Updated: November 16th, 2017
There are many things to love about the Commonwealth of Virginia, but if we're being really honest here, getting your annual vehicle inspection is probably not one of them. For one, it requires going out of your way to find a place that performs inspections, and on top of that, you have to pay money for the "privilege". But, no matter how much we may not look forward to it, the Virginia Vehicle State Inspection is a detailed process that all registered vehicle owners in Virginia are required to complete once per year, so you really can't get around it. So what exactly does this inspection entail? 


Below are some of the main points of the Required Official Inspection Procedure:

Let’s begin…

  • The old inspection sticker will be removed.
  • The vehicle is pulled into the inspection lane and prepped for inspection.

The brakes are inspected for the following:

  • Damaged, worn or missing parts. Defective, worn or contaminated brake linings or drums. Any potential leakage within the system, as well as proper brake fluid levels.
  • Damaged, defective, worn, or contaminated brake disc rotors or disc pads. Each inspection requires a minimum of two wheels and drums to be removed at the time of the inspection, for the sake of thoroughness.

The parking brake is inspected for the following:

  • Missing or broken parts or components.
  • Suitable adjustment.
  • Ensuring the brake is standard factory equipment, or at least an equivalent.

The headlights are inspected for the following:

·       Appropriate aim, type and output.

·       The physical condition of the lamps, wiring, lenses, and switch.

·       The presence of the high beam indicator.

        Other lights are inspected for the following:
        The appropriate type of bulbs, as well as the condition of the wiring, lenses and switch.

·       The aim of the driving and fog lamps. Proper illumination and color of all lamps and lenses. Note: Keep in mind that every vehicle is required to have a rear lamp that shows red light to the rear, as well as license plate lamps that illuminate the rear license plate with white lights.

Signal devices are inspected for the following:

·       The approved type of bulbs, as well as the condition of the wiring, lenses and switch.

·       The proper operation of the device.

·       Proper color and illumination of all lamps and lenses

Steering and suspension are inspected for the following:

·       Wear and tear in kingpins, bushings, ball joints, tie rod ends, and wheel bearings.

·       Any looseness of the gear box on the frame, as well as the condition of the steering arm and drag link.

·       Any play in the steering wheel, or leakage of fluid in the power steering system.

·       Axle and wheel alignment.

·       Any broken spring leaves, coil springs or worn-out shackles.

·       The roadworthiness of shock absorbers.

·       Signs of a weakened or broken frame.

·       Missing or broken engine mounts* The condition of the lift blocks.

The wheels, tires and rims are inspected for the following:

·       Tread depth and overall condition of the tires.

·       Tires that have mixed radials or biased plies.

·       Cracked, damaged or otherwise defective wheels that may pose as a safety hazard.

Mirrors are inspected for the following:

·       Cracked, damaged or otherwise defective wheels that may pose as a safety hazard.

·       How tightly or rigid they have been mounted.

·       The condition of the reflecting surface (e.g., cracks, excessive scratching, etc.).

·       Road visibility for at least 200 feet behind the vehicle.


The horn is inspected for the following:

·      Proper electrical connections, working horn button and proper mounting.

·      The sound of the horn must be audible at a minimum of 200 feet away.

The windshield and other windows are inspected for the following:·      


·      Proper type of safety glass being utilized.

·      Distortion, cloudiness, or other hindrances or obstructions to proper vision

·      Scratched, cracked, or broken glass.

      Note: If there is any sun shading material on the windshield that displays any kind of letters, numbers, words, or pictures, it cannot extend below the appropriate AS-1 line, or if there is no AS-1 line present, no more than 3 inches below the top edge of the windshield.

The windshield wipers and defroster are checked for the following:

·      Proper working order and operating condition.

·      The condition of the wiper blades (e.g., no dry-rot or looseness).

The exhaust system is inspected for the following:

·      Proper operation of the exhaust line (e.g., gaskets, manifold, pipes, connections, mufflers, etc.)* Gas leaks from any point at which the gases are generated to the point where they are discharged from the exhaust system.

·      The rear license plate is inspected for proper illumination.

The hood as well as the area under the hood are both inspected for:

·      Proper operation and working condition of the hood latch. The presence of a properly functioning emissions system; there should be no evidence of any essential parts or components being disconnected, removed, or rendered inoperative.

·      Proper fluid levels for power steering fluid and brake fluid.

·      Proper tension of the power steering belt, as well as any wear or other operational problems regarding the belt.

The air pollution control system (1973 and newer models only) are inspected for:

·      All parts being operable (e.g., no parts removed or disconnected)*

       Note: The fuel tank filler pipe and catalytic converter are included in this element of the inspection.

The driver's seat is inspected for:

·      Proper anchorage.

·      Correct location

·      Proper condition

The seat belts are inspected for:

·      Proper installation* Wear and tear (e.g., general condition)

Airbags are inspected for:

·      Illumination of the readiness light.

·      Any potential defects in the system as evidenced by the absence of the readiness light.

·      Any situation where the airbags have been deployed but not subsequently replaced.

·      Any component of the airbag system that has been removed from the vehicle.

·      The air bag indicator staying illuminated continuously, or not coming on at all.

The doors to the left and right of the driver's seat are inspected for:

·      The handles being able to open the door from both the outside and inside of the vehicle.

·      A proper latching system that will keep the doors closed 

The fuel system is inspected for:

·      Any component that has not been properly secured or fastened* Any leakage of liquid fuel* The presence of the fuel tank filler cap

The floor pan is inspected for:

·      Any holes that might allow gases from the exhaust to enter into the occupant compartment.

·      Any conditions that might pose as a safety risk to the occupants.

·      Once all of these items have been satisfactorily inspected, a new inspection sticker is issued to the vehicle owner. If defects are discovered, the vehicle owner has 15 days to make the needed corrections or repairs, and then the vehicle must be inspected again. 

While this may sound like an arduous process, coming to Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto will ease a lot of the stress associated with getting your vehicle inspected. If you've been looking for a shop that does vehicle inspection in Sterling, Virginia look no further than Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto. With their knowledgeable and experienced staff of certified auto technicians, you will be able to get your vehicle thoroughly inspected in an efficient amount of time, so that you can get your new sticker and check this important item off your to-do list!

Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto Copyright September 2016