How Long Does A Car Inspection Take?

Car inspection time will depend on the state you are in and condition of your vehicle

As a vehicle owner, you will have to take it for inspection before you can continue using it.

The vehicle inspection might be needed for your brand new car as well as the vehicle you have been using.

The whole process of the vehicle inspection entails diagnosis that will ensure that the vehicle is at excellent performance and that it adheres to the state safety laws.

This will guarantee not only your safety but also the safety of other motorists on public roads.

The big question is “How long does a car inspection take?” A vehicle inspection, generally, may not take more than an hour to be completed.

The road test might last for as long as half an hour, and it is the most important part. On the other hand, an inspection of the interior will take 20 minutes at most.

In some inspection procedures, other tests, such as the emission tests, might be performed, and this will take close to 15 minutes.

These processes might take less time than indicated above if the process systems are at high-speed.

A car inspection process does not have a specific duration-some inspection service may even take hours.

Several factors will determine the time taken by the whole process, such as the locality of the inspection or where the inspection is conducted.

If your vehicle is in perfect condition, you might complete the service within no time.

Car Inspection Time In The Different States Chart

State: Inspection Time:
Pennsylvania 20 to 30 mins
New York 1 to 2 hours
North Carolina 15 to 30 mins
Massachusetts About 12 mins
Texas 15 to 30 mins
Maryland 1 to 2 hours
Virginia At least 30 mins

Why Is Car Inspection Necessary?

Having your vehicle inspected is mandatory by law as it ensures that you are safe and that you don’t put the lives of other road users at risk.

There are other reasons that you might want to have your vehicle inspected regularly, they include:

  1. It will save you money: Checking the condition of the vehicle regularly will ensure that errors with the performance of the vehicle are detected early and corrected. This will ensure that the vehicle remains well-maintained.
  2. Is environmentally friendly: A well-maintained car will be eco-friendly and will not use a lot of fuel. In the end, the environment will be conserved.
  3. Time saving: This is true because you will not be dragged down by a vehicle that is not at its top performance. Vehicles in perfect condition don’t take that much time to reach your destination.
  4. Improves the lifespan of the vehicle: Checking for errors and correcting them early enhances the lifespan of the vehicle effectively. The diagnosis process of the inspection corrects issues as soon as they are noticed.
  5. Ensures compliance with the law: The state safety department might want to have your vehicle inspected at some point.
    If you had taken the vehicle for inspection recently, you would have no problems as it will comply with the state laws.
  6. Guarantees safety of all those in the vehicle: A frequently inspected car is safe for use and is not likely to cause an accident.
  7. Prepares the vehicle for sale: An inspection service for your vehicle will be needed before you sell it. This should help point out the issues of the vehicle and have them corrected.

4 Things I Recommend You To Do Before Taking A Car Inspection

As indicated above, the vehicle inspection procedure may last for up to an hour in some cases.

However, if you are looking to speed up the process, the following preparations should help complete the inspection within the shortest time possible:

1. Acquire An OBD2 Scanner

An On-Board Diagnostic (OBD2) scanner works to check the various issues that might be affecting the performance of the vehicle negatively.

This should help realize the errors and correcting them before you take the vehicle for an inspection service.

2. Check All The Tires

The next preparation take is checking the tires fixed on the vehicle. It might be time to rotate them and also check the air pressure to ensure it is accurate for each tire.

You should also check for wear on the tires and replace the tires that are significantly worn out.

3. Observe The Windshield Wipers

Most of the vehicles that undergo the inspection process fail because of issues with the windshield wipers.

Therefore, it would be an excellent idea to check on them, and if they are broken, they will have to be replaced.

4. Check The Bulbs Of The Vehicle

Before proceeding to take the vehicle for inspection service, both the interior and exterior bulbs will have to be checked. If you spot any faulty bulbs, you should have them fixed.

In many instances, vehicles fail the inspection process because of the above simple complications. You can avoid wasting your time by doing it right in the first instance.

What To Prepare For A Car Inspection

When going to the inspection station, few preparations will be needed to speed up the entire process.

These will help avoid wasting your time and increasing the likelihood of the vehicle passing the inspection process.

The inspection station will probably be filled with other vehicles that need the service, and you will want to be sharp to get it done as soon as possible.

Some of the preparation processes include:

  • Carrying all the required documentation.
  • Carry along with proof of the paid insurance and not only the insurance card. This is because more information might be asked concerning insurance coverage.
  • Carry along with your identity cards as well as your driver’s license.
  • Having the required cash or credit card for payment of the inspection service.

The Cost Of Car Inspection

As indicated above, the car inspection service is not a free service you will have to pay for it.

The inspection may be charged as low as $150 and $250 on the upper side. This is the price range for the standard vehicle inspection service.

What Takes Place In A Car Inspection Process?

