Understanding Annual State Inspections

2014-08-19 09.19.24

The little rectangle sticker on the front of your windshield may go unnoticed one-twelfth of the year, but it's an important indicator as to when it's time for your car to have its routine "checkup."

All vehicles that are registered in Virginia are required to have an annual inspection to ensure that it conforms to all safety regulations so that the cars on our roads are running properly and are safe to drive.

But have you ever wondered what exactly a state inspection is checking for? Well, this is what the bulk of the 24-step process look like:

Brakes—The brakes are inspected for a number of things, including worn, damaged or missing parts. Then, the parking brake is inspected for broken or missing parts and proper adjustment.

Lights— Lights are important, so lights are thoroughly inspected for the approved type, proper bulbs and the condition they are in. Like headlights, the signal device is also looked over for the approved type, proper bulbs and condition

TiresTires, wheels and rims are inspected for their condition, including tread depth. Tires become hazardous once they're considered "bald," so they are checked over to make sure the tread is still safe for the road.

Mirrors/Glass—We inspect windshield wipers and defroster for operating condition and the condition of the blades. We also want to make sure your windshield and other glass is crack-free and suitable to drive with. As for mirrors, we'll inspect for the rigidity of the mounting and condition of reflection surface.

Airbags— Then we inspect the driver's seat, seatbelts and airbags. Like many of you know, airbags are extremely important in the case of an accident.

Systems—The fuel system and exhaust system are two big ones that we'll double-check before your car passes inspection. The fuel system is what admits fuel into an internal combustion engine and is part of the primary fuel delivery system used in automotive engines. The exhaust system, on the other hand, is the piping that's used to guide reaction exhaust gases away from a controlled combustion in the engine.

And there you have it! The last step of a state inspection is issuing drivers with a new sticker that shows their car has been carefully inspected and is safe to be on the road for the next year.