Vehicle inspection

Vehicle inspection

Vehicle inspection is a procedure mandated by national or subnational governments in many countries, in which a vehicle is inspected to ensure that it conforms to regulations governing safety, emissions, or both. Inspection can be required at various times, e.g., periodically or on transfer of title to a vehicle. If required periodically, it is often termed periodic motor vehicle inspection; typical intervals are every two years and every year.

In some jurisdictions, proof of inspection is required before a vehicle licence or license plate can be issued or renewed. In others, once a vehicle passes inspection, a decal is attached to the windshield, and police can enforce the inspection law by seeing whether the vehicle displays an up-to-date decal. In the case of a vehicle lacking a windshield (e.g., a trailer or motorcycle), the decal is typically attached to the vehicle body.

With regard to safety inspection, there is some controversy over whether it is a cost-effective way to improve road-traffic safety. [ [ "Cost-Effectiveness of Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection"] University of Michigan (U.S.A.) Transportation Research Institute, January 1985 (PDF file)] [ [ "Cost Effectiveness of Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection"] , report for the (Australian) Federal Office of Road Safety, April 1999 (PDF file)] The book "Street Smart" recommends giving insurers the responsibility for testing and licensing cars and drivers in the United States in order to provide a financial incentive in the interest of safety. [ [ STREET SMART | National Center for Policy Analysis ] ]


Each Australian State has the authority to set its own laws pertaining to vehicle inspections. Most jurisdictions have some form of safety and/or emissions inspection, although Western Australia does not.Fact|date=July 2008

New South Wales

Vehicles over five years old are required to obtain an e-Safety Check prior to registration renewal [ [ e-Safety Check ] ]


Queensland Transport requires any vehicle to have a safety inspection (and the resulting Safety Certificate prominently displayed) before it can be offered for sale or have its interstate registration transferred [ [ Safety certificates ] ] . The inspection checks the general condition of the vehicle itself (suspension, body condition, etc...) and certain items of basic safety equipment such as the tyres, brakes, lights, windshield, etc... The certificate is valid for 1,000km or 3 months (whichever is sooner) if the vehicle is being offered for sale by a dealer, and for 2,000km or 2 months if being sold by an individual. There are some exceptions, vehicles being sold in rural parts of the state are exempt if driving to the nearest inspection station would present a hardship, and vehicles that are only being sold for parts likewise do not requirer a safety inspection. Sellers who are required to have a safety certificate but either do not obtain one or fail to display it properly while the vehicle is advertised for sale are subject to a $375 on the spot fine.

There are no periodic safety inspections in Queensland once a vehicle is registered, however, mobile road teams conduct random emissions inspections through a program called OVERT [ [ Vehicle emissions testing ] ] , and drivers may be summoned if their vehicles are not within legal guidelines or emits visible smoke.


Similar to Queensland, VicRoads requires that a vehicle being sold, registered from interstate have a current Certificate of Roadworthiness from a licensed vehicle inspector. Additionally, vehicles that are cited by the police for safety defects must also obtain a certificate.



Emission testing programs in Canada include AirCare in British Columbia and Ontario's Drive Clean in Ontario.

Safety testing regulations vary through the different provinces. In Manitoba for example, upon buying a car (new or used), a valid safety check must be done before it can be registered. Dealerships are required to provide the buyer with a new safety, while private sellers are not (if a private seller so chooses, they may pay for, and issue a new safety in order to make it more appealing to buy). In either case, if the vehicle bought has not had a safety test within the last year, the buyer must safety the vehicle before it can be registered with autopac. From the point the car is registered, no safety test is required as long as the car remains with the current owner (however, if something goes wrong, automechanics and dealerships have the right to refuse to let the client drive out with an unsafe car).

The provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island require annual safety inspections. Ontario and British Columbia require biennial emission testing.

United States

In the United States, each state government is free to decide whether to require vehicle safety inspection, as well as the specifics of the inspection program. Not all states require it, most do not; some states that used to require it have discontinued it.

Under the Clean Air Act (1990), states are required to implement vehicle emission inspection programs in metropolitan areas whose air quality does not meet federal standards. The specifics of those programs vary from state to state. Some states, including Kentucky and Minnesota, have discontinued their testing programs in recent years with approval from the federal government.

tates and Federal Districts with periodic (e.g., annual) vehicle safety inspections

