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My vehicle safety test is coming up soon

Perhaps I’m just paranoid, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s something wrong with the car that would cause it to flunk. I don’t detect any issues under the hood - the brakes, etc all seem to work fine - and want to know if there can be any “invisible” problems that would cause me to fail the test.

Why worry, they are going to test it and if they find something they will inform you of what it is so you can have it fixed. Why not wait until you have it tested? We certainly can’t be better than they are when they get to see and test your car and we don’t even know what color your Model T is?

Note: if you provide make model and year, there is a possibility, however small, that someone may know of a common issue with it, so if you like you can post that information and maybe someone can help.

Sorry - it’s a 2000 Honda Odyssey LX.

I have mine tested at the beginning of the month rather than at the end. That way, if they detect something that needs attention I have plenty of time to get it done.

There are shops out there that if they know you’re out of time will use that as a lever to find work that needs doing that may not be real. Crooks exist. Even with honest shops, finding out early gives me time to shop around to get the work done.

Yes, there are potential issues that are not evident, but it’s unlikely there is anything seriously wrong with your vehicle.

For instance, although the brakes are working fine, they may be nearing the end of their useful life, and not have enough thickness to make it to the next safety inspection, in which case a mechanic may recommend installing new brakes.

You could look at this as an “invisible” problem, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as preventive maintenance. This is the reason safety inspections are required; so you find potential problems before they become emergencies.

If the inspections turns up any problems, correct them and the vehicle will pass the inspection. It’s not something you should worry about.

Z69105–You can help yourself by checking all of the car’s exterior lights before you go for inspection. Replacing a burned-out bulb or two beforehand is a whole lot more convenient than having it found at inspection. Also, you can test your handbrake/e-brake/parking brake for proper operation prior to inspection.

I have to assume that if the service brake was malfunctioning it would already have been repaired, but if you have doubts about your brakes, do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and have them fixed NOW. Also–look at your tire treads to be sure that they will pass a safety inspection. If you don’t know what this means, check your Owner’s Manual which will illustrate what a safe tread (and what an unsafe tread) looks like. If the Check Engine Light is not illuminated (or if it has not recently been illuminated) then you should be able to pass the emissions test.

If the OP is lucky, he/she lives in a state where the safety/emissions inspection is done at a state facility that does no repairs and charges no fees. Yes, it is sometimes necessary to drive a fair distance to get to one of these facilities, but I have always questioned the obvious conflict of interest involved in having private garages that perform repairs decide whether a car needs to be repaired in order to pass its state inspection.

The staff at our state inspection facilities has come under criticism over the years for being curt or for not being as quick as they could be, but at least they have no vested interest in having a vehicle fail. And, the State of NJ has finally cleared up the previous problems at its state inspection stations.

When I had my semi-annual inspection last week, I arrived (as recommended), “in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, in the middle of the month”, because that is when the inspection stations are the least busy. During the first week of the month, they have the late-comers from the previous month, during the last week they are flooded with the procrastinators.

No appointment was necessary, I arrived at 11:30 AM, and I found 2 inspection lanes open. One car was in the right lane, being processed for inspection. I was directed to the empty left lane, and the process began for my car. At ~11:45 AM, I drove out with my “approved” sticker, and I am set for another 2 years.

Call me a skeptic, but I just don’t want to have someone who stands to make a profit from the car’s failure make the decision on whether the car passes or fails its safety/emissions inspection.

This Is Unbelievable. We Don’t Have Inspections Of Any Kind, Here.

Do “they” (Government appointed workers) lift your car and poke around under it or does it stay on the ground? Does somebody else operate your vehicle? Do you get to look over their shoulder? What happens if your car is damaged during this process? Oh wait, I’ll bet I already know the answer. You are responsible, right?
Is there a fee or is it “rolled in” with a registration fee? How much does it cost per year or two years to buy the privilege of operating your car (inspection/registration/plate(s))? Do you have any additional tax on gasoline besides maybe sales tax?

In NH private shops certified by the state do the inspections. Everyone is subject to annual safety inspections and many counties (not all) are subject to annual emissions inspections in the month of their birthday. In those counties requiring emissions it’s done along with the safety inspection.

Safety inspections consist of all the basics like lights, brakes (visual inspection of the pads and shoes), wipers, tires, exhaust system, visual of chassis components (tests for looseness if necessary) etc. Things like window operation (they must roll up and down), window tint, and other issues are dealt with on an as-needed or as-desired (by the shop) basis.

Emissions inspections consist of a check of the systems using an OBD download (pre-'96 vehicles are exempt) that goes directly to the state’s central database.

In truth, the quality of the safety inspections varies widely. I’ve been to a shop only checked the lights and wipers and another that rejected my '89 pickup because the 2x8 rear bumper (mounted on 2x2 angle iron framework) was not hardwood and backed by a steel plate as required by statute…yeah, I made them show the the statute.

Comparative data analysis between states that have safety inspections and those that do not (including before and after data) show absolutely no difference in accident rates or severity. Zero difference. Nada. None. However safety inspections are a revenue generator and as such once enacted become a part of the landscape in perpetuity.

Years ago, they did lift the front end in order to check the wheel bearings. Due to human error, there were inevitably some mistakes made. The resulting damage was paid for by the state, but when these costs started to mount, they stopped lifting the front end.

The car owner was never responsible for paying to repair any damage done at the state inspection by the old state employees, and now the car owner is also not responsible for any damage done by the privatized staff (Parsons Technologies) who now operate the state inspection facilities.

Yes, they do operate the vehicle (for a total distance of…maybe 100 ft.), but the car owner can stay on the walkway next to the vehicle the entire time. The cost is part of the annual registration fee, which is based on vehicle weight. My latest registration fee was $71.50.

NJ has the lowest gas taxes in the country, if I recall correctly. That is why we usually have the cheapest gas in the country, I suppose. No, we do not pay a sales tax on gasoline.

Just a followup - the old gal passed.

Now, this next part will make you all laugh, I’m sure.

Remember how I reported some time ago that my brakes were making a grinding sound whenever I leaned down on them hard? Turns out, that metal-on-metal sound was coming from two metal cans in the cargo area that rubbed up against each other whenever I hit the brakes. Funny, eh?

That reminds me of the story of the customer who told his mechanic to try to track down and fix the rattling noise that he kept hearing from his car. After several hours of labor, the mechanic finally found the source–a baby’s rattle that had gotten lodged under the back seat.

Well, we had a customer come into the shop (multi-line dealer) one time complaining about a faint scraping noise somewhere around or under the rear seat.
When the car was up on the lift the mechanic discovered (with a bit of a scare) that the noise was caused by a 3 foot long snake that had crawled up into the fuel tank area. (non-poisonous, but…)