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#4552808 - 10/24/17 09:35 AM Virginia State Vehicle Inspection; How Strict?
TinyVoices Online   content


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 481
Loc: Vienna, VA
I will be relocating to VA next week with my Fiancee. We have lived in CO here for 3 years and are relocating for work. We are originally from MD around the northern DC area so we are familiar with NoVA, but have never lived in the state.

I'm wondering how strict these yearly state safety inspections are and what you will fail for. Here in CO we haven't got any vehicle inspections, apart from emissions testing every 2 years which is basically a joke as you can pay like $200 if you fail and get a pass anyway. People drive anything on the street here. Tube chassis pro-mods, rock buggies, etc without any issue. Cops just don't care.

In MD we had emissions every 2 years which was a similar deal where you have to pay some money if you fail and then get a pass. No big deal. In MD you only need your vehicle inspected once after you buy it prior to registering it, and then not ever again, making modifications not a real issue.

How strict is VA on these yearly inspections and emissions tests? Will they fail you for silly things or is it pretty straight forward? In MD if you have tread on your tires and no major leaks, you pass.

Both of the vehicles in my sig should pas just fine I assume, but my other cars probably will not.

Thanks!
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4552836 - 10/24/17 09:57 AM Re: Virginia State Vehicle Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
zzyzzx Offline


Registered: 05/18/12
Posts: 4372
Loc: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
In addition to the inspections, look into the annual car tax.

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#4552838 - 10/24/17 09:58 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
cpayne5 Offline


Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 605
Loc: Virginia
Completely depends on the inspector, which I really hate (totally subjective and arbitrary). There is a long list of things that are supposed to be checked, but the shops are only allowed to charge $16, so very few things get checked most of the time. Mainly obvious stuff. Tires, brakes, wipers, lights. Sometimes they'll dig deeper, but rarely.

Where I live in Virginia, we don't have emissions tests, so I can't speak to that. I do know they have rolling emissions tests now and place sensors around major roads that can check you on the fly, so you don't have to go in to a shop.

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#4552847 - 10/24/17 10:04 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
SubieRubyRoo Online   content


Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 1125
Loc: Winchester, Indiana
My brother is a VA state inspector, and I completely agree with CPayne. It pays to find a local shop with an inspector and build a relationship. They will not overlook the obvious because they can lose their license (it can severely restrict their livelihood when all major shops require state certs) but some minor things may slide. Agree with everything Cpayne says... make sure all signals work, no cracks or damage to windshield in the line of view, etc.

Where are you relocating to in VA? Might give you my brother's work addy. smile

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#4552848 - 10/24/17 10:05 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: SubieRubyRoo]
TinyVoices Online   content


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 481
Loc: Vienna, VA
Originally Posted By: SubieRubyRoo
My brother is a VA state inspector, and I completely agree with CPayne. It pays to find a local shop with an inspector and build a relationship. They will not overlook the obvious because they can lose their license (it can severely restrict their livelihood when all major shops require state certs) but some minor things may slide. Agree with everything Cpayne says... make sure all signals work, no cracks or damage to windshield in the line of view, etc.

Where are you relocating to in VA? Might give you my brother's work addy. smile


Vienna.

I hear basically any aftermarket exhaust is illegal there?
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4552855 - 10/24/17 10:16 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
cpayne5 Offline


Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 605
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: TinyVoices
Originally Posted By: SubieRubyRoo
My brother is a VA state inspector, and I completely agree with CPayne. It pays to find a local shop with an inspector and build a relationship. They will not overlook the obvious because they can lose their license (it can severely restrict their livelihood when all major shops require state certs) but some minor things may slide. Agree with everything Cpayne says... make sure all signals work, no cracks or damage to windshield in the line of view, etc.

Where are you relocating to in VA? Might give you my brother's work addy. smile


Vienna.

I hear basically any aftermarket exhaust is illegal there?


According to the manual, a loud exhaust cannot be cause for failure. You can get a ticket from an officer, though. As far as exhausts are concerned, what I've found is that they care about leaks and the existence of a catalytic converter (where originally equipped). No leaks in front of or under the cabin (under a truck bed is ok, though...).

