Reasons a Vehicle Won't Pass the Texas State Inspection

Texas State Inspection Overview

Texas offers both safety and emission inspections. These comprehensive inspections ensure every vehicle component from the horn to the headlights meets safety standards.

A successful inspection for older cars will be valid for one year, while a new vehicle's initial inspection can last up to two years. This evaluation guarantees your automobile's performance and fitness to drive while allowing you to detect any underlying issues before they become significant problems.

Addressing these concerns saves car owners from costly repairs and potentially hazardous situations on the road.

Reasons Cars Fail the Texas Safety Inspection

There is no guarantee that you will pass a state inspection because a car might fail a safety inspection for many reasons. Here are some common ones:

Worn-Out or Improperly Working Brakes

A malfunctioning braking system can have severe consequences, including collisions that result in injuries or fatalities. Worn-out brakes can compromise control over your vehicle, lengthen stopping distances, cause brake fade, and reduce braking power.

Inspectors thoroughly examine components such as brake pads, rotors, calipers, brake lines, and the master cylinder. Any irregularities in these components can lead to an inspection failure.

Excessively-Worn Tires, Poor Inflation, Wrong Tread

Excessively worn tires can significantly reduce your car's traction, making it harder to stop or turn quickly. Improperly inflated tires decrease fuel efficiency and affect handling, leading to blowouts at high speeds.

Meanwhile, worn tread will cause instability and uneven wear over time. Any of these issues will result in a failed safety inspection.

Looseness or Mis-Alignment in Steering System

Looseness and misalignment in the steering system can cause a vehicle to fail its inspection. A loose steering system can result in unpredictable car movements while driving, making it difficult to maintain control. Similarly, incorrect wheel alignment will make your car veer in a different direction, putting you at risk of an accident.

Broken or Missing Mirrors

A cracked mirror may obstruct the driver's view and impede the ability to monitor their surroundings, while a completely missing one would leave them virtually blind on one side. Therefore, any broken or missing mirrors will result in an automatic failure of the vehicle safety inspection.

Bad Exhaust System and Missing Catalytic Converter

A bad exhaust system or missing catalytic converter can make your vehicle fail the safety inspection. During the inspection, inspectors will check for leaks, rust, holes, or cracks in the exhaust pipes and muffler. They'll also verify if a catalytic converter is installed to reduce harmful emissions that pollute our environment and impact our health.

Excessively Dark Window Tint

Window tinting in Texas is legal but must adhere to placement, darkness, and reflectivity guidelines to pass the vehicle safety inspection. Excessive tint can compromise the driver's visibility, especially on front side windows that require optimal transparency for safe driving.

Cracked or Chipped Windshield

The windshield is a crucial safety feature that protects the driver and passengers from wind, dust, and flying debris. A cracked or chipped windshield can increase the risk of accidents by obstructing a driver's view and compromising its structural integrity during a collision. If cracks exceed the allowed limits, it may lead to a failed vehicle inspection.

Reasons Cars Fail the Texas State Emissions Test

A handful of Texas counties require their vehicles to pass an annual emissions test in addition to the safety inspection. However, some common reasons for failing an emissions test are as follows:

Faulty or Missing On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) System

A faulty or missing On-Board Diagnostics System can result in an emissions test failure. This system monitors and regulates the vehicle's exhaust emissions. It detects any faults in emission control systems and alerts drivers through the Check Engine Light.

Without it, there is no way to determine if emissions are within regulatory limits or for technicians to repair emissions-related issues.

Loose and Unsealed Gas Caps
Failing the Visual Inspection

A visual inspection is conducted before an emissions test to ensure the proper functioning of components. Inspectors check for visible defects or malfunctions in parts such as the gas cap, exhaust system, catalytic converter, and other emission control devices.

Failing this inspection means the vehicle cannot pass the emissions test and requires repairs before it can be deemed roadworthy.

Other Criteria for State Inspection Failure

  • Burnt-out bulbs in license plate lamp
  • Non-functional hood latch
  • Inoperative horn
  • Exhaust system noise
  • Damaged windshield wipers
  • Burnt-out or damaged headlights or tail lights
  • Faulty parking brake
  • Active check engine lights
  • Illegal aftermarket modifications

Final Words

Scroll to Top