Have you ever wondered what mechanics check during a Pennsylvania State Inspection? This is what you should expect when you take your car in for Pennsylvania State Safety Inspection.


Who Is Required To Get Their Car Safety Inspected?

Pennsylvania requires yearly safety inspections on all vehicles registered in the state. The exception is school buses and taxis which need semi-annual inspections.

Do I Need To Bring Anything with Me?

Before the state certified inspector can start to perform an inspection they need two things. They need a valid registration card and valid insurance card for the car. Once the inspector has the cards they can start the inspection process by verifying the VIN number on the car matches the registration card. They will also verify you have current insurance on the vehicle being inspected.

What Do Safety Inspectors Check During A Safety Inspection?

The next step is to perform is a quick walk around the car to verify it looks to be in good working order with nothing falling off. If everything looks good a test drive is in order. During the test drive the inspector will check the Steering, Suspension, Wiper Blades, Windshield Washer function, Windshield Cracks, and to see if it Brakes properly without pulling to the left or right. The Parking Brake will also be checked to see if it holds. Another check is to see if the Turn Signals automatically turn off after making a turn. The inspector will also verify that the Speedometer and Odometer work during the test drive.

After the road test the inspector will bring the car into the shop. Usually the inspector will start by checking all the Lights. All lights originally installed on the car must be working and the lenses can not be broken. The exception to this is Fog Lights. If the Fog Lights are inoperable or broken they can be removed from the vehicle in order to pass Pennsylvania State Safety Inspection. Off road lights such as light bars will need to have covers to pass inspection.

If you live in a non emissions county of Pennsylvania the inspector will perform a visual check of the cars Emissions Equipment. The emissions equipment needs to be in place and should appear to work. This inspection does not verify any of the equipment actually works. A Check Engine Light on on a car in a non emissions county passes inspection.

The inspector will then lift the vehicle either using a jack or automotive lift. When the vehicle is off the ground the inspector will shake all 4 wheels to verify there are no loose Suspension pieces such as a Tie Rod or Ball Joint. Movement in these pieces means there is wear and the component will need to be replaced. While shaking the wheels the inspector will also check the vehicles Tires. The tread depth on the Tire needs to be 2/32 of an inch or greater to pass inspection. After checking the tires and suspension the inspector by law must remove at least one wheel from each axle diagonal from each other. Once the wheels are removed the inspector will check the Brakes on the car. The thickness of the brake pads are checked along with checking for cracks or separations of the brake pads. The minimum specification for brakes to pass is 2/32 of an inch.

After finishing the brake inspection, the inspector will check the Springs, Shocks, Struts, Brake Lines, Fuel Lines, Fuel Tank, and check for holes or excessive rust in structural areas of the car. If there are no issues found the inspector will reassemble the car and affix a Pennsylvania State Safety Inspection Sticker. If you live in an area where Pennsylvania State Emissions Testing is required your vehicle will need to pass an Emissions test before a Safety Sticker can be affixed.

What Happens If My Car Doesn't Pass Inspection?

If your car does not pass safety inspection you have a few choices. You can have the inspector fix the failed part so it passes safety inspection or take it to another mechanic. Another choice is to take the car and fix the failed part yourself. Most inspection stations charge you for inspection weather the vehicle passes of fails. This means if you take it back to the inspection station they may charge you again. At King's if you return within 30 days we do not charge to reinspect your car if it failed safety inspection.