How Much Does a Car Inspection Cost: Comprehensive Vehicle Check

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Car repairman with a multimeter for a battery inspection

Every vehicle owner's existence is riddled with car inspections. While they may be time-consuming, they go a long way toward keeping us safe on the road. Your state may require you to have your vehicle be inspected, and these include an overall check, including an emission test. 

This blog post will cover what's included in a complete car inspection and how much these inspections cost.

Complete Car Inspection Inclusions

A complete vehicle inspection is a comprehensive look at your car conducted by a certified automobile mechanic. The automobile mechanic will check the exterior and interior of your vehicle and all its systems and components.

Vehicle inspections are incredibly rigorous and take a long time to complete. The exhaust system, steering, suspension, brakes, tires, wheel alignment, fuel system, and much more will all be inspected during a car inspection. Let's look at what each of these groups will be responsible for.

Certification and Vehicle Information

The first thing you should do when getting your car serviced is verify it for ownership. This can be done by checking papers like registration and title and insurance coverage, which will take less than two minutes! You may also conduct this task yourself ahead of time, so there's no need to go through all these steps on the inspection site.


The mechanic will inspect your car for any signs of damage or rust. They'll also check the tires, lights, and windshield wipers to ensure they're in good working order!


Next, the automobile mechanic will check your steering apparatus (steering wheel, horn, and column) as well as alignment with tires. They also go over brakes located inside the car, such as seat belts, for safety reasons, then do an overall inspection to make sure everything looks good before wrapping up his service call!


The engine check is an integral part of the inspection because it determines whether you have any significant problems with your car. Mechanics will be checking for leaks and functionality and fluids to diagnose possible issues that may arise from these inspections before they become more severe ailments or even worse accidents!


One of the critical aspects that mechanics will inspect on your car is the chassis. They'll be looking for frame damage, broken welds, and other structural damages that could cost more money down the road if not fixed. And to check for the damage, they will go under your car to check your axles and shocks are in good condition.

Pre-driving inspection

The automobile mechanic may also perform a pre-driving check. This includes checking that all lights are working properly before you take your vehicle for a test drive.


The exhaust system comprises tubes and chambers that transport the car's exhaust out of the engine. Exhaust manifolds perform various functions, including decreasing noise and transforming the toxic gases by-product of gasoline combustion into something less harmful to the environment.

  • An exhaust examination should include the following items:
  • Catalytic Converter for Exhaust Manifold Oxygen Sensor
  • Muffler Steering With Suspension System
  • Muffler Exhaust Pipe Tailpipe

Your car's steering and suspension are two different systems; however, they are sometimes lumped together in inspections since they function together to keep a vehicle under control. The following items are included in the assessment of the steering and suspension systems:

  • U-Joint
  • Idler/Pitman Arm
  • Center Link
  • Bushings
  • Tie Rod Ends
  • Ball Joints
  • Shocks/Struts

Alignment, Tires, and Wheels

The vehicle's tires and wheels are critical safety features, and as we all know, the car would not be able to travel very far without them. The mechanic will visually inspect the tire and wheel to search for punctures or foreign objects. 

Tire pressure, wear inconsistencies, and alignment concerns are also evaluated. These are the items that will be checked during a tire and wheel inspection:

  • Check the pressure in your tires
  • Tire Tread Depth
  • Inspect for Illuminated TPMS Light
  • Signs of a Misalignment

System of Braking

Your car's braking system is responsible for slowing down the vehicle and is an important safety element. The most critical examination is, without a doubt, the brake inspection. The following items will be checked during a tire and wheel inspection:

  • Measure Thickness of Brake Pads/Shoes
  • Brake Rotor Thickness is a measurement of the thickness of the brake rotor.
  • Brake Hose Diameter Brake Drum Diameter Brake Drum Diameter Brake Drum Diameter Brake Drum Diameter Brake
  • Hardware, calipers, wheel cylinders, and ABS brake fluid are all parts of the parking brake system.

Vehicle Inspection in General

In addition to the above, a vehicle inspection looks at a few other things. The list will include specific elements that you may not think critical to vehicle operation but are nonetheless essential. The following items will be included in a vehicle inspection:

  • Belt tensioner
  • Valve cover gasket
  • Power steering hoses
  • Windshield washer fluid top-off
  • Start/Charge test
  • Spark plug scheduled maintenance
  • Fuel filter
  • Fuel system
  • Ignition wires
  • Power steering hoses
  • Timing belt
  • Exhaust system check

How Much Does a Car Inspection Cost?

The cost of a car inspection can vary depending on the type of inspection you choose. However, most mechanics offer package deals that include multiple services at a discounted price. For example, a check may cost $50, but the cost to fix any issues discovered would be included in that cost.

For complete vehicle inspection, expect to pay from $100 - $150, depending on where you live and what type of service is performed. But this isn't an estimation. Some factors can affect the cost of inspection tests, and they vary not only by state but by the type and age of car you drive. 


