Serving Justice

Car Inspection Laws in Texas

December 11, 2022Automotive Defects

If you own a vehicle in Texas, there are state inspection laws that drivers must abide by. Doing so will keep you from being pulled over and possibly prevent an accident. 

Car Inspection Laws in Texas

What Happens at a Car Inspection in Texas?

State inspections take between 15 to 30 minutes while an inspector examines the following to ensure they are safe for use: 

  • Car horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Car mirrors
  • Steering function
  • Seat belts
  • Braking system
  • Car tires
  • License plate lamp
  • Beam indicators
  • Turn signals
  • Wheel assembly
  • Exhaust system and emissions
  • Headlights
  • Tail lights
  • Rear red light reflectors
  • VIN number
  • Window tint
  • Gas cap

Once a car passes inspection, a sticker will be placed on the windshield, and you will be given documentation. The paperwork can be submitted to the state when it is time to renew vehicle registration.

Documentation Required for Car Inspections

To have your car inspected, you must bring the following documentation with you to the inspection site: 

  • Photo ID: You must have current and valid photo identification, but both in-state and out-of-state identification is acceptable. 
  • Proof of Insurance: Documentation that demonstrates proof of auto insurance in the state of Texas. If you are a new resident, you will have to update your policy before your inspection date. 

If you fail to bring these documents, inspectors will typically refuse to inspect your vehicle.  

How Often Do Cars Have to Be Inspected, and Where? 

The state of Texas requires vehicles to pass safety inspections once a year. Otherwise, you cannot renew your registration, and there are no exceptions. Inspections take place at centers approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Residents can look up nearby locations online through the DPS website

Texas Law on Car Inspections for New Residents

If you have recently moved to Texas, new residents are required to register their vehicles within 30 days. As a result, they must schedule and pass a car inspection before that deadline. Out-of-state inspections will not be accepted. 

Cost of Car Inspections in Texas

Inspections for passenger cars, trucks, or SUVs in Texas cost $25.50, but the fee is not due at the testing site. Instead, drivers must pay it when renewing their registration. Car registration is an additional $14.25; therefore, most residents pay $39.75 total. 

Common Reasons Why Cars Fail Inspection in Texas

Vehicles often fail annual safety inspections in Texas due to one of the following:  

Broken Lights

Headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turning indicators have to be in working order. If the lights are broken or burned out, the car will not pass inspection.

Worn Out Tires

A car will fail inspection if a tire’s tread is too low. Worn-out tires increase the chance of a driver losing control on a wet or icy road.  

Cracked Windshield

If a crack on a windshield or window is large enough to obstruct a driver’s view, the car will fail inspection

Faulty Brakes

A car’s brakes must be in good condition and working as they should.  

Broken Windshield Wipers

If a car’s windshield wipers are damaged or do not work, the vehicle will not pass. 

Window Tint

If a car’s tint is so dark that it prevents a driver from seeing clearly, the inspector will not pass the car.

When a car fails its safety inspection, drivers typically have 15 days to fix the issue and have it re-tested. If the vehicle fails inspection once more, the driver cannot renew their registration.