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In Texas and other US states, car inspections will be required at one point or another. Unless you take your vehicle for diagnostics regularly, you might be unsure whether it will pass the inspection or not.

Whether your car needs windshield recalibration or something else, knowing what needs to be done is crucial. Some of the likely reasons your car can fail an inspection include:

  • Your check engine light is on
  • Pollutants have built up because your oil is dirty
  • Your battery has been disconnected
  • You have broken reflectors, headlights, turn signals, or tail lights
  • Your windows have tints that do not meet state requirements
  • Your ignition timing is wrong
  • Your speedometer is not working
  • Your vehicle has broken glass or mirrors
  • Your internal onboard diagnostic computer monitor is not ready
  • Your speedometer is not working
  • You have faulty windshield wipers
  • The bumper is damaged or torn off
  • Your vehicle is leaking some type of fuel

Texas conducts both safety and emission inspections. The annual safety inspection will check everything—from the windshield wipers to the seatbelts. Also, you need to ensure your tires, brakes, lights, and all your turn signals are in working order. Otherwise, your car will fail the inspection.

It is also essential to ensure the license plate amp is functional and the exhaust system runs accordingly. Window tints that don’t adhere to state standards may also cause the vehicle to fail the safety inspection.

In most cases, you need to remove the offending tint before your car can pass the inspection. Inflating (or replacing) the tires and bulbs and installing new windshield wipers are common fixes needed to meet safety inspection requirements.

How Often Do You Need to Have Your Car Inspected In Texas?

If you want to keep your vehicle’s registration lawful and valid, Texas requires that you have it inspected annually—no exceptions. However, what happens if you are just in-state for college or if you have a multi-year registration?

  • New residents: You will be given 30 days from the date you moved to Texas. You will be susceptible to ticketing after 30 days.
  • Multi-year registration: Having a multi-year registration won’t make much of a difference. Texas mandates the same annual inspection rules.
  • Out-of-state vehicles (college students): You will be required to get a safety inspection in Texas while keeping the out-of-state registration.

What Will Be Checked During a Car Inspection in Texas?

Anything and everything related to your vehicle’s safety will be looked into. The list can include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Headlights, indicator, hazard, and stop lights
  • Braking system (parking and foot brakes)
  • Wheel components (including the tire tread depth)
  • Coating and window tint
  • All mirrors (rear and side view)
  • Horn
  • Airbag system and seatbelts
  • Steering components and systems
  • Exhaust system
  • Gas caps (for vehicles that are 2 to 24 years old)

Everything has to be in proper working order. If one thing fails, the entire vehicle can fail and won’t pass until the needed repairs are carried out.

How Routine Maintenance Can Prevent You from Failing a Test

Even if the state doesn’t require emissions and safety testing, routine maintenance can ensure your vehicle remains in good condition. Other peerless benefits of preventative maintenance include engine protection, better gas mileage, and extended tire life.

Preventative maintenance is also an effective way to ensure that your vehicle can pass the annual inspections. The following are some of the preventative measures you should look into:

  • Oil filter and oil change
  • Replacement or checking of fuel filter
  • Balancing and tire rotation
  • Tire inspection
  • Tire rotation and balancing
  • Flush or brake fluid check
  • Brake pad replacement or inspection
  • Air filter replacement or inspection
  • Check and flush power steering fluid

Final Thought

All the emissions and safety inspections should be carried out at a DPS-certified inspection station. If you are afraid your vehicle won’t pass the inspection, check with a seasoned and trained mechanic to help get your vehicle back in good shape.