As we return to the “new normal” after COVID-19, and many cars get back on the road it’s important to make sure your car is up to date on all of the necessary state requirements, including a safety inspection.
In Massachusetts, all registered vehicles are required to pass a yearly safety inspection. Plus, 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:
Prepare Ahead of Time
Before you head to our shop, 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 to fix at home and giving your car a quick check could save you from having to get 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. After you hand over the keys, we’ll check:
- Your 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.
- Rearview mirrors
- Exhaust system
- Body panels and fuel tank
- Frame and unibody
- Service, parking, and emergency brakes
- Seat belts and airbag 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 we return your keys and paperwork, take a minute to talk with our team about the condition of your vehicle. We will review our report with you and discuss any parts that barely passed or didn’t meet the standards. We may also alert you to other potential problems we noticed while examining your vehicle, if anything stood out to our technicians.
If you have any questions about inspections or emissions testing, you can also visit The Official Website of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
This article was originally published in July 2019 and was updated in July 2021.