* Delaware (every year)
* District of Columbia (every two years [ [ District of Columbia: Department of Motor Vehicles - Services - Inspections ] ] )
* Hawaii (every year, except brand new vehicles receive an inspection valid for two years, ambulances, rental cars, vehicles used in public transportation, and other, every six months)
* Louisiana (every year; emission test in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area)
* Maine (every year; emission test in Cumberland County [ [ State Police: Vehicle Inspections & Crashes: Motor Vehicle Investigations ] ] )
* Massachusetts (safety and emissions annually, cars manufactured prior to model year 1996 are not subject to emissions testing. [] )
* Minnesota (Motorcycles; Random, annual)
* Mississippi [ [ Frequently Asked Questions ] ] (safety inspection every year)
* Missouri [] (every two years [ [ 11c50-2:11c50-2.qxd.qxd ] ] ; emissions testing in the St. Louis area)
* New Hampshire (every year, emissions testing for vehicles equipped with OBD-II (model year 1996 and newer) [ [ Saf-C 3200 ] ] )
* New Jersey (safety and emissions testing every two years, brand new cars are exempt for the first four years provided the car remains with the same owner. Older cars registered as antiques do not require emissions testing.)
* New York (safety and emissions test every year, method of emissions testing varies by county of registration: tail pipe emissions testing in New York City as well as the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland, OBD-II emissions testing in upstate counties)
* North Carolina (every year; emissions inspections in 48 of 100 counties (1996-newer, except new cars), exempting diesels and cars 35 years or older [ from North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles] )
* Pennsylvania [ [ PENNDOT Driver and Vehicle Services - Vehicle Safety Inspections ] ] (every year for most vehicles; every six months for tractor-trailers, school vehicles (including school buses and school vans), motor coaches, mass transit, ambulances, firetrucks, etc.; emissions inspections every year in 25 of 67 counties (no emission inspection for diesel vehicles) [( [ PA DEP I/M - Drive Clean Pennsylvania Program Maps ] ] )
* Rhode Island (safety and emission inspection every two years)
* Texas (every year; emission test in the largest urban areas - Houston Metro, Dallas Metroplex, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso)
* Utah (every two years for the first eight years, then every year)
* Vermont (every year)
* Virginia [ [ Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles ] ] (every year; [ [ Virginia Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Program] , from the Virginia State Police] emission inspection every two years in urban and suburban jurisdictions in Northern Virginia [ [ Emissions Inspections] , Virginia (U.S.A.) Department of Motor Vehicles] )
* West Virginia [ [ DMV Vehicle License Information ] ] (every year - safety)

tates with safety inspection only required prior to sale or transfer

* Maryland [ [ Vehicle Safety Inspection ] ] (emission inspection required biennially [ [ VEIP Program Description ] ] )

tates which only require federally mandated emissions inspections

* Alaska (Municipality of Anchorage and Fairbanks North Star Borough) every two years, depending on age and type of vehicle
* Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson metro areas only) annually, depending on age and type of vehicle [ [ Arizona Vehicle Emissions Program] ] )
* California (for most ZIP Codes, every two years for all vehicles made after 1975 which are more than six years old)
* Colorado (in some localities, every year or two, depending on age and type of vehicle [ [ Colorado Motor Vehicle Emissions Program] ] )
* Georgia (metropolitan Atlanta area only [ [ Georgia Clean Air Force ] ] , every year, most recent three model year cars are exempt)
* Illinois (Chicagoland and eastern suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri)
* Indiana (Lake and Porter counties only, every two years)
* New Mexico (Albuquerque metro area) [ [ Emission Testing - Vehicle Pollution Management - City of Albuquerque ] ]
* Nevada (Clark County and Washoe County areas)
* Ohio (seven counties)
* Oregon (Portland and Medford metro areas only) [ [ Oregon DMV Emissions Testing & DEQ Requirements] ]
* Washington (urban areas of Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties)
* Wisconsin (seven counties in Southeastern Wisconsin, every two years)

European Union

The Council directive 96/96/EC of 20 December 1996 mandates all member states to carry out periodic safety and emission inspections for most types of motor vehicles. It also sets minimum reguirements for those inspections and their intervals.


In Austria, all vehicles must undergo a "Wiederkehrende Begutachtung nach § 57a KFG" (recurring inspection following section 57a of the motor vehicle statute). A decal is placed on the vehicle's windscreen (usually the upper left-hand corner as seen from outside the vehicle), hence the inspection itself is colloquially referred to as "Pickerl" (literally: sticker). The color of the decal is white for vehicles with a catalytic converter, and green for vehicles without one. Punch holes indicate the month and year that the next inspection is due. However, the inspection can be carried out one month in advance of that date and up to four months after the one indicated on the decal. (The vehicle remains roadworthy during that time). Unless the inspection is overdue in the sense described above, the roadworthiness certificate is transferable, meaning a potential new owner will get a new decal with the same date, but the corrected license plate number upon registration of her vehicle. However, not merely the old decal, but also the latest official inspection report will have to be presented for this purpose.

