The dreaded time has come to bring you car or truck in for the state inspection. As stressful as it may be, here are four tips to ease your worries.
Start with the visual inspection. Check your tires. Do they have good tread left on them? Are they wearing evenly? Take a penny and stick it in the tread on the inside, middle, and outside of the tire. If you can see Lincoln’s head then your tread is likely to not pass. Make sure to check multiple spots on each tire. The inspector will check multiple spots and record the lowest measurement. If your tread is too low you’ll need new tires.
Next, you will want to check the lights on your dash. You may not know what they all mean but there are lights you do not want to be on or flashing. Only a few lights you want to be on… the parking brake light, the turn signal indicators, and the high beam light. Turn on the car and turn on your turn signals. If you see the green indicator on the dash light up, they are working. Flash your bright lights. Do you see a blue light appear on the dash? If you do then your high beam indicator is working. Apply the parking brake. A red light should pop up on the gauge cluster. Making sure all these work will help you pass an inspection. Lights you do not want on are the check engine light, the airbag light, and the anti-lock braking systems light. You will fail most inspections if they are illuminated.
Next, check your exterior lights. Have a friend apply the brakes while the car is on. Make sure you see all three lights illuminated at the rear of the car. Have your friend switch on the headlights. You should see the rear lights turn on. Next, tell your friend to apply the brake and go into reverse gear. Two bright white lights should appear. These are your reverse indicators. Switch on the turn signals now. Both sides should flash. Here is a trick. Is one flashing faster than the other? That means that bulb is about to go out. Bulbs are easy to replace depending on the vehicle. If you do not feel comfortable replacing a bulb, you can take your car to your local dealership and they will replace it for you for just the price of the bulb most of the time. Check the front. Make sure your signals work at the front of the vehicle. Do your headlights work? What about the high beams? Most people usually forget about the hazards too. Hit the red triangle button and all 4 turn signals should flash at the same rate.
Finally, open the engine compartment up. Visually inspect the engine bay. Do you see any fluids leaking anywhere? Are your drive belts cracked or frayed? These are things that could potentially fail your inspection. If you see anything out of the ordinary, it is best you take it to your mechanic before going in for your state inspection.
These inspections are for your own safety. Driving an unsafe car is incredibly dangerous to you and everyone on the road. If you take care of your car, it will take care of you.