Houston State Inspection Shop for Safety & Emissions Testing

mechanic shaking Houston customers hand after state inspection and emission test
If it’s time to renew your Texas vehicle safety inspection, come see the experts at My Transmission Experts. With locations throughout the greater Houston area including Katy, Montgomery, Kingwood, Porter, and Jersey Village, we have a state safety inspection station near you! Call us or request an appointment online to schedule state inspection for your car, truck, SUV, van, or fleet vehicle. Our team of automotive professionals can get your car inspected and registration-ready!

Why Does my Vehicle need an Inspection?

It is illegal to operate a vehicle on public roads without a current registration and inspection sticker in Texas. Our state requires one sticker for both your registration and safety inspection. This system affectionately called the Texas Two-Step, or “two steps, one sticker” by the DPS, started back in 2013 and replaced the old system of maintaining two separate stickers often with different expiration dates. If you see your registration sticker is about to expire, or already has, your first step is to bring your car in for comprehensive safety inspection. You won’t be able to renew your registration without first passing inspection, and without valid registration, you can be ticketed and fined.

Safety inspections are designed to keep cars, trucks, and SUVs within reasonable emissions rates and ensure vehicles are safe to drive on public roadways. Consider for a moment that you operate a piece of machinery weighing more than a ton at high rates of speed. Motor vehicle inspections are designed to ensure vehicles meet minimum safety requirements that will enable drivers to operate vehicles safely.

What is Required to Pass a Safety Inspection?

The requirements for a motor vehicle safety inspection are mandated by the State of Texas. When providing a full, safety inspection to meet state standards, you can expect a thorough look at the moving parts that keep you and your family safe while in the vehicle. The following components must be present and/or function properly in order to meet the state’s minimum safety standards and pass inspection.

  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Steering
  • Tires
  • Seat belts and mirrors
  • Brakes
  • Wheel Assembly
  • Lights and Signals
  • Emissions
  • Exhaust System
  • Motor, serial, and VIN
  • Gas caps
  • Window tint
  • Proof of financial responsibility (liability insurance)

What You Should Know Texas Emissions Testing

Meeting the state’s high clean air threshold means having an engine and exhaust system that functions at a high level. Regular maintenance and repair are the keys to smoothly earning safety certification for any vehicle.

Most vehicles registered in the greater Houston area, including Brazoria, Galveston, Harris, and Montgomery counties, must pass emissions testing. Most brand-new cars are given an initial test that is valid for two years. Cars manufactured prior to 1995 have a different emissions test than newer vehicles, but these older cars must still pass the emissions test as mandated by state law. If your car is registered in a county that requires emissions testing, but you primarily operate it in another area that does not require emissions testing, you may be able to get a waiver from the state.

Drivers that are new to Texas or new to Houston must pass a vehicle inspection and applicable emissions test within 30 days to avoid getting a ticket.

What Do I Need to Bring?

When you come to get your car inspected, make sure you bring:

  1. Current, valid proof of liability insurance.
  2. The applicable fee for a safety inspection and emissions testing. These fees are established by law. The fee schedule can only change by law and cannot be negotiated at the shop.

That’s it! You do not need your license or any other documentation for the inspection. When you get your registration through the state, you will be required to have a valid ID.

What If My Car Fails Inspection?

At My Transmission Experts, we make every attempt to look over your vehicle prior to beginning the inspection process. We know inspections take your time away from work and family and we don’t want you to have to waste any more time than absolutely necessary. If we notice a broken tail light, bald tires, or a missing mirror, we’ll let you know that those things need to be fixed before you can pass inspection.

Your car may fail for other reasons that are readily apparent. Should your car fail for any reason, we will give you a report detailing what items need repair before you can pass. By law, you must pay the inspection fee even if your car fails. However, the law allows you two free re-inspections within 20 calendar days of the failure. If you have your car repaired at our shop or any other, we will reinspect it for free up to two times within 20 days.

Common Reasons a Car Fails Inspection

  1. Emissions failure: failing the emissions portion of the state inspection is one of the most common reasons for failure. Several things can lead to emissions failure, from a dirty air filter to a faulty catalytic converter.
  2. Check Engine Light: Your car’s diagnostic system that sends warnings that trigger the check engine light is the same system that gives warning information to emissions testing equipment. If your check engine light is on, you probably won’t pass inspection. Simply disconnecting the battery and resetting the light will not solve the issue. If your check engine light is on, ask one of our mechanics to help you diagnose the issue prior to inspection.
  3. Tires failing inspection: Tire tread needs to be 1/16-inch or greater on each tire in order to pass inspection. If you don’t have a tread depth gauge, you can use the old penny trick or ask one of our tire mechanics to have a look.
  4. Headlights, turn signals & indicator lights fail: It’s hard to tell if one of your bulbs has burned out from the driver’s seat. Luckily, replacing bulbs is a pretty quick and inexpensive fix. To save yourself time and frustration, you may want to do a quick walk around and check your bulbs before the inspection.

Schedule a Safety Inspection in Houston

Every day people in the greater Houston areas rely on safe, smooth-running vehicles to provide transportation to work, appointments, and family events. That’s why our team of experienced automotive technicians provide ongoing maintenance and repair so that you won’t get bogged down when it’s time to renew your registration. If your renewal date is getting close, call us or request an appointment to get your inspection today!

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