How Long does a Car Inspection Take (with Process & Steps)

A car inspection is something that you should get done every now and then, especially if you have a car problem and do not know the cause of it. Car inspections are important because they can help you determine whether the most critical components of a vehicle are fully functional or not.

Most people will only get car inspections if they want to sell their used car to someone else. On the other hand, if you’re going to purchase a used car, then you should ask the salesperson if you can have an inspection done first. That way, you’ll know exactly what is wrong with the car, if anything at all.

It is so much easier to get car inspections done in modern times because repair shops have more advanced equipment for detecting mechanical issues than they ever did before. Of course, you would have to pay the mechanic a high hourly rate of between $80 and $120 per hour. Most people will not want to pay that amount.

For this reason, you might want to consider inspecting your own vehicle yourself and save money. Just make sure to have the owner’s manual handy because you’ll need to know where certain components are located in the vehicle. Even people with mechanical experience might have trouble locating certain components. After all, every make and model vehicle is slightly different than one another.

4 Steps Process

Below are the top 4 steps for inspecting a car. You should be able to complete the entire inspection process in 15 – 30 minutes or less. It all depends on your auto skill level.

1) Diagnostic Check

Run a diagnostic check on the power-train control module with your diagnostic scanning device. This is an easy way to discover unknown problems within your vehicle. If a particular trouble code comes on your screen, then refer to the owner’s manual to see what the code means.

2) Inspect the Components

You must inspect all the major car components of the vehicle. These are the physical components that must be functional in order for the vehicle to move properly and safely. If you were given a previous code in the diagnostic check, then check out the components associated with that problem.

These components may include the engine, transmission, braking system, suspension, tires, exhaust system, and power steering system. In addition, you’ll also want to inspect some of the less expensive components, such as the battery, seat belts, headlights, and airbags.

It may seem complicated to conduct such an inspection, but it is really not. Once you learn where all these components and systems are located in the vehicle, it’ll take you 5 to 10 minutes to look them over and test their functionality.

3) Test Drive

A test drive will reaffirm that your vehicle is fully functional. It is a great way for you to test the performance quality of your engine, power steering, seat belts, headlights, braking system, suspension, and transmission.

What you’ll first want to do is to test drive your vehicle on slower roads, such as city streets with stop and go traffic. Then you can confirm that your gearbox and brakes are in good working order.

If everything seems fine, then take your vehicle on a faster-moving road, such as the interstate. Try to accelerate up to the speed limit of 65+ mph. If your vehicle handles that speed well without any negative symptoms, then it is good to go.

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4) Emissions Check

A separate emissions test from a state-registered professional is a good thing to get done. They can determine the level of carbon you have in your emissions. If it is too much, then you’ll need to replace the necessary components that are causing the excess carbon to be emitted.

You probably already get emissions tests every six months if your state requires it. But if your state does not require it, then you should get one anyway if you plan to sell your vehicle. That way, you can let your buyer know the status of the emissions system.

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