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Safety Inspections

​​​A motor vehicle registered in North Carolina must pass an annual safety inspection before its registered owner can renew its vehicle registration. They can be conducted no more than 90 days before the license plate and registration expires. During a safety inspection, a licensed mechanic examines a vehicle's:

  • Headlights
  • Accessory lights
  • Directional signals
  • Foot brake
  • Parking brake
  • Steering
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Rearview mirror​
  • Windshield wipers
  • Exhaust system
  • Tinted windows, if applicable

Motor vehicles registered in 22 North Carolina counties must also pass an emissions inspection, conducted at the same time as the safety inspection.

Failure to get a vehicle inspected by the due date will result in a vehicle's registration being blocked until the vehicle is inspected.


Vehicles more than 35 years old are exempt from the annual safety inspection.


Failure to Pass Inspection

A vehicle that passes a safety inspection but fails the emissions inspection and can't be repaired might be eligible for a waiver, call (877) 421-0020 or send a message.

Learn More

5/1/2020 2:56 PM

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