Can A Car Pass Inspection With Maintenance Light On?

Updated October, 2020
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You can't pass a vehicle inspection with the maintenance light on. If an inspector sees this on, they can easily find the issues and fail you—so don't try and hide it. The only way to pass inspection after failure is to get the proper repairs done.

What is a car inspection?

A car inspection is a process in which a state-certified mechanic inspects your car looking for specific problems. These issues can include exhaust issues, air intake issues, gas leaks, and other dangerous malfunctions. Some states also require an emissions test that tests what kind of fumes your car is putting into the air. If during these tests, your vehicle fails, you may not be able to drive it.

When do you need a car inspection, and why

Cars inevitably break down and begin to not to function correctly. When this happens, it isn't safe to drive that vehicle. To keep dangerous vehicles off the road, states require inspections. Different states have different regulations for when your car needs to get inspected. Below are a few common reasons for inspections.

  • Moving to a new state - If you move into a state that requires a vehicle inspection, you need to get an inspection to register that car.
  • When your state says to - 33 states have some form of test, cars must pass to get registered. They can happen once a year or sooner depending on the state.
  • Transferring ownership - Some states require an inspection anytime a vehicle changes owners.

Reasons a car can fail a car inspection.

Different states have different requirements for passing inspection. While many things can fail your inspection, most of them are easy to see before an inspection and get fixed. Below are some common failures found in inspections.

  • Malfunctioning Oxygen Sensor- This regulates how much oxygen is entering the cabin of your car.
  • Missing Catalytic Converter- This keeps your engine catalyst from leaking into the environment.
  • Gas Leak- Any leak in your gas tank will fail you. Even a loose gas cap.

Will you fail if your maintenance light is on?

For the most part, a maintenance light means you will fail an inspection. A vehicle's computer looks for the signs of a failing issue and alerts you to it. The light being on means that there is an issue with your car. Some are simple to fix, or some could be as bad as a missing catalytic converter.

What happens if I fail my car inspection?

If you fail a car inspection, the car can't be registered or sold until it is retested and passed. You must retest the vehicle within 20 days of the failure. Some states offer free re-inspection, to a point, and then you have to pay. An emissions test failure can be rectified if you get the proper repairs done and show the receipts.

Can you get a car inspection without insurance?

Most states require insurance to even get an inspection, and they certainly require it to put your car on the road! If your current policy is lacking the coverage you need, we can help you find the right insurance provider.

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Call an insurance expert
Our team will help you find the lowest insurance prices.
866-996-3156