FAQ - Items of Inspection

September 4, 2020

1. Why Don't We Aim Headlights Anymore?

During the late 1980s, the Department proactively responded to vehicle inspection issues within the agency. During this period, legislation had been introduced to do away with the State Inspection Program. Many complaints had been brought to the attention of the agency and the Legislature on excessive charges by inspection stations for headlight aim.

The Department conducted a study and determined that:

  1. Over 50% of the complaints received by the agency on vehicle inspection concerned headlight aim testing.

  2. Each year almost 50% of the citizens were being charged for headlight aim testing as they received their vehicle inspection.

  3. Through review of a substantial number of vehicles, only 3% actually required headlight aim adjustment.

  4. Newer vehicles were being manufactured that did not provide for headlight aim adjustment (or the adjustment required disassembly of the headlights).

By the late 80s most other states had stopped doing headlight aim testing. As a result through an administrative rule proposal that was approved on March 15, 1990, the headlight aim-testing requirement was removed from the inspection procedures chart.

2. How Many License Plates Am I Required To Display?

License plates are not an item of inspection however license plate lamps are. More information for the inspection criteria can be found at: Department Rules/Regulation Inspection criteria.
View 4.20.1 “Details of Inspection,” and search for 20.21 “License Plate Lamp.”

The state law requirements for license plates may be found under Texas Administrative Code, Title 43, Part 10, Chapter 217, Subchapter B, Rule 217.27B.

3. Will I Fail My Inspection If My Windshield Is Cracked?

The windshield is NOT an item of inspection. However, the windshield wipers are. Be sure that the crack does not cause the wipers to tear and that the crack has not caused the windshield to become concave or convex so the wipers lose contact with the windshield.
A failed inspection may also result if a damaged windshield creates a significant visibility issue for the driver.

4. Are Seatbelts Always A Required Item Of Inspection?

Seatbelts are a required item of inspection on those vehicles in which front seat belt anchorages were a part of the manufacturers original equipment. When conducting a seatbelt check, front belts and anchorages are inspected.