State vehicle inspections are standard in most parts of the country, but they vary by state and may include safety inspections, emissions testing, and overall vehicle condition. The DMV (department of motor vehicles) in your state can give you the information related to vehicle inspection and what is required to pass them.

Safety Inspection

A vehicle safety inspection can include many items on your car or truck, but in most cases, this type of state vehicle inspection focuses on things like tires, brakes, glass, and lights on the car. It may also include checking the exhaust for leaks and the fuel and brake lines for damage that could make the car unsafe. 

In some states, body damage that leaves a hole in the sheet metal or a sharp edge exposed can also be a concern. Excessive rust on the vehicle can affect the structural integrity of the frame and body. If there are rust holes through any body panels, you will most likely need to repair them before the car will pass inspection.

Trucks with modified suspensions or large tires may not pass inspection, and lowered cars with lots of underglow lighting and hydraulic or air suspensions may also be a concern when it comes time to inspect them. It is crucial to check the laws in your state before modifying your vehicle to ensure that the changes you make are legal and will allow you to drive the vehicle on public roads.

Most mechanical parts of the vehicle are subject to safety inspection, so be sure to keep your car serviced regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order on your car for the best chance at passing the inspection the first time through.

Emissions Testing

Emissions testing checks the level of exhaust gases coming out of your tailpipe as you drive. With more emphasis on clean air and reducing carbon emissions, this form of state vehicle inspection is becoming more common. 

Emissions testing is often an additional test on top of the safety inspection mentioned earlier. The test will measure the levels of emissions coming out of the car and a computer will analyze it to determine if there is anything wrong with the vehicle or if the emissions are within the allowed limits. 

Some states will not even test the vehicle if the check engine light is on when it comes into the shop, while others allow the test for diagnostic use, and while the car will fail for the CEL, the report from the test can give you the information needed to make repairs.

In many states, if the car does not pass the first time, you will have a chance to fix it and repeat the test later, but most states limit the attempts at the test, so check with the DMV to determine what that number is in your state.