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  • Preparation
    • History Know the history of your vehicle, whether it’s been in one wreck or eight.
    • Paperwork Bring in current paperwork from last inspection.
    • Maintenance Proof of maintenance needs to be brought in to the inspection as well.
    • Schedule Make sure to go to the vehicle inspection on time.
  • Equipment
    • Tools Proper tools to take apart the vehicle for testing as needed.
    • Lubricants Used to loosen nuts and bolts that can’t be easily removed during the inspection.
    • Mats Placed securely on the floor to let vehicle inspectors climb under the vehicle.
    • Lifts Used to place the vehicle up in the air for an under-body inspection.
    • Scales These ensure that the vehicle is in the right class, and should not be changed from one class to another.
    • Towels Needed for inspectors to clean off hands, and various areas of vehicles as they go along.
    • Checklists Inspectors must have these to check off each thing as passed or failed.
    • Tags Different places have varying charges for tags or plates that will have to be affixed to your vehicle.
  • Things to Take
    • Proof of insurance Proof that a recurring policy has actually been paid is useful as well.
    • Receipts Show receipts for miscellaneous items, such as mats, that inspectors will ask for.
    • Identification Driver’s license and registration to vehicle to prove who you are.
    • Payment Be sure to remember the proper form of payment required, vehicle inspections are not free.
    • Patience Vehicle inspections take time, so be patient.
  • Safety Issues to Consider
    • Tires Perhaps it is time to consider replacing them, if the tread is less than fifty percent because tire blowouts are no fun.
    • Headlights They do burn out, sometimes causing crashes, so replacing them on your own is a good idea.
    • Seat belts These do sometimes wear thin, or actually break, so replace them if needed.
    • Oil Top off before going in, but be sure to mop up any spills that could cause smoking.
    • Brakes If these start to squeak at all, it’s time for a trip to the shop so that your fellow drivers don’t get hit because you can’t stop.
    • Transmission Keeping this maintained, and filled with fluid is a serious safety issue so it doesn’t stop the engine from running, and cause a crash.
    • Fenders These need to be properly attached, and not hanging towards the ground.
    • Muffler Contrary to popular belief, driving around with a hole in the muffler is not safe, and will not pass an inspection.
    • Air Conditioning Because the human body overheats easily, and sometimes windows just don’t work, it is imperative that the air conditioning works properly.
    • Windows It is a must that windows work safely just in case something happens, and passengers can’t get out the doors.

Driving a car is a privilege, but also a huge safety issue.  Having a vehicle inspection done is a great idea, especially if you’re just looking at buying one.  There are some states that require vehicle inspections on a regular basis, and doing so has helped keep the roads safer. Learning to be safe in any vehicle means knowing what to look for in any vehicle inspection.  Whether those things are mechanical, cosmetic or simple everyday things, this knowledge is powerful to have.  Knowing how to check the fluids in your vehicle on a regular basis will help your vehicle not suffer further damage.  Simple skills like that will make the vehicle inspections much easier.


When it is time to take your vehicle in for an inspection, take it to a reputable place.  Typically, dealers will do the inspections as required by each state.  However, some states do have required departments for vehicle owners to take them to.  Ensure that your vehicle has been kept as well-maintained as possible prior to the vehicle inspection. Checking compliance issues regarding seat belts is always on a vehicle inspection, as a seat belt is number one in safety.

Brakes are going to be another major issue to be checked over; are the pads on the brakes too thin?  How well does the brake pedal itself work?  Do the brake lights and headlights work properly so that other drivers can see you well enough when needed? Once you have found a vehicle inspection place that will do the inspection, watch them do it, and learn from it.  The vehicle inspection is meant to be a useful tool for anyone.  States are simply interested in keeping the roads, the vehicles and the drivers on them safe.  Utilize the problems on the vehicle inspection report as a learning experience, and be safe!

Vehicle Inspection Checklist
  Taylor Peterson

on January 2, 2012

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