have a law in place for any city to enact emissions legislation, so stay up to date.If you have an out of state vehicle and plan on moving to Alabama, you’ll need to complete a VIN inspection, which will then allow you to continue to register your vehicle. You have 20 days to complete this process.
AlaskaNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredNo inspection required
ArizonaArizona does not require a period safety inspection or emissions inspection unless you live in Phoenix or Tucson. If you live, work, or study in Phoenix, and your vehicle is a 1981 or newer and weighs less than 8,500 pounds, you’ll need to get an inspection every 2 years.Yes if your car is: A model year between 1967-1980
A diesel vehicle that’s 1967 or newer.
Over 8,500 pounds
A 1981-1995 vehicle with 4×4 or traction control weighing less than 8,500 pounds.
No inspection required
ArkansasNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredNo inspection required
CaliforniaWhile California does not require annual safety inspections, California Highway Patrol officers that believe a vehicle is unsafe to drive may require the vehicle to be inspected.What California does have, is a robust emissions policy. To check if your vehicle needs to be inspected, you’ll need to visit the California Bureau of Automotive repair and enter your zip code to see if it’s required.
An inspection is currently required in some zip codes in 41 out of 58 counties. If an emissions test is required for your zip code, you’ll need to get an inspection every 2 years.
A 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.
ColoradoColorado does not have a statewide safety inspection requirement, although Colorado drivers should be aware that a uniformed police officer can stop a vehicle and require that an inspection be performed.What Colorado does have is emissions laws, though none of them are statewide, and are only required for the following counties: Boulder, Denver, Broomfield, Douglas, and Jefferson, as well as sections of Adams, Larimer, Weld, and Arapahoe.A 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.
ConnecticutConnecticut does not have a statewide safety inspection requirement for normal passenger vehicles. However, commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating over 18,000 pounds, trailers over 10,000 pounds, taxis, and imported vehicles all require a safety inspection.Connecticut also has required emissions inspections, which must be performed every 2 years. Failure to renew your emission inspection results in an automatic late fine, so we’d advise staying up to date on the testing.A 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.
DelawareSafety inspections in Delaware are performed when attempting to renew a registration. The six newest model years are exempt from safety inspections prior to registration, while all others will receive a two-year renewal with a passing inspection. For more information, visit the Delaware DMV site.Delaware also has mandatory emissions testing which generally occurs once every 2 years, with the latest 7 model years exempt from testing.No inspection required
District of ColumbiaWashington D.C has no mandatory safety inspections for non-commercial vehicles. However, commercial vehicles are required to undergo safety checks every year.That said it does have mandatory emissions testing which must be completed for non-commercial vehicles every 2 years. New commercial vehicles are exempt for the first 4 years of ownership.No inspection required
FloridaThere are no safety inspections in Florida – which we can personally attest to, as our headquarters is right smack dab in the middle of it, in sunny St. Petersburg Florida.No inspection requiredNo inspection required
GeorgiaGeorgia has no law that mandates a statewide, periodic inspection for safety reasons. However, a law enforcement officer can conduct an inspection of any vehicle that they suspect of being operated in an unsafe condition.Georgia also has no statewide emissions testing requirement, except for some Atlanta counties. In Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale County, an emissions test is required once a year.No inspection required
HawaiiHawaii drivers will need to have a safety inspection performed every year, as all vehicles with a gross weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less need one prior to registration. New cars are exempt from this requirement for 2 years.No inspection requiredNo inspection required
IdahoNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredA 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.
IllinoisIllinois has no statewide safety inspection requirement for most passenger vehicles. However, vehicles over 8,000 pounds or designed to carry more than 10 passengers must secure a safety inspection before being issued a certificate of safety to be allowed to drive.Required emissions inspections in the following counties: Cook, Dupage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Monroe, Madison, Clair, and Will.No inspection required
IndianaNo inspection requiredIndiana has no statewide emissions testing. Only vehicles registered in Lake and Porter counties are required to undergo emissions testing, as well as tampering inspections every 2 years, assuming they have a gross vehicle weight of less than 9,000 pounds.A 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.
IowaNo inspection required, except with a salvage title. No inspection required, except with a salvage title.No inspection required, except with a salvage title.
KansasNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredA 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.
KentuckyNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredA 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.
LouisianaLouisiana is a bit of an oddity on this list when it comes to safety inspections, which it does have statewide. Louisiana residents have the option of getting an annual vehicle safety inspection, or a biannual inspection (which costs double).No inspection required except in the Parishes of East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, and Iberville parishes enforce local emissions testing yearly.No inspection required
MaineMaine requires all motor vehicles to undergo a safety inspection once a year.No inspection required except in Cumberland CountryNo inspection required
MarylandMaryland has no periodic statewide safety inspection. However, a safety inspection is required prior to registration after a sale or transfer.Maryland does not have a statewide annual emissions testing program, although many counties do enforce their own testing.Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Calvert County, Carroll County, Cecil County Charles County, Frederick County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, and Washington County have emissions testing for vehicles 1995 or newer:No inspection required
MassachusettsMassachusetts has a detailed annual vehicle safety inspection, which covers components including brakes and taillights.There are also annual emissions inspections for cars that are less than 15 years old, which are inspected with an OBD-II code reader. Cars older than that will have their exhausts visually inspected.No inspection required
MichiganNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredNo inspection required
MinnesotaMinnesota has no inspection requirement for personal vehicles of any kind. What Minnesota does have are annual inspections for any commercial motor vehicle or special mobile equipment defined under Minnesota law section 168.002 subdivision 31.No inspection requiredNo inspection required
MississippiMississippi does require is an annual safety inspection if your car has tinted windows.No inspection requiredNo inspection required
MissouriA new Missouri law as of August 28th 2019 has officially made it so vehicles no longer need an inspection until they are 10 years old, or have more than 150,000 miles. Prior to this change, an inspection was required every 5 years.Missouri also has biannual emissions inspections in the following counties: St Louis City, St Louis County, Franklin County, St. Charles County, and Jefferson County.No inspection required
MontanaNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredNo inspection required
NebraskaNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredNebraska registered vehicles must have a VIN inspection and odometer check.
