Tips for Passing New York State Inspection

At my shop I tell customers they fail inspection on a regular basis. Usually these aren’t regular customers – but people coming in just for inspection. Most of them have no idea what could cause your car to fail inspection. I wrote this blog post to try to help educate you as the owner of the car so you can be sure your inspection process is as seamless as possible.

New York State Inspection is made up of two sections, safety and emissions. In this post I will discuss things to remember to check and interesting things to know prior to getting your car inspected.

This inspection is pass or fail. You have to pay even if you fail. Keeping the following things in mind will help you be sure that you won’t fail.

Safety: In the state of New York most things that can make you a danger to other people on the road can cause you to fail your inspection. Some of these things you would already know for example brakes being bad or a ball joint falling out of the car.

Here are a few of the less common ones:

– Wiper blades need to be operational and not torn or missing.

– Rear-view mirror must not be missing or broken.

– Headlights and tail lights may not be cracked even if they are in working order. This also means they can’t be repaired with tape.

– Tints: on sedans all windows must have a light transparency of 70% or more.

– Tints: on SUVs driver’s and passenger’s front windows need to have a light transparency of 70% or more.

– Windshield may not be cracked

– Tires need to have a tread of more than 2/30

– Horn needs to work

– Seatbelts must all work

Emissions: First things first, if your check engine light is on – that needs to be addressed before any inspection can be done.

Here are a few way you can fail emissions without the check engine light being on:

– You just changed you battery

– You had your check engine light reset recently

– You just did a check engine light repair.

– If your car died recently

– Your car sits a lot because you don’t drive every day

Your car has eight self-diagnostic monitors that are checked during the emissions portion of NYS inspection. The general reason why a car will fail inspection for the above reason is that the monitors are not ready to be inspected as they have not gone thru the diagnostic process.  Changing your battery clears all the monitors, same with the car dying. When you get repairs done on a check engine light the mechanic manually clears your monitors to remove trouble codes.

When in doubt, drive 150 miles before coming in for your inspection.150 miles is usually enough to make sure all your monitors are ready to be inspected.

Be wary of any mechanics that say you don’t have to worry about fixing your check engine light and instead clears it. For the reasons given above this does not trick the inspection machine into allowing you to pass. This just makes your process longer.

Remember: You can always ask your regular mechanic to do a pre-inspection check of your car to make sure everything passes. If you are a good customer they should have no problem doing that for you as a courtesy.

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