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In some states, such as North Carolina, passing a vehicle inspection is required before you can register a new vehicle or re-register an existing one. In order to pass these inspections, there are some major points you should go over on your car before you show up at an inspection facility. By following these important points, you can avoid the frustration of a failed inspection and the trouble of setting another date to come back for a second one.

Before You Make an Appointment

There are thousands of licensed inspection stations all over North Carolina, but there are also stations that are no longer licensed due to non-compliance with state standards. Stations must be clean and clear of hazardous materials and debris as well as have the proper tools on hand to complete the inspection in order to maintain their license.

Technicians must also be licensed and have a valid state driver’s license in order to complete an inspection. Be sure the station you choose meets these requirements so you don’t waste your time.

Internal Requirements

Brakes – Your brake system, including the handbrake, must function correctly. The brakes must not be loose and have pads meeting minimum wear requirements. If your pads are squeaking because they need to be replaced, do this before the inspection.

Exhaust – Your exhaust system must include working emission control parts such as a catalytic converter and the appropriate sensors. Your pipes and muffler must not contain holes and must be intact. If you have an aftermarket exhaust system or are running without a cat, you may have to replace your exhaust or bring it up to standard before you can get the car registered.

Steering – Your car must have a working horn and all steering components must pass inspection. That means all nuts and bolts must be accounted for and in good condition.

External Requirements

Lights – Your lights must work properly; high beams must be bright and low beams must be less bright. All of your turn signals must function properly as well. In addition, you must make sure that none of the housings for your lights are broken. If they are, you need to replace them prior to inspection.

Tires – Your tires must be properly inflated and capable of holding air pressure. In addition, they must meet minimum safe tread depth requirements and cannot be damaged in any way.

Mirrors – Your mirrors must not be broken or missing. They must not be loose or impossible to adjust either. They must be capable of displaying to the driver a clear view of the intended areas around the car.

Wipers – Your windshield wipers must be maintained and in good condition. They need to be able to clear away water and snow without a problem. The wiper mechanism should be in working order.

If You Fail the Inspection

If your car does not pass, all is not lost. You will have 30 days to reschedule and take another inspection. This should give you enough time to correct any issues and repair any defects. The second inspection will be free provided you adhere to the scheduling.