Texas vehicle inspection procedure part one. The safety inspection.

As you probably already know, here in Texas we do a safety and emissions inspection. Today I am just going to talk about the safety portion of the inspection. There is a 400 page manual that describes in detail what and how we are to perform a state inspection. As much as you would probably enjoy reading through a 400 page manual I thought I would save you some time and give you an overview of what we inspect during the safety portion of the Texas inspection.

Every time a customer brings their car in for an inspection the first thing we check is the insurance. Anyone presenting their car for a state inspection must have a current proof of Texas insurance. We will check to make sure that the VIN on the insurance card matches up with the VIN on the are being presented for inspection.

Next we will hop into the car and check the driver and passenger side seat belt (must buckle and have no frays longer than 1″), the horn, the lights on the dash and the functionality of the wiper blades. Once those items have been check its off to the brake test. Now don’t worry, you won’t be seeing us hot rodding up and down the highway in your car. All brake tests are done on site and you will have full visibility of your vehicle the entire time. When doing the brake test we are required to get your car up to 20mph and apply the brakes as you would if a deer ran in front of your car. (If you live in Austin and this hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t worry, it will.)

After the brake test is over we will then pull your car into one of the service bays. When pulling in we will check your headlights and make sure the high and low beams are working. We will check the tail lights, brake lights, license plate lights, and mirrors.

Next we will check the parking brake. The parking brake test is performed by engaging the brake while the vehicle is in drive and taking the foot off of the service brake (your main brake). If the car rolls forward it will fail. Parking brake is one of those items that a lot of people do not use and do not understand why it matters if it works or not. Let me explain a little bit. The parking brake is not just for parking. It is also commonly referred to as the emergency brake. This is because in case of an emergency, say like when your service brake goes out, your emergency brake is there as a backup. I have been in a situation where I needed to use my emergency brake to stop my car and I thank my lucky stars it was working!! It was scary stuff!

After we check the brake we move on to what we call “the walk around”. First we check the tire condition. The tires need to have a good tread depth, no cord showing, and no bulges or cracks in the side wall. Then we check the wheels, the wheels cannot be bent or cracked, and all studs and lug nuts need to be present.

Then we move onto the lenses, all lenses need to be in original condition with no cracks or holes. As cool as it looks tail lights/brakes lights cannot be blacked out. Lenses must be red in color and each lens much contain at least one reflector. License plate lights must also have lenses.

After all the lenses are checked out we move onto the exhaust system. When you look out the window into the bay and you just see a pair of legs sticking out from under your car, that is because we are inspecting the exhaust system on your car. We are looking to make sure there are no leaks in the system, that the exhaust is securely mounted to the car and that all required elements are there. All gas powered vehicles are required to have a catalytic converter and muffler. There are some diesel trucks that are exempt from this but we will have to confirm that in our handy pocket manual


Next we move on to under the hood. We check your power steering system. We make sure there is plenty of power steering fluid and that there are no leaks in the system. We check your master cylinder and make sure the fluid level is good and there are no leaks. We also check to make sure the belts are in good condition and that all the required emissions equipment is accounted for.

Once all of those items have been inspected we are done with the safety portion of the test. You are half way to having your stickerless inspection completed! Tomorrow I will fill you in on the emissions portion of the inspection.

We hope to see you soon for you Texas Safety and Emissions car inspection!

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