Detailed Inspection Information
What's Involved In The Inspection Of Your Vehicle
The following is a list of vehicle components that will be checked and steps taken by your Vermont state approved inspection station:
CHECKING THE VEHICLE COMPONENTS
- Fill out vehicle work order for inspection
- Verify registration certificate is current, accurate, and in agreement with vehicle
- Verify insurance document is current, accurate, and in agreement with vehicle
- Verify public VIN on vehicle dashboard and match to vehicle documentation
- Verify vehicle is equipped with seat belts (1964 & newer) and verify functionality
- Check interior rearview mirror
- Check exterior rearview mirror
- Check windshield wipers for correct operation and condition of blades
- Check bumpers and fenders
- Check for protruding metal
- Check for sun visors
Tires & Wheels:
- Measure tires for wear
- Check tires for cuts, snags, and cracks
- Check tires for bumps, bulges, and knots
- Check tire labeling for restricted usage
- Check wheel bolts, nuts, or lugs
- Check wheel for damage
- Check function of TPMS system
- Check for proper tire size
- Check for proper inflation
- Ensure tires do not protrude past fender walls
Steering & Suspension:
- Check for lash or free play in steering system
- Check power steering system for operation, fluid level, and leaks
- Check ball joints for movement
- Check ball joint assembly for seizure due to rust
- If ball joint movement is detected, check tolerance with tool (use manufacturer spec's)
- Check torsion bars or springs
- Check tire rod ends
- Check tie rods for seizure due to rust
- Check condition of shock absorbers and struts
- Check wheel bearings
- Check axle shaft
- Check for brake failure and ABS indicator lamp operation
- Check brake system integrity
- Check parking brake functionality
- Check brake failure lamp
- Check master cylinder lines and wheel brakes for signs of leakage
- Check brake hoses for integrity, cracks, and wear
- Road test brakes (stop within 25 feet at 20 mph)
- Verify critical vehicle instrumentation (odometer & speedometer)
Lighting & Electrical System:
- Perform a visual check of all lamp functionality
- Ensure fog and driving lights illuminate with corresponding headlight beams
- Check headlight aim
- Check switches and functions of directional controls
- Check defroster function
- Check horn function
- Check for exposed wiring for damage and poor connections
- Check lights for cracks, leaks, or insufficient repairs
- Check for unauthorized after-market lighting
- Check airbag readiness light
- Check windshield glass for cracks, chips, and discoloration
- Check left front window for visibility and operation of all windows
- Check for incorrect sticker placement or other visual restrictions
- Check glass to the left & right of the driver position for after-market tinting
- Check integrity of floor pan and trunk area
- Check frame and body mounts
- Check vehicle muffler
- Check for after-market uncertified muffler
- Check for loose joints or leaking joints
- Check for leaks caused by corrosion, seams, or patches on muffler or tailpipe
- Check tailpipe end for restrictions
- Check for exhaust system modifications allowing excessive noise
- Ensure no part of the exhaust system passes through the passenger compartment
- Ensure system is securely attached
- Check for vapor or fuel leakage
- Check for proper routing of fuel lines
- Check fuel tank and/or auxiliary fuel tank, or jug stored in vehicle
- Check catalytic converter if so equipped
- Ensure fuel cap is present and secure
- Perform OBDII check (1996 & newer vehicles - use CAN protocol scan tool)
- Fill out OBDII form
- Fill out inspection sticker, use correct numeric insert & affix to vehicle
- Fill out inspection log sheet
THE ON-BOARD DIAGNOSTICS (OBDII) INSPECTION
OBD technology benefits motorists, automotive service technicians, and our environment. It is beneficial for motorists because it monitors the vehicle's performance every time it is driven and identifies problems immediately, allowing repairs to be made before more serious problems develop. It is beneficial for technicians because it helps them to accurately diagnose problems, allowing for efficient and proper repairs. And it is beneficial for our environment and our health because it identifies problems that cause vehicle emissions to increase.
What is OBD and how does it work?
