How Long Does a Car Inspection Take? Answered

Car Inspection

Do you know how long does a car inspection take? Most basic car inspections only take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete. You can learn more about what might happen during an inspection by reading the information below.

A vehicle’s general condition can be determined through a car inspection process. It is done to assess a vehicle’s operational requirements, including any replacement, repair, and maintenance work.

You should plan on spending about an hour at the shop in total because the paperwork may take an additional 10 minutes to complete. However, if the mechanic finds a potential problem with your car, it might take longer to find and fix the issue. To learn more about car inspection, keep reading.

Why Should You Have a Car Inspection?

To make sure a car is safe to drive is one of the main reasons to get an auto inspection. Making sure passengers can travel in the car safely is just as important as the person who is driving it when it comes to safety. A vehicle inspection can also be viewed as a form of preventive maintenance because it lowers the possibility of collisions caused by defective cars as well as other kinds of traffic accidents involving two or more vehicles.

Car Inspection

An inspection can confirm that the main systems are operating within reasonable limits and may also reveal important problems that need to be fixed before the car can be deemed roadworthy. Permission to operate those vehicles may be limited in jurisdictions that require inspections for all vehicles owned by both individuals and entities until the necessary repairs are made and the vehicle is inspected again.

How Long Will the Inspection Take?

Complete vehicle inspections can take anywhere from an hour to several hours to complete.

Here is an estimate of how long each step takes:

  • Document review: 10-15 minutes
  • Road test: 15- 30 minutes
  • Physical inspection 15-20 minutes
  • Mechanical/Electrical 30-45 minutes

These times are based on the assumption that the vehicle has no significant problems. These times might significantly increase if one does come about. Though it usually takes much less time, it’s generally safe to allow 3-5 hours for a thorough inspection.

Read More: How Long Does a Car Wrap Last?

When is a Car Inspection Required?

The frequency of vehicle inspections is governed differently by each state. Others, like Arkansas, are more lenient while some require specific tests, like emissions tests.

Even though your state may not mandate inspections, it is still advisable to get one at least once per year. Even if everything appears to be in order, you should check to make sure your car doesn’t have a hidden problem.

There are different inspections to look into with some of the most common being:

  • The results of an emissions test reveal how many air pollutants your car emits. One every two years is the standard requirement in many states. You can’t register your car if you don’t pass.
  • VIN check: An expert examines the overall history of your car. Checking for severe accidents is typically done before buying a used car.
  • Safety inspection – A professional examines the windows, tires, lights, brakes, steering, seat belts, and fluids in your car.

Does Every State Require a Formal Car Inspection?

There is no federal regulation that makes state-by-state vehicle safety inspection procedures uniform. Educating yourself on local laws and regulations is the only way to know what is applicable in your state. You can rest assured that your municipal government officials will be aware of any statewide regulations if they exist, so you can find out what the rules are in your community by contacting your local DMV or conducting a quick online search.

You might discover that all vehicles registered within the jurisdiction must undergo regular inspections under the laws of your state. This would apply to any vehicles used by local, state, federal, and private companies operating inside the state’s borders. It will also apply to cars owned by people who have recently moved to the state or long-time residents.

Your state might mandate routine vehicle inspections for all commercial and state-owned vehicles, but not for private vehicles. When you renew your vehicle’s tags and registration, you might also discover that you need to present documentation proving a recent inspection.

What Does a Car Inspection Entail?

A car inspection consists of several parts. It ought to pass quickly as long as everything is alright.

Interior of the Vehicle

The headlights, windshield wipers, and horn must all be tested, as well as every other electrical component. The inspector must also confirm that the clutch and brakes function properly. Since it’s simple to determine whether or not everything is working, this should only take a short while.

Exterior of the Vehicle

The mechanic looks at the interior before moving on to the exterior parts. The exhaust pipe is a part of this. Inspecting the interior and exterior should only take about 15 minutes in total.

Smog Test

Most common inspections include an emissions check. This will guarantee that the amount of emissions your car emits are within the legal range. Approximately 20 to 30 minutes should pass after that.

Test Drive

Your vehicle must be test-driven by the inspector. This is to assess how well your car can brake and turn. The majority of inspectors just circle the area. Your car must complete all of these steps in order to pass a test.

Most Common Reasons Your Car May Fail the Inspection

Your vehicle is composed of numerous moving parts. These are a few of the most typical causes of car failure, though there are a plethora of other possibilities.

  • Faulty spark plugs
  • Leaky gas caps
  • Malfunctioning oxygen sensor
  • Dirty engine oil
  • Defective catalytic converter
  • Clogged air filter

Takeaway: Bring These Items to Your Car Inspection

Depending on the procedures, laws, safety regulations, and requirements of the nation, a car inspection may take place.

Inspections of cars typically move along quickly. Bring everything an inspector might require to make the process much simpler.

  • Payment method (cash, credit card, check)
  • Proof of identity (driver’s license)
  • Proof of paid insurance


How Long Does An Inspection Take on a House?

A home inspection typically lasts two to two and a half hours, but the actual time can vary depending on the size of the home and its components.

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In general, your car will usually need a new battery after three to four years.

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