By Kate Bergeron, June 8, 2017
In Massachusetts, all registered vehicles are required to pass a yearly safety inspection. As of 2008, vehicles with a model year of 2001 or newer also have to pass an emissions test. If your sticker is about to expire, here’s what you should do:
Before you head to the mechanic, conduct a basic self inspection. Make sure your lights and windshield wipers work properly, check for any rust spots or window cracks, and ensure that your license plates are firmly attached to your car. Most of these things are easy enough to fix at home, and giving your car a quick check could save you from a second inspection.
You should also review your car’s maintenance history. If it’s been a while since you’ve gotten your tires replaced or had your brakes done, you might need to have them serviced in order to pass inspection. If your check engine light is on or your car is making any unusual noises, you won’t pass inspection.
Going for Inspection
When you arrive for your inspection, grab your registration and head inside. Most mechanics will require that you fill out a form with some basic personal information and provide payment for the service upfront (MA State Inspections cost about $35, give or take a few dollars). After you hand over the keys, the inspector will check:
- VIN number, registration, and license plates
- Windshield, wipers and windshield washer
- All lights, including headlights, headlight aim, turn signals, flashers, tail lamps, brake lights, backup lights, and other lighting devices.
- Rear view mirrors
- Exhaust system
- Body panels and fuel tank
- Frame and unibody
- Service, parking, and emergency brakes
- Seat belts and air bag operation
- Ball joints, steering, and suspension
- Visible smoke
- Emissions Test and Emissions Components (if your car is 2001 or newer)
Once You’re Done
When they return your keys and paperwork, you should talk with the inspector about the condition of your vehicle. He or she may want to review the report with you, and discuss any parts that barely passed or didn’t meet the standards. They may also alert you to other potential problems they noticed while examining your vehicle.
If you have any questions about inspections or emissions testing, you can also visit The Official Website of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.