VA Safety Inspection



I have a 2002 Mazda Tribute ES with a broken parking light (it might be called something else but it is a round, small light below the headlight). I have heard that I can remove the light to pass inspection. Is this true, and do I have to remove both lights or just the one that is broken?


Why not do the simple, normal thing and fix the light?
You’d then have no problem with inspection.


What may seem “simple & normal” to you may not be the case for everyone. I was given 2 quotes to replace the light, both in the neighborhood of $500 (for the parts only), and that is not feasible at the moment. I was hoping to remove the light until I can fix it later in the year.

Thanks for the kind reply Steve F. It was REALLY helpful.


You would be surprised how many people ask questions here trying to save a few bucks to pass an inspection.

Agreed, $500 in not “a few”. Here in Maryland all the original safety equipment has to be functioning – I was forced to replace a broken side reflector on an '87 Buick. I don’t know what the rules are in VA. If you do not get a reliable reply here, perhaps you could find something on the Virginia MVA web site, or maybe you can ask at an inspection station. Good luck.


If the parking light is not working your car will fail the VA inspection (alas I can tell you that by experience) . You can go to and look up the inspection items.

I strongly suspect if you shop around with some independent mechanics you will save a lot of money on getting the light repaired.


You may want to rethink any advice you get from the people who told you that you could pass by removing a safety item on your vehicle. These are the things they pay particular attention to during inspections.

Rather than installing a new part, you may want to try the used route. Salvage yards, EBAY etc are good places to find used parts at a fraction of the cost of new.


actually it was helpful. He’s telling you that what you have “heard” is BS. Fix the light.

Go to a junk yard and get one. It’ll be a lot cheaper.


While some auxiliary lights can be removed if they are not originally required, the parking lights are a standard light that all cars must have. So, removing it is not an option. Check for a junkyard replacement, or check online for a lens replacement at a much cheaper price. A lot of newer cars have light fixtures without replaceable lenses and you have to replace the whole fixture. It’s a dumb design, but it’s pretty common. Again, check for a junkyard part.


The inspection you are trying to fudge on is more appropriately called a SAFETY inspection. It’s designed to ensure that cars on the public streets are SAFE.

Your parking lights are also designed to enhance the safety of your car. If you are temporarily parked somewhere, perhaps waiting for someone, at night and turn off your headlights to reduce the glare to other people on the street, your car would be difficult to see from any distance. That’s why you would turn off your headlights but leave your parking lights on. It’s to protect the other, innocent people from getting killed because your car is in the way but difficult to see.

Additionally, depending on the car, if you (foolishly) remove the lamp, you may also be removing the lamp the turn signal uses.

Steve and the others are right. Fix it.


The most important function of the parking light is to show oncoming traffic where that side of your car is located, in the event that the headlight on that side burns out. That is why parking lights are required to operate in tandem with your headlights. They really are a safety feature, and hence, are required to be operational.

For your safety and for the safety of others on the road, please go to a junk yard, locate a replacement unit, and install it.


Is that lamp the one in the bumper about 8 inches below the headlamp? I think those may be “fog lamps”. Why don’t YOU find out and tell us? It’s possible you could get lamps which are similar in color and function at the auto parts store from their generic light selection. It doesn’t look like a replacement would have to be the exact same size. Therefore, something close may be acceptable.


All of the snide remarks could have been avoided if I had properly identified the part as the FOG lamp and not a parking light. My mistake.

The car passed, but thanks to those of you who mentioned junk yard ideas, etc. I searched and found an inexpensive fog lamp kit and ordered it.

Thanks also to those of you who thought I was trying to sneak one past VA vehicle safety laws or, even better, trying to remove parts from my car that could result in possibly killing someone. Tough crowd.

One more thing, I just noticed one of my tires is low and there is a visible hole. Do I need to fix it or can I just remove the tire?


I’m all for sneaking around the inspection laws…at least here in Maine. They are way too strick for an area that uses excessive salt in the winter.


“One more thing, I just noticed one of my tires is low and there is a visible hole. Do I need to fix it or can I just remove the tire?”

I think that you will have a hard time driving on just three tires, so I suggest that you replace it, rather than just removing it. ;-))