One of the most frustrating scenarios for drivers in New Jersey is trying to get a valid inspection sticker on your windshield.
Used passenger vehicles must be inspected once every 2 years
New vehicles are inspected every 5 years (once a year after the initial 5)
Commercial vehicles must be inspected once a year.
You may inspect your vehicle up to two months before it actually expires.
What do you need to possess to inspect your vehicle?
Valid Driver license
Valid Vehicle registration
Valid Proof of New Jersey insurance
Not inspecting your vehicle can carry out fines and/or suspensions against your driver’s license also, you will be subject to getting pulled over during your commuting by officers who are trained to seek out expired and rejected inspection stickers due to non-valid colors that are displayed on your windshield.
The purpose of this process conducted by your Motor Vehicle agency is to ensure your vehicle is safe to operate and coincides with the New Jersey pollution regulations.
The inspection process can be conducted at a designated NJ Motor Vehicle Inspection Station (quick note, not all Motor Vehicles have inspection stations we provided a link below for every DMV inspection station in the state)
Or by an authorized mechanic who is licensed to conduct an Inspection.
Some vehicles are exempt from the NJ inspection process. Below is from the official NJ site explaining which vehicles qualify for the exemption.
Certain vehicles are exempt from inspections, but they do vary, so be sure to check what is required for yours.
The following vehicles are exempt from inspection requirements (N.J.A.C. 13:20-7.2):
Gasoline-powered vehicles registered passenger, the model year 1995 & older with a GVWR 8,500 pounds or less.
Gasoline-powered vehicles registered passenger, the model year 2007 & older with a GVWR 8,501 to 14,000 pounds.
Gasoline-powered vehicles registered passenger, the model year 2013 & older with a GVWR 14,001 pounds or more.
Historic motor vehicles
Approved Collector Vehicles which are less than 25 years old
100% of Electric vehicles
Farm tractors and traction equipment
Farm machinery and implements
Fire trucks having a GVWR of more than 8,500 pounds
In-transit construction equipment
All Diesel-fueled motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) 8,501 pounds to 17,999 that are plated commercial. The owner or lessee is required to inspect these vehicles.
All diesel-powered vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) 8,501 to 17,999 that are plated passenger, not for profit, governmental, commuter van, farmer or farm truck except buses
All diesel-powered vehicles model year 1996 and older that are plated passenger, not for profit, governmental, commuter van, farmer or farm truck except buses
Omnibuses which are subject to inspection by the Commission‘s Commercial Bus Inspection and Investigation Unit
School buses which are subject to inspection by the Commission‘s School Bus Inspection Unit
Tactical military vehicles operated on Federal installations within this State
General inspections are not required for historic or collector vehicles. To be classified as a “historic vehicle” it must be:
At least 25 years old
Must not be modified from original manufacturer specification
Specially registered and display QQ plates
To be classified as a “collector vehicle” make sure that the vehicle:
Is not registered as a “historic vehicle” or a “street rod”
Is not driven more than 3,000 miles per year
Is insured as a limited use “collector vehicle”
Is not a vehicle with an elevated chassis height subject to an inspection in accordance with NJAC 13:20-37
To qualify for an exemption:
A vehicle must first be prequalified as a collector vehicle. Click here to see if your vehicle qualifies as a collector vehicle.
Visit an MVC Agency to purchase a voucher for a special decal to mark the vehicle exempt from safety and emission inspection; the fee is $25 for an initial voucher and $25 to renew. You must provide the approval letter from the MVC I/M Support to the
agency when initially applying for collector vehicle status. The approval letter is not required for renewal.
Take the collector vehicle to a State Inspection Station where the inspector will verify the odometer reading
How much is an NJ Car Inspection Cost?
The DMV inspection stations do not charge for this service. It is free to all NJ drivers whose vehicles are registered in the state of NJ.
Private Inspection Bays do charge customers which from my experience should cost between $50-$100 at most. The only benefit to this alternative is that a certified mechanic can diagnose and give an estimation of the cost of repairs needed if any are needed.
There are 4 tests involved with the inspection process that your car must pass to be issued out a valid inspection.
1. Valid Paperwork (Registration, Drivers License, and Insurance Card)
2. Tires Must not be deflated or flat.
3. Brakes must work properly at least enough so that there is no trouble as the inspection employee can stop while pulling the vehicle into the bay.
4. Emissions (such as catalytic converter is still attached and operating properly)
5. Check Engine Light (This is most drivers’ biggest issue with their car.)
New Jersey no longer will fail a vehicle for broken or cracked mirrors or windows, default headlights, horn malfunction or anything else.
The main 2 ingredients to getting your vehicle inspected in the state of New Jersey are emissions and check engine lights.
What if I disconnect my battery and reconnect it or turn off the engine light with an OBD scanner?
Their computer will know the light was reset and you must drive the vehicle a certain amount of mileage before the onboard computer on your car will allow them to retest the vehicle. If you reset the engine light it will most likely come back on after around 10-50 miles depending on what code shows up on the OBD scanner.
How Much Does It Cost To Repair My Check Engine Light Issue?
There is no answer for how much it will cost, it depends on how many issues are causing the check engine light to appear and what parts and labor are needed for the repairs.
Once a vehicle is failed a red rejected sticker is then applied and there is no grace period. Your vehicle must then be taken in for repairs and can legally not be driven.
Thank you for reading our article.
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