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Local Car Inspection Is the First Step to Staying Safe, Legal, and on the Road

Car inspector inspecting car

Driving a safe vehicle is so important. But how can you know whether you are safe behind the wheel, or if you are in a rolling death trap? Lucky for you, there are several options for a local car inspection that can keep you feeling safe, and in many states, in good graces with the local authorities, meaning it might be time to start searching for auto inspections near me.

While tracking down a vehicle inspection near me is part of an annual ritual for most drivers in the nation, 13 states don’t require a car inspection. However, the rest require some combination of a car inspection, emissions testing or both.

So, chances are good that you are going to be tracking down inspection stations near me at some point in the future. And if you are, it is important to nail down some terminology. 

Why search for a safety inspection near me?

A safety inspection and a car inspection sound like the same thing, but in many states, they are different.

A safety inspection often is a voluntary exercise where you get a mechanic to examine your vehicle to make sure there isn’t a glaring reason that would get you stranded by the road.

Good idea, right? So, where do you go if you want to find a safety inspection near me? I’m glad you asked.

Many national chains, such as Firestone and Jiffy Lube offer complementary safety inspection programs, meaning it is likely just a mouse click away to find an inspection near me.

They sometimes require appointments, but often will be happy to perform an auto inspection near me anytime you pull in, though calling ahead may keep you from a long, awkward wait.

If national chains are less your speed, Repair Pal offers a service to track down a local independent mechanic who typically is more than willing to give your vehicle a quick car inspection to make sure all is well under the hood. Repair Pal even offers reviews to help you decide if they are likely to be a good fit and whether you can trust them with your vehicle, and your wallet. 

Passing a state inspection near me

Now, state vehicle inspections differ from safety inspections. State vehicle inspections are when you prove to the state (or local authority) that your vehicle is roadworthy and, in many places, isn’t spitting out tons of smog.

Where do you go when you are asking how to find state inspections near me? Well, many states, such as Texas and New York have handy online tools to let you search for the state inspection near me. But not all states have such a user-friendly tool, and some are buried deep in the state’s website.

Good thing there are other options for finding car inspections near me. Two trusty go-to’s have built in tools to search for vehicle inspection stations near me. Those are Google Maps and Map Quest. With those tools, just put in your current location and literally search in their location bar for an inspection station near me and you should have a ton of options for where to go to get your inspection sticker.

Vehicle inspections go by different names in different states. For example, in  Louisiana, they go by the name “Brake Tag.” In California, the program is known as “Smog Check,” while in Texas it is known simply as an inspection sticker.

Regardless of what it is called, most every time you go in for a car inspection, you are looking at a similar experience. 

What’s in a typical car inspection

Typically, these are the things they need to move forward and do your car inspection:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Drivers license
  • Vehicle registration
  • Payment

It varies by state, but a typical car inspection includes many of these elements:

  • Brakes
  • Emissions
  • Exhaust system
  • Gas Caps
  • Headlights and High Beams
  • Horn
  • License plate and plate light
  • Mirrors
  • Parking Brakes
  • Seat Belts
  • Steering
  • Tail lights, including stop lamps
  • Tires
  • Turn signals
  • Vehicle Identification Number
  • Wheels
  • Window tint
  • Windshield wipers

Now, the most common reasons people fail their car inspection include windshield wipers that are damaged, any illuminated service engine lights, burned out turn signals or other bulbs, and worn out tires. That makes sense because those are all things that are easily overlooked, but that can have serious safety consequences.

Luckily, in the case of a mechanic that specializes in both safety inspections near me and state inspections near me, they can step in and fix the things that are wrong.  

So, even though a safety inspection and a state inspection are different things, it might make sense to find safety inspections near me before searching for vehicle inspections near me, or in the best of both worlds, find a mechanic you can trust who is also licensed to do both kinds of inspections near me.

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