Understanding New York’s Vehicle Inspection Requirements

If you are a resident and driver in the state of New York, you need to have your vehicle inspected every year, as required by law. These inspections are not only necessary to protect the health and safety of other drivers and pedestrians, but also to do the same for you and your passengers. Inspections also help protect the environment by preventing high-polluting vehicles from staying on the roads. 

Nevertheless, if you believe you have been unjustly ticketed for driving a vehicle that is in disrepair, contact New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers for fair representation. 

Who needs a vehicle inspection in NY?

New York law mandates that every motor vehicle registered to a resident of the state undergoes an inspection once every 12 months. New residents to the state must have a valid inspection sticker, and inspections are also necessary when transferring ownership of a vehicle after a sale.

If you’re unclear about when or how to schedule an inspection, contact your local DMV to confirm your responsibilities. 


The costs involved in having your vehicle inspected in New York State fluctuate based on vehicle sizes and classes, so it’s best to call a registered auto repair shop to learn more about the fees specific to your vehicle’s inspection. 

What gets inspected?

A safety inspection consists of several standard checks to confirm all of the vehicle’s safety features are operating correctly, such as its:

  • Headlights
  • Mirrors
  • Shocks
  • Horns
  • Turn signals
  • Steering
  • Windshield wipers
  • Brake pads
  • Emergency brakes
  • Tire treads

If applicable, the inspector will also make sure any window tinting is within the allowable range. 

An emissions inspection — the On-Board Diagnostic Generations II inspection — is conducted at the same time, examining the following parts of the vehicle not covered by the initial inspection:

  • Catalytic converter
  • Ventilation systems
  • Air injection systems
  • Exhaust gas recirculation valves
  • Thermostatic air cleaners

You can increase your chances of passing these annual emissions tests by paying attention to your vehicle’s “check engine light” and scheduling service as soon as the light appears. Vehicles that may be exempt from emissions include motorcycles, electric vehicles, and other motor vehicles that have been granted a historical license plate. 

What happens if your car does not receive a yearly inspection in New York?

Failure to get timely inspections could put you in financial and legal trouble. You will be fined by the state, and you may receive parking tickets if a valid inspection ticket is not visible. Furthermore, you will not be allowed to renew the vehicle’s registration. 

What is the grace period for inspection?

You can get an extension for a car inspection if you must be out of state at the time your inspection sticker expires. An extension provides ten extra days to return to the state and have an inspection completed. 

To be granted an extension, you must send the following information to the Bureau of Consumer and Facility Services in Albany:

  • Name
  • The address of your out-of-state destination
  • Your vehicle license number
  • Your vehicle’s make, model, and year
  • The number and expiration date of your current inspection sticker

To avoid having a parked car ticketed during the extension period, contact the DMV at least 14 days before going out of state; it will send you an extension sticker to place on your vehicle’s windshield. 

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers Are Here to Help

Whatever the case, if you have received a ticket for a lack of inspection that you feel is unfair, contact New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers in Syracuse, NY, to schedule a free case evaluation appointment today and see if we can help you get the ticket dismissed.

David Hammond, Esq. is a traffic offense lawyer and prosecutor that has over a decade of experience fighting for the rights of service members and their families. He served nine years and went on two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer. He then joined the Reserves and moved to Syracuse to be near his family. Not only does he defend the rights of Central New Yorkers, but he also has a veteran-focused practice. David represents servicemen and women before the military appellate courts and takes cases to fix service members’ military records. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact David by clicking here.