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It’s Inspection Season -- Will Your Car Pass?

With the new year comes the need for a new inspection sticker. Is your car up to spec? You might be surprised, but there is a chance that it is not.

Unlike New Jersey, which requires vehicles only pass an emissions inspection, Pennsylvania requires all registered vehicles to pass an emissions inspection and a safety inspection.

Read on to see a few of the common reasons people fail inspection in Pennsylvania. Beneath each, you’ll find tips to help you identify any glaring or obvious issues to address before you head to the inspection station. If you need something addressed by a professional auto body repair shop servicing Bensalem, PA, give us a call today.


  • Be sure you have all the rearview mirrors you need: Two outside and one inside.
  • Your front windows cannot be tinted.
  • Be sure there are no cracks in the windshield.
  • Double-check your windshield wipers and confirm they perform adequately. If you’re not sure, wipers are cheap and easy enough to buy at an auto parts store and replace on your own.


  • Your front and rear bumpers must be safely and completely secured to the car. If they’re taped on, glued on, or are otherwise not fully attached, you’ll fail inspection.
  • Be sure your rear license plate is attached firmly to your rear bumper. While you don’t need front AND rear plates, the rear is mandatory.


  • When’s the last time you had your brakes done? If it’s been a while, chances are you need to have them serviced to pass inspection.
  • If your car squeals and whines while coming to a stop, your brakes definitely need to be serviced.


  •  How’s the tread? Try the penny test to see if you need new tires before inspection.
    • Take a penny and place it upside down into the tread; if Lincoln’s head disappears past his hair and the depth reaches his forehead, you should be fine. However, if you can see his hair, you need new tires.
  • If your tires sometimes screech, that’s a good indicator that they need to be replaced.


  • If the check engine light is on, have the car serviced because it probably won’t pass inspection.
  • If any noises are coming from under the hood, chances are you need to have maintenance performed to keep your car up to spec and ready to pass inspection.


  • If you haven’t had an oil change for a while, be sure to get one before going in for your emissions test. Carbon often builds up in the oil of your engine, which means that a fresh batch of oil will help your vehicle run more efficiently and give off less carbon during your emissions test.
  • Take a look at your tires and determine if they’re in need of an air boost. When your tires are flat, your engine needs to exert more energy to make them spin, which can artificially raise your carbon emissions result. Conversely, if your tires are full of air, your engine needs to burn less fuel to make them spin, which provides your inspector with a more accurate result.
  • If your check engine light is on, be sure that you have it corrected before you head in for an emissions test. In most states, you’ll automatically fail your emissions test if your check engine light is on.
  • If you think that you might fail your emissions test, consider searching for a shop that offers free retesting. This allows you to return to the shop after receiving any repairs you need without paying an additional fee.

Other Things to Check

  • Be sure both headlights, taillights, and their adjacent turn signals work.
  • The horn and gauges must function properly to meet PA state inspection requirements.

If Your Vehicle Doesn’t Pass

As the owner of a vehicle, you have the right to make repairs on your vehicle and to correct any damage that causes your vehicle to fail inspection. The PA Safety Inspection manual states the following:

"The vehicle owner shall be allowed to make his (or her) own repairs or to select anyone else he (or she) desires to do them for him."

However, keep in mind that, as soon as your vehicle leaves the repair shop, you’ll need to get a completely new inspection when you return. This is because the inspector doesn’t know what type of additional damage you might have run into in between the time when you got your first inspection and when you returned.

If you’ve recently been in an accident and you need your car repaired before you even think about visiting the inspection center, contact Peruzzi Collision Center -- we’re Bensalem, PA’s best collision repair center.

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