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How Long Does A Car Inspection Take? Here’s The Answer

How Long Does A Car Inspection Take? Here’s The Answer

As a proprietor of a new car or if you’re going to buy a used car, you ought to know that your vehicle ought to go through regulatory checks before you can legitimately claim or drive it to your residence.

There is some standard inspection procedure(s) that you should know.

Also, remember that it’d require an extensive amount of your understanding since it could take some time contingent upon your situation. 

The hours spent on any car’s inspection would likewise rely upon the country or city where you reside.

In individual nations, they have strict regulations in this attempt, so don’t be astonished if it takes longer than expected. It would likewise rely upon the vehicle’s model and how new/old it is. 

Anyway, how long does a car inspection require? I will answer this general question among many of you and other input you may discover useful in this context. So, let’s start.

How Long Does A Car Inspection Take?

This query can’t have an isolated answer. How long a car will take for a complete inspection will depend upon several factors like the car’s state, i.e., whether your car is brand new or second-hand, and the manufacturing year (the older the car, the longer time it’ll consume.

The most crucial factor in this regard is the state or city, or the country.

It goes on the lines that every state, city, and country has its own set of procedures to carry out the car inspection.

While at some places, you’ll have to spend hardly 15-30 minutes to get the inspection done, other places may eat up your 1-2 hours on every inspection.

Factors that affect car inspection time

The common factors that influence a car’s inspection time are:

  • State of the car: If it’s a brand new car, the inspection won’t take much time as it’ll have brand new components. In another case, with a second-hand car, the time will increase a bit.
  • The country you live in: Every country and place has its own set of inspection procedures. While the inspection gets completed in some places quickly, some places will have a stricter rule.
  • Car model and size: The bigger the brand and car size, the more time its inspection will take.

What procedure is involved in your car inspection?

Most of the countries and states follow the below car inspection procedure for every car.

1. The exterior and interior status of your car

This stage involves a thorough check of your car’s physical components like the taillights, headlights, suspension, shockers, tires, brakes, windshield, horn, sunroof (if any).

Going ahead, the inspector can check the exhaust pipe as it is a significant component of a car.

If interested, he may check the clutch, accelerator, brake, and handbrake. The above process should not take more than 15-20 minutes if the inspector is active enough. 

2. Road test

Now, a road test is something some states mandate and some don’t. If yours has made the road test mandatory, you will have to take it.

In a road test, the inspector’s primary concern is the smooth working of the engine, safety components of the car (like lights, handbrake, etc.), etc.

Wipers and dashboard lights may even get checked by the inspector. States that don’t mandate road tests include Virginia in America.

If your car’s physical components are in good condition, you need nothing more to get the inspection done.

3. Emission inspection

With pollution becoming a major issue worldwide, carmakers and car inspectors face it like never before.

If your car fails the emission check during an inspection, if it releases harmful smoke, smog, or other fumes, the inspector will not validate the inspection.

If it’s a new car, you can go back to the dealer and communicate with him regarding the issue.

However, if yours is a second-hand car, you need to get it checked or repaired at any nearby service station.

Remember to take along the report from the inspector so that the mechanic can check for those particular faults. After that, you can get the car reinspected.

4. Certification

After you have passed all the mandatory checks and tests, now comes the certification of your car.

A certification shows that the car has passed the inspection and is ready to run on the roads. The inspector will provide you with a sticker for the same, stick it on the windshield. 

Note that a certification sticker is mandatory for your car’s registration and renew your expired license. 

What if my vehicle fails inspection?

Yes, there are chances that your car or any vehicle may fail its inspection, and there are several reasons behind this. Some of the prominent reasons for such an inspection failure include:

1. Faulty windshield wipers

I know that such an issue may seem to many as a trivial issue, yet your vehicle’s wiper and blades have to work as per the manufacturer’s manual.

Not doing so can lead to the failure of your vehicle’s inspection.

It is because wipers help out with visibility during poor weather conditions like rain, fog, storm, etc., for you to drive securely. Hence, its optimal working is necessary at the time of inspection.

2. Brakes

Another critical parameter that leads to a successful inspection or a failed inspection is your vehicle’s brake condition.

Check if the brakes have enough brake fluid or if they are working smoothly. Inspectors check your vehicle’s brake’s performance with proper care as any failure in it is harmful to both you and others.

3. Tire issues

If you’re getting any new car inspection and your vehicle’s tires are brand new, be careful of the optimal tire pressure and brand.

Some safety inspectors can even fail your vehicle’s inspection if you’re using locally or poor-grade tires for the sake of low cost.

If you’re getting a second-hand car inspected, be watchful of the tires’ condition, slumps, or cracks in the center or on the sides. Note that tires with flat spots, tear, or scuffs can lead to inspection failure.

4. Light issues

Another vital safety feature every carmaker equips your vehicle with is the lights. Before the inspection, check whether all kinds of lights your vehicle has been working or not.

It includes every bulb in the exterior and interior, engine lights, fog lights, reading lights, etc.

Remember that any failure with any of the above lights is enough to disapprove the concerned inspector of your vehicle’s safety. 

5. Condition of the seat belts

As a thumb rule for any vehicle’s inspection, the seat belts need to have easy accessibility, good condition, and zero damage.

If there are any such things with the seat belt, the inspection will fail. The above things hold for both front and rear seat belts.

6. Alignment and steering

Every inspector thoroughly inspects the components of your vehicle’s steering system and lets you know if there’s an issue.

If there’s any slight issue, he may not fail the inspection provided you get it checked the very next moment.

Similarly, your vehicle’s alignment plays a vital role in the inspection process. If it’s slightly off, nothing to worry but in either case, it might fail the process.

So, the above are the common yet vital parameters that can fail your vehicle’s inspection if found with any issue(s).


1. How Long Does A Vehicle Safety Inspection Take In NYS?

Ans: In NYS, it generally takes around 1-2 hours for a complete vehicle safety inspection to conclude.

2. How Long Does A Vehicle Safety Inspection Take In Texas?

Ans: Approximately 15-30 minutes is what an inspector will take to examine a vehicle for its safety inspection thoroughly.

3. How Long Does A Vehicle Safety Inspection Take In PA?

Ans: A vehicle safety inspector will take around 20-30 minutes to inspect the entire car properly.

4. How Long Does A Vehicle Safety Inspection Take In NJ?

Ans: You can get your car checked in under 30 minutes in NJ.

5. How Long Does A Vehicle Safety Inspection Take In MA?

Ans: Around 12 minutes are enough for a vehicle safety inspection to conclude in MA.

6. How Long Does A Vehicle Safety Inspection Take In NH?

Ans: You can get your vehicle inspected for safety features in under 20 minutes in NH.

7. How long does a used car inspection take?

Ans: Around 20 minutes are required to inspect a used car.

8. How long does a car inspection take in Canada?

Ans: Considering all parts and components’ inspection, around 2-hours are enough to get everything done.

9. How long does a pre-purchase car inspection take?

Ans: Pre-purchase car inspection can take anything from 30-minutes to an hour or even a couple of hours considering the vehicle condition and technician. 

10. My vehicle is currently out of state. How do I get it inspected?

Ans: It depends on the inspection procedures that a particular state takes into account. Every state has its own set of inspection steps. So, check whether the state will inspect the car or not.


There is no exact way to specify how long it will take to get your car inspected. In some cases, if it takes 1-2 hours utmost, in rare cases, get ready to spend over 3-4 hours at the inspection center.

Various factors have their say in this regard, such as the place of residence, car’s model, inspection attendant you have, and much more, as discussed above.

Further, you’ll have to get all the paperwork done, and final road testing will further add up to the overall time.