Why Vehicles Fail North Carolina State Inspections

Why Vehicles Fail North Carolina State Inspections

The state of North Carolina requires most vehicles to pass an annual inspection, which consists of a Safety inspection, as well as an Emissions inspection. The DMV of North Carolina won’t renew your vehicle’s registration until you’ve passed inspection. Stickers are not used in North Carolina, instead, your results will be transmitted electronically to the DMV database. You have 90 days to get your vehicle inspected, before the expiry of the tags. Here are several common problems that can lead to a failed NC state inspection.

Check Engine Light

There are various conditions, ranging from mild to severe, that can result in the illumination of the check engine light. The best way to determine the reason behind the check engine light’s illumination is to have an experienced technician perform a computer diagnostic. If you buy a used vehicle, especially if it’s an older one, make sure the check engine light is working properly.

Cut Wiper Blades

This particular failure is not unusual. If the wiper blade is torn on the ends or doesn’t clean the windshield effectively, you’ll fail the inspection. Additionally, if your windshield has a crack that results in a cut wiper blade, you’ll fail the inspection.

Burned Out Headlights and Tail Lights

If you notice that any of your signal lamps or headlights are not working properly, it’s important to get them fixed as quickly as possible. If you don’t get them fixed on time, you’ll fail the inspection and possibly receive a ticket for driving with improper equipment.

Insufficient Tire Tread Depth

Most tire manufacturers recommend replacement when tires reach the last 4/32” of their tread depth. Mismatched tread depths between 2 tires can also lead to a safety hazard, especially on the front tires.

Excessive Brake Wear

If your brake pad or shoes have not been serviced for a while, thus being worn down too far, can lead to interference with the brake function, creating a safety hazard in the process.


This is not the full list of requirements, included in the North CarolinaState Inspection, because they are thorough and detailed. In general, if you service your vehicle regularly and in compliance with the OEM-recommended scheduled maintenance, you have nothing to worry about when it’s time for the NC state inspection.




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