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What Mechanics Look For During Your Car’s Annual Inspection

You know that in every state, you must get a mechanic to inspect your vehicle once per year. They will look it over and make sure it is safe for driving. They have a checklist they use. Once they finish, they will approve your vehicle or tell you the repairs you must make to drive it safely.

In this article, we’ll talk about what a mechanic looks for and doesn’t look for when they inspect your car in Florida. You should know this when you take your vehicle in for its yearly inspection, so you have some idea whether it will likely pass or not.

Does Florida Vehicle Inspection Involve Any Checks That Don’t Occur In Other States?

Florida vehicle inspection doesn’t generally cover anything that other states don’t cover. In other words, you can expect the same basic inspection in Florida, Ohio, South Carolina, or anywhere else.

When a mechanic looks at your car, they must use a 200-page rule book. They study that book and know the contents thoroughly before they can legally inspect your vehicle.

Often, they must study for weeks or months before taking a test indicating they know the inspection rules well enough to do them. When you go see a mechanic at a Florida garage for a car inspection, make sure they have the stickers showing they can legally do it.

Look for a number indicating they have the state government authorization. If they don’t, go somewhere else.

What Florida Mechanics Look For When They Inspect Your Car

When a Florida mechanic looks at your car during the inspection process, they will check to ensure that all the lights work. That includes the tail lights, brake lights, and headlights.

They will also check the brakes. If the brakes show too much wear and need replacing, the mechanic might fail your car for that reason. Brakes matter with vehicles, so it makes sense your mechanic will look at those carefully.

They will look at your safety equipment. You must have working seatbelts for the driver, passenger’s seat, and the rear seats as well.

They will look at your car to make sure it does not have too much rust. They will particularly scrutinize the underside. If you often leave the car out in the weather, that eats away at the vehicle’s undercarriage as time goes on. That’s why leaving your vehicle in a garage as much as possible makes sense.

What Else Will They Check?

They will look at the battery to make sure that it’s functional. They will look at the engine closely as well. Mechanics will also look at your catalytic converter, your dashboard, all of your fluid levels, and your tire integrity.

If they see something wrong with any of these vital components, they might fail your car.

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What They Do Not Look For During Car Inspections

Some car problems will not warrant a mechanic failing your vehicle during the inspection process. The inspector does have a little discretion in this area.

They will not look at whether your car has the latest safety features. Seatbelts have been around long enough that all cars need them, but you don’t necessarily need blind spot detection, lane departure alerts, or anything like that.

In Florida, you should also know the mechanic will not do an emissions test when inspecting your car. That matters since some states do require this.

However, just because Florida does not require an emissions test during the inspection process, that does not mean you can set up your car so that it obviously pollutes whenever you drive it. Cars come with air pollution control devices. You cannot legally alter one of these. If you do, and the mechanic sees that, they might fail your car.

In Florida, a mechanic will turn your car’s ignition on during the inspection process and run it for a couple of minutes. If the vehicle keeps spewing exhaust for more than five seconds after the mechanic turns on the ignition, they might fail your car for that.

What Happens If Your Car Fails?

If a Florida mechanic fails your car during the inspection process, you can legally demand an explanation. You must still pay the inspection charge even if the vehicle fails.

If the mechanic finds something wrong with the car and fails it, you can ask them whether they’ll fix it for you. Many times, they can swap out a faulty part or do any other necessary repairs.

If you don’t like the price quote the mechanic gives you, you can always go with someone else, or you can try fixing the issue yourself if you know cars and have some mechanic skills. You can also go to another mechanic and ask them to inspect the vehicle. You might get a better result.

Usually, though, if one mechanic fails your car, another will as well. Mechanics generally take inspections seriously. If they don’t fail a vehicle that clearly needs repairs, the state can yank their license. At that point, they can’t inspect cars anymore, and they want to retain that right. Car inspections bring garages money.

Florida Car Inspections Help Keep You And The Roads Safe

Car inspections might seem annoying sometimes, but they must happen. If you don’t get someone who knows cars to inspect your vehicle periodically, they won’t catch obvious problems that might cause breakdowns or wrecks.

Keep your car running smoothly with a yearly inspection in Florida, and take it for tune-ups if you’re going on a trip. You can also top off your fluid levels, change the oil whenever you reach the appropriate mileage, and do other preventative maintenance that responsible car owners should remember.

Also, don’t shoot the messenger if a mechanic says your car didn’t pass inspection. They want to help you, assuming they’re honest.

If you suspect dishonesty, report the mechanic and garage to the state. They can check and make sure every garage maintains its integrity.

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