When driving in California, it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is up to code. This means passing both a brake and lamp inspection. In this article, we will discuss what is required to pass these inspections and how you can prepare your vehicle for them. We’ll also provide a few tips on how to stay safe on the road.


What is a Brake and Lamp Inspection in California, and What Happens if You Don’t Pass?

Brake and lamp inspections are required in California whenever a vehicle’s title is being changed, whether due to an accident or theft. These inspections ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive and function properly on the road.

The DMV requires a comprehensive inspection by a State Licensed Inspection Station to ensure that none of the vehicle’s brake system components or lights were damaged or misaligned as a result of an accident or theft. The main goal of these inspections is to safeguard both the driver and other motorists on the road.

You will need to bring your vehicle to a licensed brake and lamp station in order to have the inspection performed. The inspector will check the following items on your vehicle:

  • Brake system
  • Headlamps
  • Tail lamps
  • Turn signal lamps
  • Stop lamps
  • High-mounted stop lamps
  • Fog lamps (if equipped)
  • License plate lights

The inspector will also check the condition of your brake hoses, parking brake, and the steering mechanism. Once the inspection is complete, you will be given a certificate that you must submit to the DMV in order to register your vehicle. If any of the items on your vehicle do not pass the inspection, you will need to have them repaired before you can receive a certificate.


What Happens if You Don’t ?

The state of California will require you to have repairs done as quickly as possible if your car fails the mechanical or emissions component of the safety inspection. These services are provided by several inspection locations across the state, where inspectors may also fix your car. If you meet certain requirements, the state of California offers a $500 grant to assist with necessary repairs.

The Department of Motor Vehicles may impose fines or other sanctions if you fail to have your vehicle inspected, and failing to maintain a safe vehicle may expose you to liability in case of an accident. In order to uphold your duty of care, it is crucial that you submit to these inspections whenever the Department of Motor Vehicles requests them.

California’s Vehicle Inspection Requirements

If you’re a California resident, you’re probably aware that the state has some of the strictest vehicle inspection requirements in the country. But what exactly do these requirements entail? And do you need to pass a brake and lamp inspection in order to register your car?

Every two years, the majority of California drivers must have their vehicles inspected. Your vehicle may be denied registration and subject to fines if your emissions test is not completed. With a minor price ranging from $30 to $70 and depending on the size of your vehicle, you will bring your car to a certified inspection nearby station.

The following mechanical features and functions of the car will be inspected annually in California for damage or limits.

  • Level of fluid
  • Any possible leaks
  • Mechanical soundness
  • Emissions of carbon

The portion of the California vehicle inspection that tests for carbon emissions, or smog, is especially important. Smog can create dangerous air quality levels in California cities and is a serious concern in major metropolitan areas, including Riverside and Orange County. Both California state law and the Environmental Protection Agency’s smog emission standards must be met by your vehicle.

The smog emissions inspection results will be given to you via a certification from the inspection station. The business is then supposed to send an electronic report of your vehicle’s findings to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Your certification proving that your car has passed smog will be valid for 90 days, and during this time period, you must finish renewing your registration.


California Vehicle Safety Inspection Exemptions

You will likely need to get your car inspected each year if it is a model between 1976 and the present; however, there are some exceptions. If you own one of the following types of vehicles, then you don’t have to get an inspection done in California.

  • You won’t need to take an emissions test if your car is six model years old or newer. However, there is a $20 smog abatement tax that you must pay each year.
  • Motorcycles and electric vehicles are exempt from emissions testing.
  • There is no requirement for an emissions test for diesel-powered vehicles built before the model year 1997 and for natural gas-powered vehicles with weight ratings under 14,000 pounds.
  • Unless the vehicle is a diesel, an emissions test is not required if you are changing the registration of a car that is less than four years old.


How to Prepare your Vehicle for a Brake and Lamp Inspection

Most vehicles are required to have a Brake and Lamp Inspection in California every two years. The inspection is designed to ensure that your vehicle’s brakes and lights are working properly, which helps to make the roads safer for everyone. There are a few requirements you’ll need to meet in order to pass a brake and lamp inspection in California.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare your vehicle for a Brake and Lamp Inspection:

  • Make sure your vehicle’s brake system is in good working order before taking it in for an inspection. This includes checking the condition of your brake pads, rotors, and fluid levels.
  • Have all of the bulbs in your vehicle’s headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals checked beforehand. Replacing any burned-out bulbs will help you pass the inspection.
  • Make sure your vehicle’s wheels are properly aligned. This can help improve your braking performance and prevent premature wear on your brake pads and rotors.

If you meet all of these requirements, then you should have no problem passing a brake and lamp inspection in California. Just be sure to bring your car to a reputable inspection station, and have everything checked out before you go.

Are You Looking for an Independent Auto Service Shop You Can Trust?

If you’re considering making a change to an independent auto repair mechanic trusted by thousands of happy customers, look no further than Autotech Blackhawk. Why? We differ from other automotive repair shops because we are a relationship shop. This means that the more of your car repair needs we support you with, the better able we are to customize our recommendations based on your driving habits and needs. Whether you want to keep the daily driver in ‘good enough’ condition, style your new car so that it’s customized just for you, maintain your favorite car in ‘like new’ condition, or even train your whole family to be more knowledgeable about cars – we partner with you to ensure that your cars meet your needs. We also offer an industry-leading 3-Year/36,000-mile warranty, so we only use Original Equipment and manufacturer-recommended products. Contact us now to book your no-contact, friendly appointment! We truly value your trust and your business, so thank you for staying local with your auto repair needs.