NevadaNo inspection requiredEmissions testing is only currently required for Las Vegas and Reno.Nebraska registered vehicles must have a VIN inspection and odometer check.
New HampshireNew Hampshire has several vehicle inspections laws that you need to be aware of. Your vehicle must under a safety inspection within 10 days of the initial registration. Afterward, your car will need to be re-inspected every year, no later than 10 days after the end of your birth month.Annual emissions inspection Annual VIN inspection
New JerseyNew Jersey had safety inspections for all vehicles, but that requirement was not kept after 2010. Currently, only commercial vehicles need to have annual safety inspections. That includes taxis, buses, and diesel vehicles, which must be inspected for emissions.All non-commercial vehicles are required to get an emissions inspection every 2 years, where you may get an inspection up to 2 months prior to the date when your inspection sticker is due to expire. Vehicles that are less than 5 years old can get a 5-year inspection, which ends when the car is more than 5 years past the original model year.No inspection required
New MexicoNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredAll non-commercial vehicles are required to get an emissions inspection every 2 years, where you may get an inspection up to 2 months prior to the date when your inspection sticker is due to expire. Vehicles that are less than 5 years old can get a 5-year inspection, which ends when the car is more than 5 years past the original model year.
New YorkNew York requires that drives have an annual safety inspectionNew York requires that drives have an annual emissions inspectionNo inspection required
North CarolinaNorth Carolina has a statewide safety inspection law that requires all vehicles to pass an annual safety inspection before it can be registered in North Carolina or have the registration renewed.North Carolina doesn’t have a statewide emissions law, but motor vehicles registered in 22 counties must also pass an annual emissions inspection which is to be conducted at the same time as your safety inspection. Emissions inspections are required in: Alamance, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Cumberland, Davidson, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Guilford, Iredell, Johnston, Lee, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Onslow, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Wake, and Union Counties.No inspection required
North DakotaNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredNo inspection required
OhioNo inspection requiredOhio does have, is emissions testing in some counties. The Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, And Summit counties all conduct emissions testing.All vehicles (gasoline, diesel, flexible fuel, and hybrid) that have a gross vehicle weight less than 10,000 pounds and are 25 years old or newer must get an OBD-II reader e-check every year.
OklahomaNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredNo inspection required
OregonNo inspection requiredFor residents of the Portland Metro or Medford Ashland area, you’ll have to undergo an emissions inspection every 2 years.A 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.
PennsylvaniaAn annual safety inspection is requiredAn annual emissions inspection is requiredAn annual VIN inspection is required
Rhode IslandAll newly registered vehicles (with the exception of new vehicles) must pass a safety inspection within 5 days of registration. Afterwards, safety inspections are required every 2 years for cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of less than 8,500 pounds.All newly registered vehicles (with the exception of new vehicles) must pass a emissions inspection within 5 days of registration. Afterwards, emissions inspections are required every 2 years for cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of less than 8,500 pounds.No inspection required
South CarolinaNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredNo inspection required
South DakotaNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredNo inspection required
TennesseeNo inspection requiredNo inspection required. If you live in: Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, or Wilson county, you’ll need to have an emissions test performed annually.No inspection required
TexasTexas requires an annual safety inspection to ensure compliance with their safety standards.No inspection required except in: Denton, Collin, Tarrant, Dallas, Parker, Rockwall, Kaufman, Johnson, Ellison, El Paso, Williamson, Travis, Ft Bend, Brazoria, Harris, Montgomery, and Galveston counties.No inspection required
UtahA safety inspection is no longer required prior to first-time registration or renewing your registration as of 2018 as long as your vehicle is not a salvage vehicle, a street-legal ATV, or a commercial vehicle.Emissions tests are required for vehicles in Davis, Salt Lake, Utah, and Weber counties. If your car’s model year is less than 6 years old, you’re required to have an emission test every 2 years.A VIN inspection is required prior to registering an out of state vehicle in Utah for the first time.
VermontAn annual safety inspection is required once a year, while new Vermont vehicles must be inspected within 15 days of registration. This check covers everything from body panels to brakes and windshields.Vermont also performs emissions inspections, which take place at the same time as your safety inspection. These are conducted with a visual inspection of your Catalytic converter and an OBD-II reader for all vehicles 16 years old or newer.You are also required to have a VIN inspection if registering a new, out of state vehicle in Vermont.
VirginiaVirginia law requires that vehicles are submitted for an annual safety inspection, with the exception of new vehicles that have been manufacturer inspected, which are exempt for the first year after purchase.Virginia does not have statewide emissions inspections, but it does conduct inspections in the following counties: Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford Counties. The following cities also test: Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park.A 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.
WashingtonNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredA 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.
West VirginiaWest Virginia requires a routine safety inspection every 12 months. New residents have 10 days from the date when you title your vehicle to get a safety inspection.No inspection requiredNo inspection required
WisconsinNo inspection requiredThe Wisconsin Department of Transportation notifies car owners of when required. A test is required when license plates are renewed and when the car’s ownership changes.
Emissions tests are required in one of the seven southeastern Wisconsin counties of Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Washington and Waukesha.
No inspection required
WyomingNo inspection requiredNo inspection requiredA 1-time VIN inspection when you register an out of state vehicle.

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