While the cost of an inspection may vary by state, let's see how much you pay. In California, you should have your car inspected every two years, or it will be taken away from you and put into recovery. This is a necessary step for residents of the state to continue driving legally on their license plates issued by DMV.

To have your vehicle eligible for this process, you will need to bring it in at a certified inspection station. The fee usually ranges from $30-$70 depending on how big or small the car needs to be inspected!


In Texas, a car inspection cost depends on your car's age and manufacturing date. If your vehicle is one to two years old, the price is $40 all in all. If your vehicle is three years and older, the cost is $20.

New York

A car inspection in New York is between $25 and $40, depending on the type of inspection you need. Some factors may affect the cost, such as size if you live in Albany, Binghamton, and Utica, $11. Suppose you live somewhere in Metropolitan, the fee increases to $27. 

When Should Your Car be Inspected?

The frequency of required car inspections varies from state to state. Some states require annual or biennial inspections, while others may only need them every few years. To make sure, you may check your local DMV for the specific requirements in your area.

The cost of an inspection may be expensive, but it can save you a lot more money in the long run. Inspection stations are also secured against faulty equipment that could damage your vehicle due to incorrect readings given by inspectors, which could cost thousands of dollars, if not more.

The vehicle inspection procedure is critical for ensuring your car's safety and roadworthiness. Some states require more intensive medical checks than others--some even deny all applicants who don't meet strict standards.

Who Should Perform the Complete Inspection?

While you can certainly take your car to a mechanic or auto shop for a complete inspection, it's important to remember that not all mechanics are created equal. 

Some may be more interested in selling you services and repairs than in providing an accurate assessment of your vehicle's condition. It's therefore advisable to seek out a qualified automobile mechanic who has been specifically trained to offer a complete inspection. 

In the long run, this will cost you less money and time than going to an auto shop that's looking for ways to up-sell you on services or repairs your car doesn't need. You can get your state inspection in one of the following places:

Public Inspection Station

The annual inspection of your vehicle is a great way to ensure that it's in top working condition. Official government-operated stations will do everything for you, including checking emissions and mechanical systems, so there are no major issues ahead before they're implemented on the roadways!

Private Inspection Stations

Aside from public stations, there are private inspection stations as well. Private inspection stations provide a level of service that's not available with public agencies. They cost you slightly more, but many feel much safer when using them since they have greater flexibility and knowledge about what needs to be done.


When it comes to dealerships, they may or may not do inspections - it depends on their policy. The cost of an inspection here can vary greatly, usually between $100 and $300. However, please be advised that if you use one of these, double-check to ensure that they have current government approval or your inspection will not meet the state's requirements.

Signs that Your Car Needs Inspection Sooner

As we all know that some states require annual or biennial inspections; however, there are still many drivers who do not have their cars inspected until they experience a problem. Some general signs can indicate your vehicle needs an inspection sooner rather than later:

  • The Check Engine Light is on.
  • Strange noises while driving, like rattling or clunking.
  • Excessive smoke from the exhaust pipe.
  • You are noticing problems with your brakes, tires, or alignment.
  • You have gone over the recommended mileage for tire rotation and oil changes without having it done.
  • There's an odd smell coming from your car that isn't related to food left in the backseat.

Benefits of Car Inspection

There are several key benefits of getting your car inspected regularly, including:

  • Avoid costly repairs down the road.
  • Identifying and correcting safety issues before they become dangerous.
  • Meeting state inspection requirements to avoid fines or penalties.

Some factors might affect your car's ability to pass inspection, including:

  • Defective or worn-out parts such as brake pads, tires, or windshield wipers.
  • Old and dirty oil can damage the engine.
  • Too much exhaust emission.
  • Not having a current registration sticker.
  • Damaged bodywork or interior features.
  • Unsafe driving habits that could lead to a citation.

If your car fails the inspection for any reason, you will need to make the necessary repairs. Another factor that would affect the inspection is when your documents are expired or do not belong to you, so make sure to prepare all the requirements before you bring your car for inspection.

Tips to Pass Car Inspection

  • Be sure to check your car's oil level and tire pressure before taking it in for inspection.
  • Ensure all of your lights are working properly, including the turn signals, brake lights, and headlights.
  • Look out for any fluid leaks under the car.
  • Have the brakes checked to make sure they are working properly
  • Inspect the tires for uneven wear patterns.

Car Inspection FAQ

1. Is car inspection worth it?

Yes! It protects you in the long run.

2. How long does a car inspection take?

Usually, a car inspection takes around 30 minutes to an hour.

3. Can I delay my car inspection?

Yes, you can. But it is still best to get it done as soon as possible to avoid any penalties or fines from the DMV.

4. What would happen if my documents did not pass inspection?

You will have to get a new inspection.

5. What should I bring for my car inspection?

Bring your vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and driver's license.


Safety inspections are important for ensuring safety, protection, and profitability. You can be sure that your vehicles conform to standards, that they will not break down on the road, and that they will keep your employees safe if they are examined every day before use. 

We hope this post has helped answer your questions about vehicle inspections. Thanks again for reading!