What to Do Before Getting a Car Inspection in PA

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Is it time for you to schedule an inspection for your car or truck this year? If you’re in Pennsylvania, you probably already know that your vehicle needs to be inspected annually, including emissions testing for most vehicles. PA requires both these inspections to ensure your vehicle is safe to drive and not leaking excessive toxic fumes into the atmosphere.

This year, don’t just race to any old inspection station before the months on your stickers expire! Make sure you take care of your vehicle, and your wallet, by following these steps for what to do before getting a car inspection in PA.

Check Your Inspection Stickers

If you’ve gone through a PA inspection previously, you will find two stickers in the bottom left corner of your windshield with a month and a year. These stickers are your emissions testing sticker and your safety inspection sticker, respectively, and they signify that your car or truck’s inspection passing status is valid until the last day of the listed month.

Make sure to be aware of when your next vehicle safety inspection should be scheduled. Even if your time is nowhere near up, you can save yourself a lot of hassle by creating a calendar event on the first day of the sticker month to remind yourself that your car will be due for inspection. If you have multiple cars in your household, you will have to have all your vehicles inspected when they are due for inspection — not all at once, unless you got very lucky with your timing.

Inspection only needs to be done once per year, so don’t worry about getting it done more than a few weeks early — you’ll be wasting your money. Although there is nothing wrong with consulting an automotive technician if you notice something wrong with your vehicle, inspections are more for general safety purposes rather than for troubleshooting specific problems.

Document Vehicle Problems

During the inspection, the technicians will test your exhaust systems, electrical systems, wipers, fuel system, speedometer, and more, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll catch every possible problem with your vehicle. It’s a safety inspection, not a tune-up (although it may be wise to schedule an oil change at the same time and save yourself another trip).

If you’ve noticed anything unusual going on with your vehicle in the past few months, write it down so you can bring it up to the technician who’s inspecting your car. Try to document the following about any car problems:

  • What exactly you have noticed
  • How it is affecting your car’s condition, your driving habits, etc.
  • When the problem started
  • Before and after pictures (if relevant)

Gather Your Paperwork (and More)

To ensure that your vehicle can get through inspection smoothly without any delay, be sure you show up with all the paperwork you need. Take the time to gather these items before you schedule your inspection so you aren’t scrambling around on the day you’ll be headed to the inspection station.

Definitely Bring:

  • Your valid driver’s license (not a photocopy)
  • Your official PennDOT vehicle registration paperwork (not a photocopy)
  • Your car insurance information (not a photocopy)
  • Your car’s original notarized title (not a photocopy)
  • A valid source of payment (debit or credit cards are usually preferred over cash, but it will depend on where you go for your inspection)
  • Your notes about your car from the previous step
  • A pen and notepad

Consider Bringing:

  • Service records from previous work on your car
  • A spare set of car keys, if someone else will be picking up the car later
  • Your checkbook in case writing a check is required

Call the Right Technicians

The entire purpose of a vehicle safety inspection is to eliminate the risk of problems that could result in injuries or death to the driver, passengers, or pedestrians. So when you think about it, you’re putting your life in your technician’s hands. Choose technicians with experience, expertise, and dedication to their craft — such as our team here at LubeMaster in Philadelphia, PA! 

When it’s time for your next inspection, stop into LubeMaster, and we’ll take care of everything you need. We guarantee we’ll treat your vehicle like it’s one of our own, and that means no compromises on quality, service, or craftsmanship! 

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