How Long Does A Car Inspection Take?

Last Updated on January 19, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

Well, a car inspection can take 30 – 60 minutes to complete. Usually, a car inspection includes checking 14 different safety components of the car like brakes, transmission, power steering, master cylinder, heating/cooling system, etc.

Key Takeaways

  • While inspecting a car, the car inspector will check the condition of the brake pads, rotors, and brake lines
  • The tyers of the car will also get a visual examination by the inspector to ensure that they are in good condition
  • Car inspection also includes a battery taste to find out how much charge it has
  • The car inspector will check the steering and exhaust system to ensure they are in good working order to avoid problems while driving

Car Inspection – Main Facts

Express Inspection TimeIn most cases, a car inspection takes between 15 minutes and 45 minutes.
Extended Inspection TimeIn a longer car inspection, the procedure can take between one hour and two hours.
A car inspection is mandatory to register a vehicle or to renew a driver’s license.
Safety Standards
Several safety standards must be met to be successful in a car inspection
Test DriveIn most states, the test drive is not mandatory in conjunction with the physical inspection of the vehicle. 

How Long Does It Take To Inspect Your Car?

For a car to be registered after a purchase, it must undergo a complete inspection. This is a procedure that must always be performed every few years on a vehicle. First of all, a state-authorized agent must be in charge of performing an inspection of the vehicle.

The inspection must be performed before a person becomes the new owner and starts driving. Here the total time that a vehicle inspection can take can be very different taking into consideration some factors.

So, here it is important how strict the vehicle inspection can be depending on the state or country. At the same time, other important factors such as vehicle models and years of age can also be included.

In particular, the inspection of a vehicle has certain stages that must necessarily be fulfilled. Therefore, all these stages make up the entire inspection procedure.

Interior And Exterior Condition Of The Car.

At this stage, the authorized agent must be in charge of checking each of the car’s physical components. Therefore, the inspector will begin to verify the good condition of some of the following components of the vehicle:

1. Horn

2. Windshield wipers

3. Windshield

4. Brakes

5. Tires

6. Suspension system

7. Taillights


Another important part to check at this stage is the vehicle’s exhaust pipe. Some inspectors with a certain level of responsibility may go further in checking the vehicle and incorporate other components here. Thus, the parking brake and the general condition of the clutch could also be checked.

Those inspectors who can move in an agile and flexible manner require little time to be able to carry out this entire procedure. In the best case, it only takes 15 minutes or even less time than that. Of course, this is excellent so that many cars can be inspected in one day.

Practical Examination

Today, many states incorporate certain special requirements, unlike other states. In this case, a practical test could be included to complete the inspection of many vehicles. Of course, it is a matter of verifying the condition of the vehicle from another point of view. In many cases, the practical test is used to detect problems that are not very obvious.

So, the inspector will check the operation of the engine and other safety aspects for the driver and other passengers. This practical test can also be important to check the functioning of the different components involved in the operation of a car. Thus, road test can prevent deteriorated cars from being used. 

Of course, in this case, the emergency brake or handbrake must work excellently with a high level of efficiency. Also, other elements that are checked a lot in this sense are most of the dashboard lights, as well as the windshield wipers. These components are considered in this practical test because of their importance for the safety and protection of people.

In the case that the components are in perfect condition and with a good level of operability, it is not considered a driving test. However, in other states, this test drive may be another important step to complete any physical inspection. It may also happen that the test drive is reserved only for vehicles that appear to deteriorate or are too old.

Emission Control

Nowadays, emission control is increasingly becoming one of the most important steps in vehicle inspection. Many states, such as California, consider emission control as an important step to reducing the environmental pollution. Therefore, vehicles, in general, must successfully pass the emissions test, as there are no exceptions.

A vehicle that cannot successfully pass emission control has no chance to operate in the city or on the highway. That is why states that have imposed emission control allow a high level of deficiency in this regard. The analysis that is implemented in this step tries to verify if a vehicle exhales gases that are dangerous for the environment or people.

Of course, some exhaust emissions may produce a certain level of smog. Also, a car can be referred back to its dealer when the spill test is not successfully passed. A service shop is also necessary when a car is too old and has an outdated exhaust system design.

To correct faults completely in one attempt, the action assistant must give a final report. In this way, the experienced auto mechanic will be able to work with the final report to know what repairs need to be applied. Once the vehicle complies with the emission control, it will be able to successfully pass the next inspection. 


When a car is passed after the inspection process is completed, a certification can be obtained. This is of course an important document that proves that a certain vehicle passed the inspection test successfully. To be able to report this in a more efficient and faster way, additional objects are granted along with the certification.

This includes two decals to be placed on the license plate and the windshield. In turn, to efficiently complete the registration of a vehicle, it is necessary to obtain the certification. It is one of the most important requirements that can prevent a vehicle from being registered. 

Additionally, certification can also be important when a driver’s license is required to be renewed. Thus, it is understood that the person who needs to renew the license will be using a primary car. Therefore, this car must be in perfect condition to be used. A car that is in good condition must necessarily have a certification. 

Major Pitfalls In A Car Inspection

Unlike what some people may think, there are not too many reasons why a car may not pass after an inspection. So, there are four main drawbacks that vehicle owners need to address to reattempt an inspection on a vehicle.

1. Brakes

A vehicle’s brakes are one of the basic components that make up safety and security. It is not only about the protection or safety of the driver and passengers of a car. Additionally, brakes are often very important when it comes to protecting the lives of other people, such as pedestrians, drivers, and passengers of other vehicles.

That is why brakes must always work efficiently. This includes both pedal brakes as well as hand brakes or so-called emergency brakes. In addition to checking whether a brake is working efficiently, it is also necessary to consider the brake fluid. Brake fluid has a certain service life and must be replaced from time to time.

Besides, inspectors are usually very strict when it comes to checking brake function. A bad inspection on a car with improper brakes can be very dangerous. A car with inefficient brakes that passes inspection simply means lives in danger.

2. Windshield Wipers

The windshield wiper is another component that can offer a certain amount of safety in certain situations. When sudden rain or adverse weather conditions occur, windshield wipers are essential for excellent visibility. Otherwise, rain could interfere with the driver’s visibility which can easily lead to traffic accidents.

According to each manufacturer’s manual, it is necessary to check the wiper blades accurately. Beyond being a minor issue, the windshield wiper becomes one of the essential elements of driving at the least expected moment. Therefore, the proper functioning of the wiper blade is another essential aspect to succeed in all safety standards.

3. Improper Tires

To pass an auto inspection, it is required that the tires are new or in good condition. In the case of new tires, only the tire pressure needs to be checked. When tires have a certain amount of wear, they should be checked for the presence of sags or cracks. Of course, tires with sinking or cracks should be replaced.

In all cases, the tire pressure of each tire should also be checked. Additionally, a car cannot have a successful inspection when there are flat spots, rips, and scratches on the surface of the tires. Therefore, it is preferable to check these aspects before failing the vehicle inspection.

4. Inconveniences With Headlights

Finally, another of the classic problems in a car is the malfunction of the headlights and taillights. Each of the lights on the vehicle must work properly. Among all of them, one of the most important is undoubtedly the check engine light.

The bulbs inside and outside can offer different functionalities. The safety standard of a car can fail when one of these bulbs simply does not work. So, to avoid this it is necessary to check each of the lights before starting the inspection.