Expert Advice

What is a vehicle inspection and what is included?

Car Inspections by Affordable Mechanics Wilmington NCIn North Carolina, vehicle inspections must be completed each year and within 90 days of the expiration date of the vehicle’s license plate tag and registration. In fact, motorists are unable to renew their registration and tags until the vehicle has passed its annual inspection.

In recent years, the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) moved away from windshield inspection stickers. The department now uses an electronic inspection system. The auto mechanic who completes the inspection enters the inspection results into the DMV’s vehicle registration database. This database is what the DMV and law enforcement officers use to look up information about your vehicle.

In addition to complying with the law, having your vehicle inspected can help ensure that it is in good running order. Inspections are also a way that vehicle emissions are properly controlled. Otherwise, rampant vehicle emissions would cause even more air pollution, an increase in greenhouse gases, and additional damage to the ozone layer.

Annual Inspections By Knowledgable & Affordable Mechanics

The first step in completing your annual inspection is to find a certified inspection station. O’Leary’s Automotive Repair offers multiple certified inspection centers and affordable services by mechanics who can complete your inspection quickly and efficiently. With four convenient locations, O’Leary’s has mechanics throughout the greater Wilmington area.

Once you have found a certified inspection center near you, the mechanic will conduct a two-part inspection.

Part 1 – Safety Inspection
The safety inspection will ensure that essential components of the vehicle are operating correctly. The safety inspection includes checks of the horn, headlights, brake lights, fog lights or other accessory lights, directional signal lights, parking brake, steering system, windshield wipers, rearview mirror and tires. In addition, the window tinting may be inspected by a photometer to ensure compliance with the N.C. DMV window tinting regulations.

Part 2 – Diagnostic Emissions Inspection
The diagnostic emissions inspection is a way for the DMV to help control and fight emissions from vehicles that can cause air pollution and damage to the ozone. Most counties in the greater Wilmington area, including New Hanover, Brunswick and Onslow, require emissions inspections; however, Pender County does not currently require emissions inspections. Since 1996, all vehicles have been manufactured to include a computerized on-board diagnostic system (OBD). This system is able to detect the level of emissions that a vehicle is outputting to ensure it is at or below acceptable levels.

Vehicle Compliance By Affordable Mechanic

Once your annual inspection has been completed, you’ll have to pay a small fee to the certified inspection station. Assuming everything with your vehicle is in compliance, our affordable mechanic will input your inspection information into the DMV database. You’ll then be able to renew your registration and tags on time. If there are any issues that cause your vehicle not to pass inspection, the mechanics at any of our locations are able to provide an estimate to get your vehicle into compliance.