General Question

eadinad's avatar

What do I need to pass a vehicle safety inspection?

Asked by eadinad (1278points) July 13th, 2009

I just bought my first car! (It’s used.) I’m gonna head over to get it safety inspected in a minute, but I’m a little nervous. What exactly do they look for? Any sort of list or something would be nice, I can’t find it with google. Anything I should know beforehand? Thanks!

Oh, second question – I have to have a safety inspection before I can go get temporary tags from the DMV. (I have no plates at the moment.) But I am worried about my car being towed while I am inside the DMV. Anything I can do to prevent this?

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23 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

The manual, which should have come with the car, has lists. Check mileage on the odometer and then cross-reference with manual. If there are safety issues, the auto mechanic will tell you and offer to fix them. Make sure you bring your charge card.

Darwin's avatar

Each state has it’s own requirements, but generally you need to have working headlights, turn signals, tag lights and brake lights, a good exhaust system, and a working horn, among other things

Also, since you cannot drive a car legally without tags, have you considered having it towed to get its inspection and then get a ride with a friend to do the tag paperwork?

MrGV's avatar

You’re really over thinking this…just bring it in and try to get a inspection sticker if they turn you down they will tell you why so you can get it fixed.

You can drive a car without a tag for 7–30 days depending on the state you live in from the date you bought it.

Darwin's avatar

Not in Texas you can’t. If you don’t have a tag or a temporary tag, the cops are going to want to talk to you.

cwilbur's avatar

If you do not have legal license plates on the car, you should not be driving it. And depending on the state, an actual registration might be required before the inspection.

If you just bought the car, you can probably get a temporary plate so that you can drive it around for a few days in order to get it registered and inspected.

You really need to talk to someone local and knowledgeable about this. Driving an unregistered and uninspected car (and thus an uninsured and probably uninsurable car) is a really stupid thing to do, because if you get caught, you’ll wind up in court and you’ll be dealing with ramifications of the screwup for years. Doing it by the book may seem like a hassle, but it will save you problems in the end. The DMV is a bureaucracy and has no mercy and no patience.

MrGV's avatar

@Darwin Texas thinks they are a country….

Darwin's avatar

@MrGeneVan – There is no need to insult my state, especially since you don’t appear to be very knowledgeable about vehicle tags regulations.

gailcalled's avatar

@MrGeneVan: Whatever Texans think about their state, it is still legally a state.

robmandu's avatar

In Texas (and North Carolina if I recall), you also need to bring proof of insurance. Furthermore, you will need to ensure you take your vehicle to an inspection station in your county of residence. (If you live near a county line, just taking your vehicle to the “nearest shop” might be a wasted trip.)

The kinds of things they check:
– Emissions!
– all exterior lights functioning and not cracked/broken
– horn
– windshield and wipers
– gauges functioning
– tires

Also, if for some reason your vehicle needs a very costly repair to bring it up to code, many states will allow you to only spend up to $xxx dollars towards the repair and call it good. So you don’t necessarily have to fix the problem, but you will need to throw some money at it.

And do not drive your car without tags. Sheesh.

“You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas.” – Davey Crockett

robmandu's avatar

Texas lists their vehicle inspection criteria:

I’m sure your state has a similar site.

casheroo's avatar

In my state, you need proof of registration and insurance to get the car inspected. Thats all I need to bring when I get my car inspected.
Also, be strong. I almost got screwed out of $595 for my last inspection, because most cars usually need new brakes but they told me I need roters as well. Thank god my father and husband could do it, we saved hundreds of dollars. It was the cheapest inspection yet. Oh, and I’ve had mechanics try to screw me and tell me I need new breaks when I JUST got them. Listen when they tell you what is wrong with the car, it could be some bullshit thing to get money.

robmandu's avatar

@casheroo, I swear I hope you and my wife never get together. The two of you in proximity likely would create a black hole vortex of bad luck that might just implode the universe.

lillycoyote's avatar

Call your state DMV. In Delaware, if your tags are expired or you have no tags you can get “verbal permission” to drive your car to Motor Vehicle. All they ask is that you head directly to DMV. If the police stop you, you tell them you have verbal permission. But you better be on your way to the DMV and not shopping for groceries, etc. Your state probably has some provision for getting untagged vehicles to DMV.

casheroo's avatar

@robmandu lol well, that’s a scary thought

kapuerajam's avatar

The ability to slip the inspector a few hundred dollar bills with out being seen.

robmandu's avatar

@kapuerajam, for a $40 inspection? I think you might be doing it wrong.

eadinad's avatar

Update for anyone interested:

I got my safety inspection. No emission inspection required in this county. They checked brake lights, turn signals, and some other stuff I couldn’t tell. The whole thing took like fifteen minutes. The only thing I had to pay for was the initial inspection $12, and a new brake bulb $10.

I did not have to have my proof of insurance, and I couldn’t even register the car til I had my safety inspection so I obviously didn’t need my registration.

I called the police, and they said that although it’s technically illegal to drive without tags, if I was on my way to the inspection station or dmv and got pulled over, and I explained to the officer and showed my title and bill of sale, he’d prolly let me go and just follow me there. I drove to the inspection station just fine, but had a friend take me to the DMV since it’s a longer trip.

Thanks all for your input.

robmandu's avatar

@eadinad, it’s not a guarantee, but even if the cop did give you a ticket, if you went to court and presented evidence of your inspection to the judge, there’s a good chance he’d dismiss the case. Just something to remember to avoid paying a ticket in the mail.

Same goes if you leave your drivers license at home.

However, in some places around Texas, if you drive without proof of insurance and get pulled over, the cop will have your car towed right then and there. They’re really cracking down on uninsured motorists.

msright1981's avatar

before going to court always make sure the cost of the court is not more than the ticket, as I have one of my friend fall for that trap before :).

Response moderated
sgvcalif13's avatar

Will a car pass inspection if reverse does not work?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
settingthingsstraight's avatar

LOL! I live in TX and have driven my car for more than 2 years before with no inspection sticker or registration sticker. Even if you get pulled over driving like that, you have 10 days to get it fixed without paying a ticket. They don’t tow cars for expired tags.

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