The first inspection on new passenger cars is required after three years, another one two years on, while thereafter passenger cars must pass the official inspection each and every year to remain roadworthy. Heavy trucks and motorcycles must undergo annual inspections from the very first year. Inspections are carried out by specially licensed garages and by Austria's two major automotive clubs. The Austrian motor vehicle inspection covers both aspects of vehicle safety and emissions standards.


Finland has a long tradition of vehicle inspection, dating back to year 1917. Vehicle inspection was initially carried by cities and provincial inspectors but starting from year 1968 the inspection moved to national governing body of road vehicle administration known as Autorekisterikeskus. In 1994 the vehicle inspection was opened for competition and in 1996 Autorekisterikeskus was split as administrative body Ajoneuvohallintokeskus (AKE) and inspection company Suomen Autokatsastus Oy. Nowadays, Ajoneuvohallintokeskus governs the inspection companies and keeps track of inspection quality and the inspections are carried by private companies. [ [ AKE - AKEn historiaa ] ] During the years, the inspection procedures and facilities have improved greatly and nowadays the quality of inspection is on such level that mechanical failures as immediate cause for fatal crashes in whole country are minimal. [ää+voida+merkittävästi+vähentää+vakavia+onnettomuuksia.htm]

In Finland, the "Määräaikaiskatsastus" (periodic inspection) is required for all passenger cars, vans, trucks, ATVs and for trailers with maximum structural weight of more than 750 kilograms. [ [ FINLEX ® - Ajantasainen lainsäädäntö: 19.12.2002/1245 ] ] Inspection interval depends on vehicle class and usage. For privately-used passenger car, inspection must be carried after three and five years counting from the specified date of first deployment and every year after fifth year. For privately-used van, the first inspection must be carried after three years and every year after third year. If there is no specified date of first deployment (for instance 00.00.1987) the time of inspection is determined by the last number of license plate. The inspection period also varies depending on vehicle class and usage but for privately-used passenger cars and vans the length of the period is four months preceding the date specified in date of first deployment or four months preceding the last date of inspection specified by the license plate number.

The periodic inspection includes verification of vehicle register information (VIN, taxes, insurance) test drive, brake testing, inspection of lights and compulsory equipment, superficial inspection for visibility and handling hindrances and bodywork, undercarriage inspection for suspension parts and corrosion and emission measurements (requirements vary depending on propellant and date of first deployment). The emission measurement can be taken on a registered repair shop prior to the inspection. If done so, a proper measurement certificate must be shown at inspection. Upon passed inspection, a new "Part one" of registration certificate is printed and handed to customer among with inspection report. If inspection fails, the faults found during the inspection must be repaired and the vehicle needs to be shown at the same inspection station for "Jälkitarkastus" (recheck) within one month of the inspection.


Germany requires safety inspection and emission inspection every two years for passenger cars. New passenger cars have to obtain their first roadworthiness certificate after three years. Heavy duty vehicles need to be presented to the vehicle inspection authorities (e.g. TÜV, DEKRA, KÜS, GTÜ, ...) every year. The safety inspection decal is placed on the rear license plate; the emission inspection decal is placed on the front license plate (the emission decal on the front plate will be phased out until 2010 and then be part of the safety inspection.


In Ireland, the National Car Test (NCT) is required for cars 4 or more years of age to be inspected for various items, such as brakes, lighting, bodywork condition, emissions, etc. A disc which must be displayed on the windscreen is issued to cars that pass the test. The disc is valid for two years, after which the car must then be re-tested.

The Netherlands

In The Netherlands the "Algemene Periodieke Keuring" (APK) or General Periodical Inspection is mandatory for vehicles aging 3 years or older. The yearly inspection includes conforming to safety and emission standards.

United Kingdom

The Ministry of Transport test (more usually: MOT - pronounced by spelling out the letters) is a mandatory annual test of safety and roadworthiness for vehicles over three years old.


Svensk Bilprovning AB ("bilprovningen") tests the road worthiness of cars once every year for modern cars, every second year for cars classified as veteran/classic cars (currently occurring when the car reaches age 30). When a vehicle pass inspection, road tax and insurance have been paid. The owner receives an adhesive sticker to attach to the rear license plate. Thus making it easy for the police to see if a vehicle is road worthy.



Under the Japanese "shaken" (車検) program, when a vehicle turns 3 years old, it must get an inspection every two years.


Chinese Rural Vehicle (CRV) operators can be subject to fine by authorities (police) if the vehicle emits visible smoke. Regulations are administered by province/economic region/city as appropriate. New vehicles must pass regulations (Euro spec) in effect on the day of manufacture. CRVs are responsible for about half of all vehicle emissions in the PRC. []


See also

* Automobile safety

External links

* [ CITA-Vehicle]
* [ NRMA]

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