Texas State Vehicle Inspection: Ultimate Guide

Every state has different requirements that vehicle owners must meet in order to register their vehicle in that state. In the State of Texas, all vehicles must pass a state safety and emissions inspections annually. 

The purpose of state-mandated inspections is to ensure each vehicle on the road is in good condition and keeps everyone safe on the road. In some cases, drivers may be unaware of any mechanical troubles that a state inspection would bring to a driver’s attention to fix before they lead to costly repairs, a broken-down vehicle, or a traffic ticket.

Prepare For Your Texas State Inspection

In order for the technician to begin the inspection, you’ll need to provide some important documents including:

  1. Proof of insurance – For vehicles with full coverage, any state insurance is accepted. Vehicles with liability only are required to have coverage from a provider in Texas.
  2. Driver’s License/Photo ID – All licenses must be valid and current.
  3. State Inspection Fee – The cost of your vehicle inspection will vary based on the type and age of the vehicle, emissions requirements, and the county of your residence. State Inspection stations, such as Sun Auto Service, are privatized and certified through the state. Though the cost of the inspection is set by the state, each form of payment accepted varies by location. If you’re unsure which payment your facility accepts, contact them first. It’s important to note that the fee is required whether the vehicle passes or fails the inspection. Vehicles that fail the inspection have up to 30 day to pass without incurring another inspection fee.

For your convenience, in addition to the quality automotive repair and maintenance services we offer, we have four locations throughout the Austin area that are able to perform your state inspection. Visit any location today for any of your vehicle’s automotive needs. Texas Vehicle Inspection

How Long Does a Car Inspection Take?

Each state’s inspection process may vary. Some vehicle safety inspections and emission tests can take up to 2 hours, however, in most cases, inspections can be completed in as little as 30 minutes for vehicles that are well taken care of. 

A car safety inspection will cover areas such as:

  • Emissions testing – Vehicles emit harmful gases that contribute to poor air quality. Vehicle equipped with emissions systems are intended to reduce gases into the atmosphere. An emissions test ensures this system is operating properly. If your vehicle is running poorly or the Check Engine Light is on, you’ll need to address the error prior to your test, or you risk an automatic failure.
  • Mechanical Inspection – A technician will confirm that the engine, transmission, cooling system, electrical system, and drivetrain are all operating properly. If you are aware of any difficulties with your vehicle, it’s best to have them addressed prior to your inspection.
  • Interior Condition – The technician will inspect the condition of all seats, the dashboard, steering wheel, gear shift, brake and accelerator pedals, emergency brake, seat belts, and interior switches. 
  • Undercarriage – Tires, wheels, suspension, braking system, and driveline components will be inspected and tested. Tires that are in poor condition should be replaced prior to inspection to avoid failure. 
  • Body Condition – The technician will measure the thickness of paint as well as check for any indications of rust or corrosion on the chassis or body. The technician will also check areas that may have been involved in a collision and repairs completed as a result.
  • Road Test – A test drive is often performed to ensure the vehicle is driving properly and that all components are operating optimally with no trouble.

Texas Inspections

Most vehicle inspections in Texas include a test of the items listed below:

  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Window Tint
  • Mirrors
  • Steering
  • Seat Belts
  • Braking System
  • Gas Caps (for cars aged 2 – 24 years old)
  • Vehicle Identification Number
  • Tires
  • Exhaust system/Emissions system
  • Wheel assembly
  • High beam indicator
  • Headlights, taillights, and brake lights
  • Turn signals
  • License plate light
  • ReflectorsHow Long does it take for a vehicle inspection?

How to Avoid Failing Your Texas State Inspection

Because there are so many systems and components that are inspected, there are several reasons why a vehicle may not pass the Texas State Vehicle Inspection. 

Many vehicles, over time can begin to show their wear and tear, and increase the likelihood of repairs with each passing mile.

Vehicles that are well-maintained or driven less frequently than other vehicles are more likely to pass versus vehicles that are driven frequently or that are seldom maintained. If you’re preparing to have your vehicle inspected, take a look at the items below and check them for yourself and address anything that looks out of sorts prior to your inspection:

  • Worn tires – You should be checking the condition of your tires often anyway for your safety. Worn or underinflated tires cause blowouts and affect fuel efficiency.
  • Cracked or Dry Windshield Wipers – Windshield wipers should be replaced every six months. If you don’t recall the last time you replaced them, it’s time.
  • Parking Brake Issues – Though you should be using your parking brake every time you park (your transmission will thank you), not everyone does. If you use your parking brake infrequently, this may be something that gets overlooked.
  • Lights Out – Burned out headlights, taillights, reverse lights, license plate lights, and even turn signals should be operational. Often when it comes to head or taillights, a driver may not even know it’s burned out and can be easily overlooked. 
  • OBD Lights On – Check Engine light or any other light that is illuminated on the dashboard is communication to the driver that something needs attention. Address the issue prior to your inspection. 

While some of these issues may seem minor, they can cause real problems for you or other drivers on the road, which could lead to an accident. Protect your safety and the safety of others by visiting a Sun Auto Service prior to your next Texas State Safety Inspection.