Here's the inspection manual.
http://www.vsp.state.va.us/downloads/Motor_Vehicle_Safety_Inspection_Manual_(September_08_2017).pdf

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#4552857 - 10/24/17 10:17 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
cpayne5 Offline


Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 605
Loc: Virginia
I used that manual to prove an inspector wrong once. He gave me the sticker, but banned me from ever coming back.

I hate Virginia safety inspections. Pointless!

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#4552858 - 10/24/17 10:17 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
TinyVoices Online   content


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 481
Loc: Vienna, VA
Ive read pages of forums of people getting exhaust tickets for quality aftermarket exhausts even if they still have all the required equipment present because the exhaust is not "stock". I have a catback on my mr2 and while it is not loud and sounds quite good, I worry ill be hassled and fail emissions or inspections because of it.
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4552865 - 10/24/17 10:23 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
glock19 Offline


Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 763
Loc: Virginia
I lived in Arlington for a few years and NoVa is not strict per say, but not lenient either. The emissions test is just a sensor and it's pass/fail. If you fail it, they're going to make you replace the emissions equipment on your car no two ways about it. The inspection they're definitely going to check safety items like tires, suspension, brakes, horn, lights, windshield, and seat belts. If you pass those items then you'll be fine.
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#4552871 - 10/24/17 10:25 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
cpayne5 Offline


Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 605
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: TinyVoices
Ive read pages of forums of people getting exhaust tickets for quality aftermarket exhausts even if they still have all the required equipment present because the exhaust is not "stock". I have a catback on my mr2 and while it is not loud and sounds quite good, I worry ill be hassled and fail emissions or inspections because of it.


A catback won't make you fail emissions, as it's after the cat. As long as it's not obnoxiously loud, and you're not being obnoxious with it, you shouldn't have any issues.

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#4552873 - 10/24/17 10:27 AM Re: Virginia State Vehicle Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
loneryder Offline


Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 489
Loc: WV
Every 2 yrs they will hook up to your vehicles computer to check for emissions. The results go directly from their computer to the State. During annual inspection they will remove a wheel to check brakes, check front end for excessive play and visually inspect for cats and exhaust leaks. Yes some are lazier than others but the State police run the system and they are strict. I had a modified Miata with no cat and had to register it in a county that did not have emissions.
I would rather be moving the other direction, Vienna to Denver. Hopefully you will live close to your work otherwise you will spend a couple hrs of your day in traffic.

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#4552876 - 10/24/17 10:30 AM Re: Virginia State Vehicle Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
TinyVoices Online   content


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 481
Loc: Vienna, VA
Luckily my MR2 is emissions exempt beginning next year, so thats not too much of an issue. Was more worried about getting tickets for an aftermarket exhaust.
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4552883 - 10/24/17 10:37 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
Bottom_Feeder Offline


Registered: 12/07/08
Posts: 3010
Loc: Occupied Virginia
I've been living in VA since 2001. They are rather strict where I am which is fine because it keeps the majority of junkers off the road but every county is different.

I have been going to more or less the same place for years so I can't tell you if my experience is typical for VA residents or not. The guys I've gone to actually do go over the car and check everything. I've been failed for bad bulbs before (which they naturally will take $20 to fix on the spot) and warned about developing leaks, an ill-sounding power window motor and a dying ignition switch, and given a heads up about worn tires and brakes, but the only thing I was failed for was a torn steering rack boot.

So yes, they appear to actually inspect your car and will fail it if need be. They aren't pushovers.

Safety inspection is required once a year here which is the sticker on the windshield. Emissions is every year or every two if you registered your car for two, which is the stickers on your plate.

And yes, personal property tax is lame. I've had to fork over about $350 each year for the last three years for my '15 Accord.

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#4552897 - 10/24/17 10:53 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
cpayne5 Offline


Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 605
Loc: Virginia
What part of VA, Bottom_Feeder?

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#4552936 - 10/24/17 11:30 AM Re: Virginia State Inspection; How Strict? [Re: TinyVoices]
Silverado12 Offline


Registered: 02/26/13
Posts: 3114
Loc: Central Virginia
Personal property tax is high here. I pay close to 2K (if you want to play, you gotta pay and boats pay full rate) per year but if you have a car over 20 years old you don't pay. If you have a car 25 years old you can get antique plates and don't have to get it inspected. Inspections aren't bad here, as you would actually want to fix the stuff they find wrong anyways. Certain parts of the state require emissions testing; down here in Richmond we don't.
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