OBD technology was developed in the 1980's by vehicle manufacturers to help technicians diagnose and service the computerized engine management systems of modern vehicles. A new generation of OBD (often referred to as OBDII) is present on 1996 and newer vehicles. OBDII monitors all components that make up the engine management system. It can detect a malfunction or deterioration of these components usually well before the driver becomes aware of any problem. When a problem is detected, the OBD system turns on a warning light on the instrument panel to alert the driver of the need to have the vehicle checked by a service technician.
What does the OBD check involve?
First, the vehicle is checked to see if the Malfunction Indicator Light ("MIL", commonly called the "check engine" or "service engine soon" light) on the instrument panel illuminates when the ignition key is turned to the "on" position and then when the engine is running. Next, an electronic device known as a scan tool is connected to the vehicle, and used to communicate with the vehicle's on-board computer. The on-board computer is checked to confirm that the vehicle has completed it's self-tests, to determine if the computer has attempted to turn on the Malfunction Indicator Light, and if applicable, to retrieve diagnostic trouble codes. The results are recorded (see sample of blank form below), and the scan tool is disconnected from the vehicle. The entire OBD check typically takes less than 5 minutes.
Why is the OBD check needed?
Motor vehicles are the largest source of toxic and ozone-forming air pollutants in Vermont. While modern vehicles are getting much cleaner due to newer engine management technology and emission control components, emissions stay low only when all these systems are working properly. OBD technology helps to ensure that vehicles are operating as designed, and the OBD check ensures that the vehicle's OBD system is doing its job.
What if my vehicle failed the OBD check?
If your vehicle failed, it must be repaired in order to receive a new inspection sticker. Your vehicle should be repaired by a qualified, trained automotive service technician equipped with the appropriate diagnostic and repair tools. Depending on your vehicle's age and mileage, repairs may be covered by the vehicle manufacturer's warranty. Refer to your vehicle owner's manual for specific information on warranty coverage. The reason(s) your vehicle failed should be identified on the front of the form (above). Following are the possible reasons for failing the OBD check:
- The vehicle's OBD system connector has been removed or is otherwise not working properly. The OBD check cannot be completed if the connector is missing or is not working properly.
- The Malfunction Indicator Light does not illuminate at all when the ignition key is turned to the "on" position. When the vehicle's OBD system detects a problem it turns on the warning light to alert the driver to a problem. However, if the light can not illuminate because the bulb has burned out or is otherwise not working, the driver would not be alerted to the problem.
- And 4) The malfunction indicator light on the instrument panel is on (and/or commanded on by the vehicle's on-board computer) while the engine is running. This indicates that the OBD system has identified a problem which must be repaired. In this case, one or more diagnostic trouble codes will also be reported by the vehicle's OBD system. These codes should be written on the front of the form (above), and will help your technician diagnose and repair your vehicle.
What if my vehicle's OBD system is "not ready"?
If three or more of the items listed under "Readiness Status" on the front of the above form are indicated as "N" (Not Ready), the inspection of your vehicle's OBD system cannot be completed. While this does not necessarily mean that your vehicle has a problem, it does indicate that your vehicle's OBD system has not yet completed it's tests, and problems may be present, but not yet identified. A recently disconnected or discharged (run down) battery, or recent servicing using a scan tool are the most likely reasons for a vehicle's OBD system being "not ready". Note that there are a few vehicles which should not be rejected as "not ready". Ask your inspection station or the Department of Motor Vehicles for further information about these exceptions.
How do I get my vehicle's OBD system "ready"?
The vehicle should be driven under a variety of normal operating conditions in order for the OBD system to complete it's tests. These operating conditions include a mix of highway driving and stop and go, city type driving, and at least one overnight-off period. Your vehicle owner's manual should provide more specific information on getting your vehicle's OBD system ready.
For more information: Ask your inspection station for a copy of the OBD brochure, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles at 802-828-2067, or visit us online at dmv.vermont.gov .
For additional information about the Vermont Inspection/Maintenance Program, Official Vermont Inspection Stations, or Certified Inspection Mechanics please contact your local Motor Vehicle Inspector or call Montpelier, VT at 802-828-2067.