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What Is Checked During a Massachusetts Car Inspection?

Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that require annual inspections of vehicles to ensure all vehicles are roadworthy and comply with the state’s safety and environmental standards. It is a state law that all vehicles are inspected annually. Owners who operate a car with an expired sticker or who drive an uninspected vehicle can be fined and have their license suspended. These types of violations can lead to increases in auto insurance premiums.

If you are new to the Bay State or are a new car owner in Massachusetts, you may want to know what to expect prior to going in for a car inspection. A car could fail the Massachusetts vehicle inspection for a few reasons, but some of the most common reasons include:

  • Brakes: The brakes on your car are one of the most critical component systems on your vehicle. They must function properly to ensure the safety of the driver, passengers in the car and everyone else on the road. During an inspection, the inspector will check the condition of the brake pads, rotors, and calipers, as well as the brake fluid level and the performance of the brakes themselves. The vehicle will not pass the inspection if these components are worn, damaged, or not functioning correctly.
  • Tires: Where the rubber hits the road is one of your car’s most critical safety systems. You could fail inspection if the tires do not have sufficient tread depth, and the tires must also be free of cuts, punctures, or other damage. During the examination, the tire pressure will be checked along with tread depth and the overall condition of the tires.
  • Emissions: Massachusetts has strict regulations regarding vehicle emissions to reduce the number of harmful pollutants released into the environment. The vehicle’s emissions system will be tested by hooking it up to a computer to ensure that your emissions systems are functioning correctly and meet the state’s standards.
  • Suspension: The suspension system is responsible for maintaining the vehicle’s stability and handling and must always be in good operating condition to ensure a safe driving experience and to keep the car under control and operating safely. During the inspection, the inspector will check the state of the shocks, struts, and other suspension components, including the vehicle’s overall alignment.
  • Lights: You need headlights to see while you’re driving at night, but beyond that, the lighting system is essential to make sure you are visible to other vehicles on the road, and they can clearly see when you are braking, turning, etc. All bulbs, including headlights, taillights, turn signals, and other lighting components, must be in working order to pass the inspection and provide adequate visibility to other drivers. Bulbs are often a quick fix, and some inspection stations can quickly install a new bulb for you during your inspection.
  • Steering: The steering system is the only connection between your hands and controls how your car handles on the road. During the inspection, the inspector will check the condition of the steering column, rack and pinion, and other steering components, as well as the overall performance of the steering system. If there is too much wear or “play” in the steering, you may fail inspection for obvious safety reasons.
  • Windshield and Windows: The windshield and other car windows are critical to your vehicle and not just to keep the bugs out of your teeth. Windshields must be in good condition to provide adequate visibility and protect you, and your passengers from wind and debris like flying pebbles kicked up by other cars on the road. If the windshield or any windows are cracked, chipped, or not functioning correctly, the vehicle may also fail inspection.

These are just a few of the most common reasons a car could fail the Massachusetts vehicle inspection.  It is essential to ensure that your vehicle is in good condition and meets the state’s standards to ensure a safe and reliable driving experience. If your car fails the inspection, it must be repaired as soon as possible to ensure that it complies with the state’s standards and is safe to drive.

Getting your car inspected is easy, and you can do so on time at one of 1,800 licensed stations in Massachusetts. If you need car insurance in Massachusetts, you can get a fast, free car insurance quote in Massachusetts today. If you live outside of Massachusetts, you can always contact a trusted local independent agent in your state to see if you could save money while getting outstanding coverage!

Please Note: This content is not intended to describe any specific coverage offered by MAPFRE Insurance. No coverage is provided, bound or guaranteed by this article. Available coverages, credits and discounts vary from state to state and are subject to eligibility criteria and policy terms/conditions, which will control in the event of conflict between this article and your insurance policy. For information about your policy, please review your individual policy contract and speak with your insurance representative.

MAPFRE Insurance® is a brand and service mark of MAPFRE U.S.A. Corp. and its affiliates, including American Commerce Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 4928-8), Citation Insurance CompanySM, The Commerce Insurance CompanySM, Commerce West Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 1372-2), MAPFRE Insurance CompanySM (Cal. COA 3039-5), and MAPFRE Insurance Company of FloridaSM.


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