Vehicle Safety Inspections

Vehicle safety inspections are an important part of keeping your car in its best possible condition. Safety inspections can alert you to any potential problems your vehicle is already having and, in many cases, can uncover minor problems before they turn into something larger (and costlier).

Although Ohio does not have a statewide law requiring car safety inspections, it’s still a good idea to have these done at least once a year on your vehicle. If your car is an older model, it’s even more important to keep up-to-date on such inspections. 

Even though you aren’t required to have a vehicle safety inspection, it is legal for state highway patrol officers in Ohio to stop any vehicle that they feel could be a threat to other vehicles on the road and require them to get a safety inspection. Having your car checked every year is a great way to avoid getting stranded due to a problem you didn’t realize your car was having.


What’s Included in a Vehicle Safety Inspection?

As the name implies, vehicle safety inspections are designed to inspect the items essential to keeping your car, your passengers and other vehicles around you safe.  

Here are some of the items that are examined as part of the safety inspection:

Headlights: Lights must be working properly, and both lamps should have the same color of light; the lenses must not be fogged or cracked

Other lights: This includes checking tail lights, turn signals, license plate lights, brake lights, reverse lights and hazard lights to make sure they’re working properly and are bright enough/the right color

Windshield: If there are cracks, scratches or other damage that obstructs the driver’s view, it will not pass

Windshield wipers: These must be present and working properly; that means no streaking or scraping, and the windshield washer jets should work well enough for the fluid to clean the windshield

Mirrors: Rear-view and side-view mirrors should not be cracked, broken or missing

Seat belts: Belts should latch and retract as needed and should not be frayed or damaged

Brakes: There should not be any contact of metal between the brake shoes and drums or the brake pads and rotors; leaking brake fluid or a brake pedal that goes more than halfway to the floor could also cause the car to fail inspection

Horn: The horn should work consistently and must be loud enough to be heard by other vehicles in traffic

Steering and suspension: Things like loose steering joints or leaking shock absorbers can cause a car to fail a safety inspection

Following recommended maintenance schedules for your vehicle will help keep it in good condition, so review your owner’s manual and know what is recommended for your car.


Emissions Testing

While vehicle safety inspections are not required by law, and most of the state of Ohio does not require emissions testing, it is mandatory in the Cleveland area. Emissions testing is required in the following seven counties:

  • Cuyahoga
  • Geauga
  • Lake
  • Lorain
  • Medina
  • Portage
  • Summit

The exceptions to this are vehicles that are less than four years old or older than 25 years; motorcycles; recreational vehicles and parade and exhibition vehicles. Vehicles produced on even-numbered years must be inspected on even-numbered years, and those made during odd-numbered years will be inspected on odd-numbered years. 

Vehicle Safety Inspections

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