If you live in PA, you are familiar with those two stickers on the bottom left corner on the windshield. Of course they’re an eye sore, but these stickers ensure your care is safe to drive for you, your passengers, other drivers and the environment.
The states required safety inspection and emission testing annually on your vehicle. Every.damn.year. And every damn year, doesn’t it seem like you need something for $300 or more? In my auto airhead days I would cross my fingers at every inspection just praying the mechanic or service advisor told me I was all good and only needed to pay $65 for the job. But it never seemed to happen that way for me.
Did you know all the things that happen during the PA state safety and emission inspection? It’s a lot. Let’s break it down for you with the issues that cause you to fail, what needs to be done, and how much it will cost.
Check & Fix
|Check Engine Light||Let’s start with an easy one. If this light is on or not operating at all you will fail inspection. The check engine light illuminates because the car is burning fuel inefficiently. Either using too much gas or dumping too much pollutants out the exhaust.||Varies greatly based on reason for light.|
|Wipers||Must be operating and not torn. Replace.||Less than $50.|
|Mirrors||Must have two of the following three mirrors and they cannot be cracked – Rearview, Passenger sideview, Driver sideview. Replace with new or used mirrors.||Mirror with cool electrical effects like turn signals and defrost cost more money to replace. Normally $150 or less.|
|Horn||Horn must work.||Price depends on issue. May require diagnostics.|
|Windows||Windows must go up and down. If one of them doesn’t, something electrical or mechanic that allows the window to go up and down is broken. Doesn’t require a lot of diag. Normally a window motor or window regulator must be replaced.||Usually less than $200 per window|
|Seatbelt||Must operate. May be jammed or extremely frayed.||Varies based on why its not operating|
|Windshield||Cracked windshield on the driver’s side or that is too large to be safe must be replaced.||Less than $300-400 depending on car|
|Headlights, taillights, turn signal, and all other exterior lights||All exterior lights must be operating.||Depends on if bulb is blown or there is a deeper electrical issue that requires diag. If a blown taillight expect to pay $10 or less. If is a blown headlight they vary from $20-$200 depending on your car.|
|Light assembly||Headlight or taillight assembly’s (plastic housing the light is encased) cannot have damage or cracks larger than a quarter. Entire assembly must be replaced. Placing red duct tape over the plastic is clever but will not pass inspection!||Can get one used which will be cheaper. $150.|
|Engine Mounts||Hold engine in place under the hood so it doesn’t bounce around and vibrate while drive. New mounts must be installed.||Varies based on how many mounts need to be replace (most engine have 3 or less) and the location of mount. These can range from $150 – $700.|
|Exhaust||Exhaust leaks (will make a loud noise). Repair or replace exhaust.||Varies but normally less than $500|
|Exhaust||Power steering fluid and engine oil leaking onto exhaust (because flammable). Must find leak and fix. Repair or replace any damaged exhaust.||Varies based on where the leak is occurring.|
|Tires||Tire tread needs to be 2/32” or thicker to pass. Replace.||$100-200 per tire.|
|Brakes||Brake pad thickness must be 2/32” or thicker to pass. Rotors may also need to be replaced.||Look to spend $150 per axle to replace just pads, $300-400 to replace pads and rotors.|
|Brake lines||Brakes lines will fail if they are leaking or excessively corrosive and will need to be replaced.||Varies depending on length that needs to be replaced. Very labor intensive so look to spend at least $350 and up.|
|Steering and Suspension||Any excessive looseness of wheel or hub bearings, tie rod ends, ball joints, links and rods. Rubber/plastic bushings cracked, crazed, falling off or missing. Parts will need to be replaced.||Varies but look to spend at LEAST $200 and up to $800|
|Struts and Shocks||Leak and wear from use over time. Parts must be replaced.||Look to spend about $300 per strut and up.|
|Axles||Steering axle boots making excessive noise or leaking. Axle must be replaced||Look to spend about $300 per axle and up.|
|Car Body||No excessive body damage – safety issue and will need to be taken to an auto body shop.||I hope you have insurance!|
|Car Frame||No excessive rust on frame – safety issue.||Send car to it’s funeral!|
The emission inspection essentially tests how much pollutants your car is putting out into the environment. Cars have many sophisticated parts and sensors that manage and control how much gas your engine uses and how much junk comes out of your tailpipe! When something is wrong with these parts or sensor the check engine light will come on.
If the check engine light is illuminated, it will fail emission inspection. A diagnostic and repair must be performed and the light must be reset before your car will pass the emission inspection. Resetting the checking engine light after a repair takes some time and requires the car to be driven for at least 25 miles.
If the check engine lightbulb is blown out, your car will fail inspection. The lightbulb will need to be replaced.
You DO NOT have to get an emission inspection if:
- Your car is registered in the following counties in PA: Adams, Armstrong, Bedford, Bradford, Butler, Cameron, Carbon, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Elk, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lawrence, McKean, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Wayne and Wyoming. If your car is registered in one of these counties, you will only need a safety inspection and you will get one inspection sticker.
- You have driven your car 5,000 miles or less in 365 days since your last emission inspection
- You have new vehicle that has driven less than 5000 miles
Check engine light repairs can be costly depending on the amount of diagnosis that is required and the part that needs to be replace. So much goes into diagnosing check engine lights, so be patient and be prepared to pay not just for the repair but for the amount of time it took to figure out why you needed the repair.
Set up an appointment with us for your inspection today! 484-461-4693
For more information about car inspections, emission, repairs and costs order The Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide today!