Texas State Vehicle Inspections — Your Complete Guide to Vehicle Inspections

What is a Texas State Vehicle Inspection Report? (VIR)

A vehicle inspection report is given to owners who have just finished their Texas State vehicle safety inspection. The vehicle inspection report outlines the overall results of the inspection and functions as proof of completing the safety inspection.

VIRs are handed to vehicle owners upon completing safety inspections. You can also download your vehicle inspection report through your VIN on specialized websites.

Your VIR is an important document if you want to complete your registration renewal. While inspection records are typically updated in near real-time, there are some instances when the system cannot electronically verify that your vehicle passed inspection. In this instance, the VIR given at the inspection station may prove that your vehicle passed safety inspections.

When processing your renewal through mail, include a copy of your VIR with your registration renewal notice.

When processing your renewal in person at your local county tax office, bring your VIR as proof of inspection completion in case the system cannot electronically verify your inspection results.

The Texas State Vehicle Inspection Report also includes open safety recall information on the back or second page. Safety recall information allows motorists to contact their vehicle’s manufacturer to get recall-related issues repaired for free.

That said, the landscape of vehicle inspections in Texas is on the cusp of significant change. Starting from 2025, the Lone Star State is waving goodbye to mandatory safety inspections for most vehicles in most counties, providing relief for many drivers.

However, it's crucial to note that this change won't kick in until 2025, which means vehicle owners in Texas still have to pass the safety inspection test for the remaining time. As such, a basic understanding of the pre-inspection requirements can help with that.

Pre-Inspection Requirements

Before you can take your vehicle in for a safety inspection, here are a few things you need to bring:

  • Proof of Insurance - If your vehicle has full coverage, state insurance will be acceptable. However, only those from Texas providers are acceptable if your policy only includes liability coverage.
  • Driver’s License/Photo ID - Your driver’s license must be current and valid to be honored at the inspection station.
  • State Inspection Fee - This is the amount paid to the inspection station inspecting your vehicle. The following section outlines the various costs based on vehicle type, age, and county of residence.

How Much Does a Texas State Inspection Cost?

The cost of state inspections varies depending on many factors. Below is a list you can use as a reference for inspection costs:

  • Commercial Vehicles - $40
  • Safety Emissions (DFW/Houston) - $25.50
  • Safety Emissions (El Paso, Travis & Williamson Counties) - $18.50
  • Emissions-only Vehicles (DFW/Houston) - $18.50
  • Emissions-only Vehicles (El Paso, Travis & Williamson Counties) - $11.50
  • Trailers and Motorcycles - $7
  • One-year Safety - $7
  • Two-year Safety for new vehicles - $7
  • Mopeds - $0.25

Note: the amounts shown above are the maximum charge for each inspection type per the Texas Department of Public Safety.

How to Locate an Inspection Station

Texas Counties that Require Inspection

All vehicles registered in Texas are required to undergo an annual safety inspection. However, some counties require enhanced emissions testing in addition to safety inspections. Counties that require enhanced emissions testing include:

  • Brazoria
  • Collin
  • Dallas
  • Denton
  • El Paso
  • Ellis
  • Fort Bend
  • Galveston
  • Harris
  • Johnson
  • Kaufman
  • Montgomery
  • Parker
  • Rockwall
  • Tarrant
  • Travis
  • Williamson

Note: diesel-powered vehicles and motorcycles are not required to undergo enhanced emissions testing.

How to Make Sure You Pass the Texas Vehicle Inspection

While staying on top of your vehicle’s maintenance does not ensure passing your state safety inspection, it’s your best chance. Routine vehicle maintenance helps mitigate the effects of wear and tear on your vehicle’s parts, allowing you to detect and avert potential problems.

If you’re unsure whether your car is in the ideal condition, you can check your vehicle for these common inspection disqualifiers:

  • Damaged or burnt-out headlamps, tail lamps, and brake lamps
  • Faulty or weak horn
  • Faulty service and parking brakes
  • Excessive steering lash and/or jamming
  • Worn tires (tire tread is flush with tread wear indicators)
  • Damaged or ineffective windshield wipers
  • Check engine light is on
  • Window tint has less than 25 percent visible light transmission

What Happens if You Fail Your Car Inspection in Texas?

Again, the state will no longer mandate safety inspections starting 2025. Until then, you won’t be able to renew your registration if you fail your vehicle safety inspection.

When a car doesn’t pass a safety inspection, the technician sticks a “failed inspection” sticker on its windshield. You may still drive a car with a rejection sticker, but only to bring it home or to a repair facility.

Vehicle owners are given 15 days to have the item(s) repaired and to return to the station for a free re-test. If you present your vehicle to a different inspection station or after 15 days, you won’t be eligible for a free re-test.

Vehicle inspections are crucial to road safety because they help ensure that every registered vehicle is roadworthy. Your Texas State vehicle inspection report is a key document that outlines the results of your inspection. It is the primary source of information regarding repair items (if there are any) and proof that your vehicle passed safety inspections.

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