How Long Does A Car Inspection Take?

Have you ever wondered, ‘how long does a car inspection take’? Well, the answer varies based on many factors. Let’s explore some of the nuances of this subject.
How long does a car inspection take
How Long Does A Car Inspection Take?
How long does a car inspection take? What are the types of car inspections? How much does an inspection cost? This blog has all the answers you need.
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The duration of a car inspection can vary based on factors such as the type of inspection required, the efficiency of the inspection facility, and the specific criteria mandated by state regulations. So, how long does a car inspection take? Knowing the approximate time can help car owners plan accordingly and ensure a smooth inspection process. 

How Long Does the Inspection Take?

The duration of a car inspection varies based on the type of inspection required and the efficiency of the inspection process. Generally, a state inspection can take 30 minutes to a few hours. The process depends on factors such as the complexity of the inspection and the availability of inspection facilities.

What Is a State Inspection for a Car?

A state inspection for a car is a mandatory examination conducted by state authorities to ensure all vehicles on the road comply with safety and emissions standards. The goal is to promote road safety, reduce environmental impact, and identify vehicles that may pose risks to public health.

Common Types of State Car Inspection

Here are some of the common types of state car inspection:

VIN Inspections

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspection verifies the unique identifier assigned to a vehicle. It ensures that the VIN on the vehicle matches the one on the official documents, preventing fraud and theft.

Safety Inspection

A safety inspection assesses the overall safety of a vehicle. It includes checks on components such as brakes, lights, tires, steering, and other essential systems to ensure they meet the state’s safety standards.

Emission Inspection

An emission inspection evaluates a vehicle’s emissions to ensure it complies with environmental standards. This inspection typically involves assessing the exhaust system and emissions control components to reduce harmful pollutants released into the air.

Where Can I Have My Car Inspected?

You can have your car inspected at various locations, including:

  1. Official Inspection Stations: These are state-authorized facilities designated to perform inspections. They may include auto repair shops, service centers, or specific inspection stations.
  2. Auto Repair Shops: Many auto repair shops are authorized to conduct state inspections. Check with your local shops to see if they offer inspection services.
  3. Dealerships: Car dealerships often provide inspection services, especially for new or used vehicles that they sell.
  4. State Inspection Facilities: Some states have their own inspection facilities where you can get your car inspected.
  5. Online Platforms: In some regions, online platforms or mobile inspection services offer the convenience of inspections at your location.

How Much Does a State Car Inspection Cost?

The cost of a state car inspection varies by location, type of inspection, and the specific services included. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $50 for a basic inspection. However, take a few financial tips because additional services or repairs may be needed to pass the inspection. So the overall cost may be higher.

What’s Usually Included In a Safety Inspection?

A safety inspection typically thoroughly examines various components to ensure they meet safety standards. The components checked may include:


Inspection of tire condition, tread depth, and pressure.


Evaluation of brake system components, including pads, discs, and brake fluid.


Checking the functionality of headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and other lighting systems.

Steering and Alignment

Ensuring proper steering function and wheel alignment.

Suspension Components

Inspection of shocks, struts, and other suspension elements.

Other Components

Additional checks may include windshield wipers, mirrors, seatbelts, and other safety-related features.

What to Bring During a State Car Inspection

When going for a state car inspection, it’s advisable to bring the following:

  1. Vehicle Documents: Bring your vehicle registration, insurance card, and any previous inspection records, if available.
  2. Driver’s License: Your valid driver’s license is usually required to verify ownership and authorization for the inspection.
  3. Payment: Be prepared to pay the inspection fee, which can vary depending on the type of inspection and your location.
  4. Vehicle Keys: Ensure you have keys to access all parts of your vehicle, including the trunk and hood, as they might need to be inspected.
  5. Any Special Equipment: If your vehicle has modifications or specific equipment, bring documentation or information regarding those modifications.

You can use Beem to find the best insurance quotes to help you make the right choice. Auto insurance with Beem covers damage to your vehicle, other vehicles or property, and injuries to yourself or others. 

What Happens If You Fail the Inspection

If your car fails the inspection, the inspector will provide you with a list of issues that must be addressed before the vehicle can pass. The issues could be related to safety or emissions. You’ll typically have a specified period to repair the identified problems and have the vehicle re-inspected.

Can Your Car Be Exempted from a State Car Inspection?

In some cases, certain vehicles may be exempt from state inspections. Exemptions often vary by state and can include:

  1. New Vehicles: Some states exempt new vehicles for a certain period, usually the first few years after the purchase.
  2. Classic or Antique Cars: Vehicles of a certain age (often classified as classic or antique) may be exempt, but this varies by state and may have specific criteria.
  3. Electric or Hybrid Vehicles: Some states offer exemptions or reduced inspection requirements for certain eco-friendly vehicles.
  4. Limited-Use Vehicles: Vehicles used for specific purposes, like farm or off-road-only vehicles, may have exemption options.


So, how long does a car inspection take? In conclusion, the time it takes for a car inspection ranges from 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the nature of the inspection. Being prepared with necessary documents and addressing potential issues beforehand can contribute to a more efficient inspection experience for vehicle owners.

Remember, you can improve your chances of growing your money and much more once you start budgeting expenses with Beem’s Better Financial Feed.

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Aniket Kulkarni

A seasoned Product Manager specializing in car insurance content, Aniket has a passion for simplifying complex insurance concepts. His strategic approach to content development reflects years of experience in the product development industry, coupled with a commitment to providing accurate, reliable information.


This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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