  1. Checking the interior and exterior status of the vehicle: The diagnostic process will begin by checking the external components of the vehicle.
    This includes components such as the taillights, headlights, suspension system, windshield and wipers. The exhaust pipe may also be checked.
    For the interior check, the clutch and the brake will be checked if they are in excellent working condition.
  2. Performance of a road test: A road test will be performed to check the condition of the engine. This will be needed to ensure the safety of the passengers. The lights of the dashboard and also the brake system will be checked.
  3. An emission check: This is a part of the inspection that is important and will determine the success of the inspection. This will check if the vehicle emits hazardous fumes.
    If a new vehicle fails this test, you can return it to the dealer, but for an old vehicle, you will have to take it for service.
  4. Certification: The certification occurs for the vehicles that have passed the inspection service. At this point, the vehicle will receive approval as it will be safe for use.
    A windshield sticker will be given by the inspection attendant. The certification is also needed for the renewal of the license.

Car Inspection Process

The vehicle inspection process entails a series of procedures.

The following is the procedure that will be undertaken by the inspection attendant:

  1. Mechanical: This basically includes checking of the mechanical parts of the vehicle. The parts here include the transmission system, the engine, the cooling system and a few others.
  2. Undercarriage: This process includes checking of the tires, wheels, braking system, the suspension and other driveline components.
  3. Inspection of the body: The thickness of the paint will be measured, and signs of rust and corrosion will be checked. This will be performed for the body panels and the chassis of the vehicle.
    The attendant will also seek to detect signs of previous accidents that the vehicle might have been involved in.
  4. Checking the interior: The interior components of the vehicle such as the dashboard, the gear lever, handbrake, etc. will be checked.
  5. Road testing: The performance of the vehicle will be tested by taking it on the road for a short drive.
  6. Emission testing: This will check whether the emission of the vehicle is any risk to the immediate environment.

What Reasons To Get A Car Inspected

Some of the reasons and benefits of having your vehicle inspected include:

  • Guarantees that the vehicle is well maintained.
  • Saves you money since you will be able to detect and repair damaged components of the vehicle.
  • The emission test ensures the conservation of the environment.
  • Driving a vehicle that has recently passed an inspection guarantees safety of passengers.
  • Guarantees compliance with the state laws.
  • Ensures the safety of other road users.

What Happens If A Vehicle Fails Inspection?

If the vehicle fails the inspection process, you will have to get it fixed.

If it is the engine or the exterior parts that are found to be the cause, you will have to get them repaired or replaced.

If you are found driving a car that failed an inspection, you might be fined.

In the case that the vehicle fails an emission test, repairs should be done, and the vehicle should undergo a retest within two months.

5 Reasons To Fail Your Car Inspections

The vehicle might fail the inspection because of some of the following reasons:

  1. Damaged windshield wipers-which are mostly overlooked. You will have to replace them before taking the vehicle for inspection.
  2. Service engine lights that show there is something wrong with the performance of the engine.
  3. Faulty lights.
  4. The parking brake not working as it should.
  5. Worn out tires.

The States In America Require Car Inspection

In America, 17 states will need the vehicle inspected annually or every two years. Some of these states may also require the same procedure for brand new vehicles.

Some states like Maryland and Alabama will need an inspection conducted before the transfer of ownership.

If you buy a country from outside Nebraska and bring it over, an inspection will be needed by law.

Where Can I Get My Car Inspected Near Me?

All the inspection servicing stations have been in the business for quite a while.

They are well-versed with knowledge about automobiles and know what type of services you as the client would want from a vehicle inspection service.

Some areas that you can have your vehicle inspected near you include:

  1. The National Inspection Services: This is a national inspection service provider that is well versed with the type of inspection that your vehicle needs.
  2. The Car Inspector: This is a car inspection service provider that is situated in both the U.S. and Canada. They are well-versed with the best and easy way to offer car inspection services to clients.
  3. The Autoinspect: This inspection service provider gives client quality services that entail accurate and detailed vehicle inspection. You can find them either in U.S. and Canada.
  4. The Car Saints: This is a service provider that is spread out through the whole country and utilizes the services of professionals.
    Topnotch service is guaranteed, and they make sure that you as the client, know all the parts of the vehicle inspected.
  5. The AAA Inspection Services: Making use of the years of experience, this service provider gives quality inspection for those buying new vehicles. Currently, they are based in Colorado.
  6. The A.A. Transit Pros Inspection Services: Using topnotch networks of renowned inspection vendors, this service provider gives clients satisfactory car inspection services.
  7. The Inspection Service Of America: You can visit this inspection station to take advantage of the quality and premium services they provide. Their quality of services is unmatched.
  8. The CARCHEX Vehicle Inspection: Some of the services provided include vehicle protection services, car inspection, finance and insurance.
  9. True 360 Inspection: This is a national car inspection that has been providing similar services for over ten years. They are well-informed on car inspection services, and you can find one of their stations all over the country.
  10. The Applus Automotive: This service provider makes use of its experience to provide the clients with what they need in terms of vehicle inspection. You can take advantage of their quality services that are highly affordable and risk-free.


All in all, as a vehicle owner, you should schedule for a vehicle inspection regularly, you can have it a couple of times in a year.

This will be needed for new cars as well as that old car that you have owned for quite a while now.

There are numerous benefits that you will realize from having the vehicle frequently inspected such as it being safe for use, enhanced lifespan and improved driving performance.


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Written by Kane Dan

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