What the Vehicle Inspection Covers in California

Parts of a Vehicle That are Covered in Inspection

The state of California requires vehicle inspections, which are tests of the vehicle’s equipment and features. The goal of a vehicle inspection is to make sure the car is safe to operate and drive on the roadways. If repairs are required, they are identified and specified during the vehicle inspection. The driver must make all required repairs or stop driving the vehicle. Here’s what the vehicle inspection covers in Poway, CA.

Internal Inspection

The internal inspection covers all the major internal vehicle parts that are responsible for proper operation. As part of an internal inspection, the examiner checks the following:

  • Oil level
  • Power steering fluid
  • Coolant level
  • Hoses/leaks
  • Engine compartment belts
  • Safe start
  • Windshield washer fluid level
  • Air, oil pressure and temperature gauges
  • Emergency equipment
  • Wipers/washers
  • Ammeter/voltmeter
  • Windshield and mirrors
  • Horn
  • Lights/reflectors
  • Parking brake
  • Defroster/heater
  • Air, hydraulic and parking brake checks
  • Safety belt
  • Service brake check

Once all of these components are checked, the examiner will conduct an external inspection (or vice versa).

External Inspection

The external inspection is usually fairly quick unless there are a lot of problems. It covers the following:

  • Suspension system
  • Steering linkage, boxes, and hoses
  • Brake system
  • Wheels and tires
  • Fuel tank
  • Exhaust system
  • Doors, windows, mirrors
  • Frame
  • Driveshaft
  • Splash guards
  • Doors, lifts, and ties

If any issues are identified, the examiner will let you know what they are. You’ll need to fix any identified problems before you can register your vehicle in the state of California. Once you make all the necessary repairs, you can bring your vehicle back to the inspection station. It should pass inspection this time, as long as all repairs were made to standards. Once you pass inspection, you’ll be able to register your vehicle and drive it legally.

What Happens if You Drive an Unregistered Vehicle

If you continue to drive your vehicle even if it fails inspection and isn’t registered, you will violate California Vehicle Code 5204(a). Consequences of doing this include a base fine of $25 plus a penalty assessment, which could be four to nine times the fine base amount.

Written by WOW Auto Care

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