Why Are There State Vehicle Inspections?

Why are there state vehicle inspections, what do they entail, and why do laws vary state to state? Get the need-to-know answers in this guide.



Did you know that cars and trucks account for nearly ⅕ of all United States emissions? In particular, older vehicles that have not been maintained properly contribute a lot more smog than newer models.

However, this isn’t the only problem that comes with run-down cars. They can also be a hazard to both the driver and other people on the road. Because of this, many local governments have issued requirements for regular state vehicle inspections.

But, exactly why do we need these inspections? And why does it differ from state to state? If you want to learn the answer to these questions and more, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about state vehicle inspections.

Why Do We Need State Vehicle Inspections?

Every year, over five million car accidents occur in the United States. These crashes can be caused by a lot of things: driving under the influence, reckless driving, or simply not paying attention. However, a good deal of them is caused by worn-down, dangerous vehicles that should not be driving on the roads.

This is ostensibly the main reason why many states require vehicle inspections. They want to make sure that a malfunction in the car won’t jeopardize the safety of the driver or other people on the road.

However, there are a variety of other reasons why states require vehicle inspections. For one thing, it increases the state’s budget. It can also be used to control the number of emissions released into the air.

Unfortunately, the details around state vehicle inspections can get kind of confusing. Why? Let’s find out in the next section.

Why Don’t All States Have the Same Vehicle Inspections?

The final call to implement, or get rid of, state vehicle inspections falls to the individual states. As such, there are a variety of differences in what’s expected of car owners depending on what state they reside in.

Some states, like Mississippi, are trying to get rid of all inspection requirements on vehicles. Other states require some inspections while excluding others. A state can also control the frequency of how often you need to get your vehicle inspected.

Or, they can confine some inspections to certain areas of the state. As you can see, this makes it a bit confusing to find out what vehicle inspections are required for where you’re living.

So why all these variations between states? Well, vehicle inspections can be a divisive issue. They come with a lot of pros and cons. This can make them a bit of a political issue with the legislators that control them.

Pros of State Vehicle Inspections

As we mentioned before, a big plus that comes with state vehicle inspections is safety. By getting poorly maintained cars off the road legislators are trying to reduce the number of overall crashes and prevent certain accidents from being fatal.

In addition, these types of inspections can keep smog levels down by monitoring the emission standards on each vehicle. There’s also the financial aspect to consider. The fees required by vehicle inspectors go toward the state’s annual budget.

This can greatly increase revenue. Local mechanics and repair shops also benefit from inspections. The more inspections that are required the more money they make.

Cons of State Vehicle Inspections

There are also some reasons why politicians want to get rid of state vehicle inspections. Many people believe that inspection fees can hurt low-income families that can’t afford them.

In some cases, it’s considered outdated since many new cars are more reliable than older models. In some cases, they also might not be accurate. However, this depends on the quality of the auto shop that you go to.

Different Types of State Inspections

There are three main types of inspections: VIN, safety, and emissions inspections. VIN inspections are used to verify the ownership of the car. They are also used if the documents needed for identification are missing. Safety inspections are used to make sure that elements of the car are safe enough for use. Most safety inspections will typically look at the following parts:

  • Brakes

  • Frame

  • Seat belts

  • Fuel tank

  • Horn

  • Lights

  • Wheel fasteners

  • Mirrors

  • Chassis

  • Steering

  • Suspension

  • Tires

  • Front end

  • Windshield and other glass parts

If any of these parts require repair to meet safety standards, then the inspector will let you know. In some cases, they can even fix it for you if they offer the services.

The last type of inspection is emissions. This type of inspection ensures that your vehicle isn’t expelling an unusual amount of smog. Typically, this only applies to certain vehicles made after 1996. Most emissions inspections will typically look at the following parts:

  • Positive crankcase ventilation system (PCV)

  • Air injection system (AIS)

  • Catalytic converter (CAT)

  • Evaporative emissions control (EVAP)

  • On-board diagnostic II (OBDII)

  • Fuel inlet restrictor (FIR)

  • Check engine light off

  • Thermostatic air cleaner (TAC)

  • Exhaust gas recirculation valve (EGR)

Which States Don’t Require Inspections?

In some states, you don’t need to worry about vehicle safety inspections or emission inspections at all. However, keep in mind that most of these states urge their residents to personally assess the state of their vehicle for safety flaws and pollutants. Here is the list:

  • Alaska

  • Arkansas

  • Florida

  • Iowa

  • Michigan

  • Minnesota

  • Mississippi

  • Montana

  • North Dakota

  • South Dakota

  • South Carolina

  • Washington

  • Wyoming

Need a State Vehicle Inspection in NH? Contact Extra Care Auto Repair

We hope this article helped you learn more about state vehicle inspections and why they’re important. Unfortunately, for many people, a state vehicle inspection can be just another unexpected expense to add to the pile.

The good news is that many honest auto repair shops offer quick inspections at affordable prices. So how do you find them? If you live in the New Hampshire area, then look no further than Extra Care Auto Repair.

We offer state inspections that cost $14.95 and take less than forty-five minutes. That way, you can make sure your vehicle is safe without breaking the bank.

If you’re ready to get your state inspection over with, then make sure to schedule your appointment with Extra Care Auto Repair today.

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