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Car Inspections: 5 Details to Check Regularly

Defect of items on your car can spell significant safety hazards for you, those in your car, and other motorists. Not having a safe vehicle can result in traffic tickets and expose you to lawsuits if someone is injured because you drove an unsafe car.

Depending upon where you live, a vehicle safety inspection maybe required periodically. Here are five things which a vehicle inspection often covers. You can checks these at various times before the appointed time that the law requires the inspection.


Proper headlights make sure, not only that you can see, but that you’re not blinding other drivers. Therefore, an inspection will require examination of both the high-beam and low-beam lights. Non-working bulbs and cracked lamps will result in a failed inspection.

The inspector will also check your brake lights and turn signal lights. These warn other drivers of vehicle movements and whether you’re about to stop. In some states, trailers attached to your vehicles must also have brake lights and turn signal lights.


Your brakes must be able to cause your car to stop within so many feet based upon a particular speed. If they are found wanting, it is because they pose a danger to you and those on the road around you. A professional inspector will have equipment to determine if the brakes pass muster, you probably do not.

It’s safe to say that your brakes need repair should you hear the scraping of metal or the brakes nearly go to the floor and you don’t stop. Be aware of how your car normally handles. If you notice any change, take your car in for professional repairs as soon as possible.


Tires in poor shape often contribute significantly to motor vehicle crashes. Your tires must have a sufficient amount of tread, such as 1/32 of an inch in normal conditions. The measurement must register at least 2/32 inch for rain and 3/32 inch for snow.

Check your tires periodically for worn treads. If you feel they’re a little low, consult a tire service for expert advice. Most tires last between 25,000 and 50,000 miles before needing to be replaced. However, this number could be lower depending on how you and your car drive.


If you live in densely populated areas or have a vehicle with a certain number of miles or age, you have to pass an emissions test. This ensures you are not releasing too much exhaust into the atmosphere and contributing to smog or other environmental problems. The inspector will run a machine to determine the emissions of your vehicle.

A failed test may signal a faulty catalytic converter or oxygen sensor requiring repair by a mechanic. Dirty air filters or leaking gas caps require of you only simple fixes and installations. You can readily find filters and caps at an auto parts store or the automotive section of major general merchandise retail stores.


Inspections also include the windshield wipers. Smudges and streaks left by defective wipers obstruct your vision during rain. You can notice the wearing of the wiper blades if you keep seeing eyes or dirt remaining after you use the blades. Splits or cracks in the blade also indicate a problem.

For most windshield wiper issues, you need simply buy a blade and place it on the wiper. Problems with the wiper motor are more serious and usually require a mechanic to fix.

Even if you’re not legally due a vehicle inspection, consider having one periodically. It will ensure that you, your passengers and fellow motorists remain safe as you operate a vehicle.

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Tags: brakes, emissions, lights, tires, wipers


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