PA Inspection And Emissions Test2020-11-25T07:29:44-05:00
PA State Inspection and Emissions Test

PA State Inspection & Emissions Test

Pennsylvania requires vehicle safety inspections to ensure that vehicles are maintained for safe operation. Safety Inspections can prevent vehicle failure on the highways and crashes that may result in injuries or death.

Vehicle safety inspections are performed at official PennDOT Inspection Stations (usually a repair garage or a service station with a repair shop). Inspection fees are posted at official inspection stations. These fees do not include repairs to correct vehicle defects.

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When do I have to get my PA Inspection done?2020-11-18T14:13:57-05:00

Your vehicle must have passed inspection by the last day of the month in which the inspection is due based on looking at the inspection stickers in the lower driver’s side corner of your windshield.

Why would I want to get my inspection done early?2020-11-18T14:14:30-05:00

Sometimes vehicles need major repairs before they can pass inspection, and major repairs can be very costly. Getting your inspection done early will give you extra time in case you need to save up money or weigh your options while still be able to drive you car or truck.

If I get my inspection done early, will my inspection be due earlier next year?2020-11-18T14:14:35-05:00

No. Let’s say your inspection is due in February, and you decide to get it done in May. When the vehicle passes, you will still get new stickers for May of the following year.

What do I need to bring when I get my vehicle inspected?2020-11-18T14:15:05-05:00

Other than bringing us your vehicle, the only thing else we need is your current valid PA Registration and Insurance card. That’s it!

Can I get my PA Inspection done early?2020-11-18T14:14:15-05:00

Yes. You can get your inspection done up to 90 days before the final deadline. A good rule of thumb is that you can get it done any time in the month in which it is due, but also in the two months prior. So if your vehicle is due for inspection in March, you can get it done as early as January.

What is the difference between the PA Emissions Test and the PA State Inspection?2020-11-18T14:14:40-05:00

The PA State Inspection and PA Emissions Test are almost always performed together at the same time, however they are two separate tests with separate criteria, and each are designated with their own sticker upon passing. This is why you have two inspection stickers on your windshield. Unless you drive a diesel car or truck, emissions testing is exempt.

  • Emissions Test: 1996 and newer vehicles are equipped with an onboard computer that controls all aspects of engine performance with regard to fuel, spark, and air. As long as all aspects of this computer are functioning correctly, then the vehicle’s emissions meet federal standards. However, if any of the computer’s sensors or relays are malfunctioning, they need to be repaired or replaced for the vehicle to be considered federally compliant. The emissions test is a state mandated test of these computer systems.
  • State Inspection: After the emissions test is completed, a comprehensive safety evaluation of the vehicle is performed. This safety evaluation is what is commonly referred to as the “PA State Inspection,” or more properly the “PA State Safety Inspection.” This inspection tests a number of the vehicle’s various major driving components for safety and performance, which will be discussed in further detail below.
What is checked for in the PA Emissions Test?2020-11-18T14:14:46-05:00

First, the technician does a visual inspection of the vehicle’s relevant emissions components. Once the technician is satisfied that everything meets or exceeds standard, the vehicle’s gas cap is tested to ensure that it is airtight. This is an often a cause for a check engine light!

Finally, a computerized emissions testing machine is connected to the vehicle which runs a full set of On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) tests and tests the exhaust gasses. If everything is functioning as it should, the emissions tester will report no errors and the vehicle has passed the Emissions Test. If anything is malfunctioning, the emissions tester will deliver an error code which is used to identify what repairs are needed. These computerized emissions machines are regulated by the PA Department of Transportation (PENNdot) and are quality and calibrated for accuracy twice a year.

What is checked for in the PA State Inspection?2020-11-18T14:14:51-05:00

From the PA Department of Transportation website:

  • Safety inspections for passenger cars and light-duty trucks require that the following items be checked: suspension components, steering, braking systems, tires and wheels, lighting and electrical systems, glazing (glass), mirrors, windshield washer, defroster, wipers, fuel systems, the speedometer, the odometer, the exhaust systems, horns and warning devices, the body, and chassis.

Depending on your county and/or vehicle type, additional testing may be required. Call us or visit the DoT link above for more information.

What happens if I fail the PA Emissions Test?2020-11-18T14:14:58-05:00

If your vehicle fails the Emissions Test, you will be told what repairs are needed in order for it to pass inspection. You will then need to have these repairs completed, and have the vehicle re-tested by a certified PA Inspection location. You can either have the repairs done at the original inspection station where you first had the vehicle tested, or you can have them done elsewhere. In either case, you are entitled to one free re-test at the original inspection station, as long as you bring it back within 30 days. If you bring the vehicle back after 30 days, a re-test fee will apply.

What happens if I fail the PA State Inspection?2020-11-18T14:15:02-05:00

Much like the Emissions Test, if your vehicle fails the State Inspection, you will be told what repairs are needed in order for it to pass. You can choose to have the repairs done at the original inspection station, or to take the vehicle elsewhere. If you choose to have the repairs done at the original inspection station, no re-test should be necessary. If you choose to have the repairs done elsewhere (or do them yourself), and then bring the vehicle back to the original inspection station, the vehicle will have to be re-tested and a re-test fee will apply.

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