For many years, the State of Texas has required vehicle owners to have their cars and trucks checked for mechanical safety and reliability by a State certified facility & mechanic once every 6 months. Yes, twice a year. The state required a bi-annual vehicle inspection up until the early 1980s when it was finally changed to the once annual inspection we have today.
Even if you’re not the mechanically inclined type, there are still a few things you ought to do to ensure your vehicle is prepared for its yearly State Inspection.
Make sure all of your running lights, headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are working. Replace any faulty bulbs where necessary and don’t forget to check the rear license plate lights!
Visually inspect your headlights for lens cracks, missing chips or fogging. Excessive cloudiness (fogging) of your headlight lenses will cause your vehicle to fail the state inspection as it makes for unsafe operation on the road, especially in times of inclement weather. In other words, vehicles coming your way or crossing your path might have a hard time seeing you because of your foggy lenses. Try not to overlook them!
Your local auto parts stores sell “lens cleaning and polishing” kits. These will come with detailed instructions and are relatively easy to use. You can also find lots of how-tos on internet video sites like YouTube that can help build your DIY confidence. If you are unable or uninclined to do the work, then many local garages also offer this type of service. Your only other option is to replace them and depending on the make and model of your vehicle, that can be an expensive route to take.
Badly aimed headlights can also cause your vehicle to fail a state inspection. If approaching cars are flashing their brights off and on at you as you get close and your brights are not on, then it might be time to have your headlights adjusted.
Visually check the entirety of your vehicle’s windows for cracks and large chips. This is especially significant for the front windshield, and it frequently endures the worst part of flying street garbage. The rule of thumb is that a chip smaller than a quarter is nothing to worry about. That is unless the damage goes all the way through the windshield. Chips can also spread, so if you have a chipped windshield, it is best to have the chip repaired by an automotive glass repair company. Heck! Some of them will even come to you! If the chips are too large, then replacement is your only option.
Examine your outside and back view mirrors. On the off chance that they are loose, check whether you can fix them. If any are cloudy or delaminating, at that point they will probably be supplanted. Outside mirrors should also be free of cracks and chips. Repair or replace as necessary.
Examine your front and (if prepared) back wiper edges. Search for indications of peeling, chipping, or dry rot. Replace them as necessary. If they appear in good condition, but leave streaks in wet weather, replace them. A good rule of thumb is to supplant them every year.
Visually inspect your tires for proper inflation and excessive or uneven tread wear. The internet abounds with information that can help you determine if the wear you see is normal or an indicator of bigger problems.
Vehicle brakes wear at different intervals depending on the driver, vehicle use, parts used, etc. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for manufacturer-recommended intervals for servicing your vehicle’s brake pads or shoes. If you sense there is a problem because of squealing, grinding sounds or the pedal travels excessively or feels spongy, then have them serviced as soon as you can. Waiting for “inspection day” will only result in delays or your vehicle being stuck with a rejection sticker.
Related: Brake Pads
Make sure it operates as well. The inspector will check it out for sure.
If you know how to safely jack up your vehicle and check the suspension linkage and parts for excessive wear, then, by all means, do so. Address any problems before you take it in for a state inspection. If jacking up your vehicle and moving around some likely dirty parts isn’t your thing, then think about how your automobile handles. Do you turn the steering wheel and the vehicle takes an instant or two before it catches up? Is there excessive wiggle or play in the steering wheel? Are your tires wearing unevenly or do they shake at higher speeds? Does the vehicle pull excessively in one direction? If you answered yes or “sort of” to any of these questions, then it is probably time to take it in for a suspension check-up.
Ok, this is an easy test. Bounce your vehicle up and down by hand. Good shocks and struts will rise and fall once. Worn out shocks and struts will allow the auto to bounce up and down a few times before stopping.
The state inspector will have to get in your vehicle to remove the old sticker. This is typically where their inspection starts. They will check the steering column and driver’s seat for looseness, turn the lights off and on and check the signals and brake lights. They will check the wiper operation and visually inspect your mirrors. They will check the window operation, the defroster fan/blower operation, and blow the horn.
air fresheners you want to make a good impression and show that you are a responsible car owner when you take your vehicle in for inspection, remove all of the trash beforehand. Clean the windows and if it smells like a wet dog has been living in there, defunkify it with a deodorizer
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