What Do They Check for Car Inspection in Texas

What do they check for car inspection in Texas

There are various reasons you may need to get your car inspected in Texas. The state requires annual vehicle inspections from all residents, new residents are required to have their vehicles inspected within 30 days, and out-of-state vehicles need a local safety inspection as well. Even if your car has multi-year registration, state laws still require your vehicle to pass these yearly inspections.

However, being aware of what they’re looking at can help you stay prepared for the inspections. So whether you’re planning on moving to Texas or it is that time of the year, let’s take a look at the requirements Texas Safety Inspection and Emissions Test and what do they check for car inspections in Texas.

What Do They Check for Car Inspection in Texas

The State of Texas requires all vehicles to pass official state safety emissions inspections in order to drive legally within the boundaries of the state. This ensures that the car is safe to drive and wouldn’t pose any threats to the driver as well as the other cars on the road.

The basic purpose of these tests is to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Additionally, these tests can also spot minor issues that may not be noticed by the average person. This allows the owner of the car to fix the issue before it becomes worse. It can also save the car owner from potentially expensive repair bills in the future.

Things You’ll Need For the Inspection

Of course, you will have to take your car with you to get it inspected. However, there are certain documents that you will need during the inspection process. If you don’t possess authentic documents, the technicians aren’t legally allowed to perform the inspection.

Following are the documents you will need.

· Driver’s License/Photo ID

You need a driver’s license in order to drive a car. Hence, it is necessary that you take it with you for the inspection. However, if you don’t currently have a driver’s license or are in the process of renewing it, you may take any sort of photo ID with you.

It is crucial that the driver’s license or the photo ID that you take must be valid on the current date. If you take expired documents with you, the technician will not be able to entertain you.

· Proof of Insurance

You’ll also need proof of insurance while having your car inspected. You do not need Texas State insurance for this purpose. As long as the insurance is valid and has full coverage, it can be from any state.

However, if you only have liability insurance, it will need to be through a Texas State provider.

· Payment

You will have to pay the inspection fee irrespective of whether your car passes or fails the inspection. However, in case your car fails the inspection, you will have a 30-day window during which you can fix the issues and bring it back. If you fail to present your car again during this period or the car fails the inspection again, you will have to make another payment for the inspection.

The amount you will be required to pay can vary due to various factors. The age of your vehicle, how many miles it has, the type of vehicle you own, the emission requirement of the vehicle, and even the county you’re in all play a role. Additionally, different places have different policies about the mode of payment they accept. So you may want to look into it in advance.

What is the Inspector Looking At?

Now that you have all the paperwork out of the way let’s look at what is being inspected. Following is a list of things the inspector will examine during the inspection.

  • Horn
  • Steering
  • Seat belts
  • Rear-view mirrors
  • Side-view mirrors
  • Brakes system
  • Tires
  • Exhaust system
  • Exhaust emission system(in the case of gasoline cars)
  • Stop lamps
  • Tail lamps
  • Headlights
  • Beam indicator
  • Wheel assembly
  • Gas caps
  • Windshield wipers
  • Turn signals
  • License plate lamp
  • Rear red light reflectors
  • Window tint
  • Motor/Vehicle/Serial identification number

The entire process should take around 15 to 30 minutes.

Commons Reasons a Vehicle Fails the Inspection

It is recommended that you do your own pre-inspection before taking your car to the professionals to ensure that everything goes smoothly. However, there are certain things that most people overlook during their pre-inspection and end up failing the inspection.

Here are some easily overlooked things you must pay attention to.

  • Damaged windshield wipers
  • Worn-out tires
  • Damages or burned-out lights
  • Issues with service engine lights
  • Issue with the parking brakes

Most people end up looking at the more obvious issues with the car. And while it is necessary to fix the bigger issues before taking your car for inspection, it is equally important to focus on the smaller issues if you want your car to pass the test.

So make sure that you do a thorough analysis of the car and fix any issues that you may notice. Or else you may have to take a second trip to pass the inspection.


Overall, you don’t need to worry too much about the inspection. If your car has been running smoothly and you haven’t encountered any issues lately, chances are that your vehicle will easily pass the test. However, make sure to follow all the rules and regulations set by the State of Texas and don’t get late for the inspection.

For instance, if you’re a new resident and don’t get your car inspected within the 30-day time period, you may be liable to pay a penalty. So stay up to date with the dates to ensure you don’t have any issues in the future.