How Long Does A Car Inspection Take? (The Findings Will Surprise You)

As a car owner, you should be aware that your car should undergo inspection before you can legally own or even drive it. There are certain procedures that you must know and it would require so much of your patience because it could actually take a while depending on your situation.

The hours spent on inspection would also depend on the place or city where you live. In some countries, they have very strict procedures in this kind of endeavor so don't be surprised if it takes longer than the usual.

It would also depend on the car model and how new the car is.

So How Long Does A Car Inspection Take ?

I will answer relevant to that question as well as other information that you might find beneficial.


Involvements In Car Inspection

Involvements In Car Inspection

Here you will learn what exactly are the things that take place during car inspection.


Car Interiors and Physical Status

This means that this involves the physical components of your car such as its headlights, tires, brakes, seat belts and suspension just to name a few. The exhaust system is also included here because it is a delicate part of the car.

This process could take about 15 minutes, depending on the person handling the task and his speed.


Road Test

road test

In most places, a test drive is required, which usually lasts for half an hour.

This is just to make sure that the engines are running smoothly and there are no mechanical problems to be worried about.

The brake is also tested at this point to ensure the safety of the driver and the passengers.

But not all city and state actually requires this step like in Virginia in America for example, a test drive is no longer done if they see that the physical components of the car are already good to go.


Emission Check

Emission Check

Cities like Los Angeles in California, USA, have this very strict emission control rules in their Department of Motor and Vehicle (DMV). Your car has to pass this test or you won't be able to drive it at all.

If the inspector sees your car to be belching out some toxic smoke from its engine, then I'm afraid you will fail this test.

In order to be sure that you get that check from their chart, go for a smog check in your local car repair centers. Emission control checking takes about 10 minutes of your time.

When Does Car Inspections Usually Occur

You have to know that as a car owner, an inspection is not a suggestion but it is a requirement set by a country or a city, which means you have to abide by its rules whether you like it or not. The government or the city you live in is usually the ones setting regulations for vehicle use along with their safety and emissions.

An inspection usually happens when the title of the car needs to be transferred. It is also done if you are just buying the car for the first time.

Once it is done, you can expect about another 2 years for inspection. In some countries, they do it annually to make sure that the vehicle is still safe to drive.

How To Know If A Car Passes An Inspection

Car Passes An Inspection

A sticker is often a sign that a car has passed an inspection. This sticker is seen on the windshield of the car or in some cases, the car's registration plate. Car owners need this proof before a vehicle license can even be approved or renewed.

The police also have the right to check if the car has is abiding by the laws given by the state, which includes an up-to-date inspection proof. It is not enough that your car was inspected once because you need to do it on a regular basis.

What To Prepare Before Car Inspection

Prepare Before Car Inspection

In order to save you time, you must know all the things that you need to prepare before even showing up for a car inspection.

If you forget any of these, you can bet that it is going to take longer than the usual time and there is even a huge chance of you coming back home or another day for the inspection.

Also, assume that the number of people lining up for this task is going to be pretty long so it is always better to come prepared and early for your appointment. Here is a list of the usual things you will need to have with you for your car inspection:

Prepare Before Car Inspection
  • Proof Of Car Insurance: Some would just bring the insurance card with them, but I suggest to bring the entire folder that comes with it.
  • Payment: Car inspection is not free so be ready to prepare your cash or credit card or any mode of payment accepted by your state or city.
  • Proof of Identification: I will recommend bringing more than one just in case because most of the time, they now ask for two proofs of IDs. The safest is to bring your driver's license, state ID or passport. If you really don't have any of these three, bring an ID with you current photo on it.

Usual Causes of Failed Inspection

These things could be avoided if you will simply follow all the tips I have earlier. But in case you fail, it is most likely one of these reasons that are in here.

Windshield Wipers
  • Brakes: If your brake wasn’t working during the inspection then there is no way you’ll get approve driving your vehicle. Make sure that your brake fluid is set because not only will you fail the car inspection but your life is even at risk.
  • All Lights-Related: Even just a single bulb in your interior could cause you to fail this kind of test. Don’t forget to have all the lights of your car replaced with new ones in case any of them is no longer working.
  • Tire Problems:When inspecting your tires, they may not look flat at all, or they may not feel soft. Nevertheless, make sure that there is enough air on the tires so that they will last long and to avoid accidents. Always carry a tire pressure gauge and tire inflator with you. You'll never know when you might need them.
  • Windshield Wipers: You might see this one as not a big deal but there are real cases when cars don’t get validated because of this. Just make sure they are working fine by checking if their movements are right according to the manual.


Now, to tally all the things that involve during a car inspection, we could calculate that it would probably take an hour or two to get it done. The paper work really takes a lot of time and the whole test drive. It would always depend on your car model and the city that you’re in as well.

Always come in at least 15 minutes before your appointment to be safe that you finish on time just in case you have another appointment to tend to that day.

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