Looking for reference info on NYS Inspection program


Old 06-03-02, 02:58 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Looking for reference info on NYS Inspection program

Is there any reference, online or otherwise, that provides DETAILED information on the safety inspection part of the NYS inspection program?
I saw a page on the NYS DMV that gives some information, but it's very general and subject to individual interpretation.

For instance, specifics on items checked (e.g. no windshield cracks exceeding 4" in length, in the wiper swept area), rather than "Windshield - check for presence and condition." or "Disc brake pads - check condition"

Is there in fact any specific guidelines set up, or is it pretty much left to the individual shop to interpret?
Sponsored Links
Old 06-04-02, 06:09 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
What are you looking to find out?

(I am a NYS inspector).

The DMV site is pretty detailed enough for what most consumers need to know.

The bottom line is that if your car is in good shape, it will pass.

I do my OWN inspections weekly on my cars for the simple stuff and when it comes time for the NYS inspection, it flies through
Old 06-04-02, 07:11 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Well, like the windshield example, suppose there's a small crack from a stone hit, that extends 5" end to end, near the bottom of the windshield. If it's inside the wiper swept area, is that grounds for failure? Or, if there was a crack extending outside the swept area, let's say where the defroster was turned on full blast when it was iced over, and it stressed it enough to crack the length of the windshield? Would that fail, even if it were outside of the swept area? I've recalled one inspection station telling me if it's greater than 4" in the swept area, it should fail. Is that correct?
Or, if there's a very slight staining of the body of the rear brake caliper, from some seepage that occurred over a long period, but not actively leaking. (Just residue, no dripping whatsoever).
Or, seepage that's visible from the bellows of the power steering rack- to what degree would it be acceptable, if at all?
How about a blown CV boot, spraying out lube all over the undercarriage (noted that CV joints are not an inspection item, nor ball joints(!) which I would consider a safety issue indeed)

Are all these items subjective and up to the individual inspector, or have there been any more detailed guidelines set up?
Old 06-04-02, 09:54 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Ok a couple of things.

All of the things you mention are dangerous conditions.

1) Any crack in the glass is an issue...it compromises its integrity in a crash. Not only that, it looks ugly and hampers your vision. A new windshield installed can be as low as 200 bucks.

2) If the car passes the state's reserve pedal test it would probably be "OK". But again, state inspections tend to be MINIMUM standards. You wouldn't go to a doctor that scored a C+ on his med school tests, so you shouldn't expect your car to be "just minimum" to get by. Sure the state only requires that one of your two backup lights work, but why then do car makers put two on each car? There's a reason. Hence, they should both work.

3) If the inspector tells you, "Mr. Trendar, your car needs X, Y and Z to pass inspection", tell him to prove it to you that the parts are bad. You don't have to have him fix your car. A side benefit for shops doing inspection is the additional business they can garner from getting your car to pass, but the consumer has a choice in where to bring his/her car for both inspection and repair. The DMV is pretty good about taking shops to task that don't follow the rules.

I believe it's 12" into the wiper contact area to fail on the glass or 3" or more of a "spiderweb" type crack on the other. Trust me, if you have something that visible on your windshield, you're asking to be pulled over by a cop if not for failing inspection.

Was it that you brought your car in recently for inspection and they failed you?
Old 06-04-02, 11:02 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I was just trying to find out if there are any set standards for inspection other than general guidelines; it doesn't seem like there are.

I have had a shop "fail" my headlight aiming; they charged $12 to "aim" the lights. For me to argue the point would have cost more to get it passed, either from taking it to another shop, or doing a reinspection.
After I got out of the shop, I found it was now aimed too high and glaring into oncoming traffic, so I had to fix their $12 aiming job by adjusting the aim back down myself.

I have many occasions to take in the car for inspection, and I'm currently going to one that's been upfront and doesn't play the games that I've encountered from others, but I was still curious about what kind of checks and balances were in place for this.

One time, a friend brought his car in for inspection at a new place, and the guy actually pointed to a MISSING SPEAKER GRILL and said he couldn't pass inspection for that- (!). I'm sure they get lots of work from people that would be gullible enough to fall for that- sure fosters some skepticism on my part.

The tiny amount of seepage area on the rear caliper I mentioned, I did experience, and the place said they would have to replace the caliper before it passes. This was from a miniscule trace of residue, visible only because the dust got attracted to it. No active leak whatsoever- it was DRY, and only residue. Cause for failure? Nothing a rag wouldn't take care of; certainly not warranting replacement of the caliper. Absolutely no current leakage going on, and it wasn't seized or anything.

That's the reason ball joints were taken off the checklist of safety inspection; too many shops apparently saw it as a gravy job, and now the inspection program suffers as a result, because a genuine safety problem with something like a ball joint now wouldn't even be cause for failure.

Suppose the windshield were pitted from sandblasting from driving behind trucks dropping sand; no cracks whatsoever, but something making it next to impossible to see with sun glare- that shouldn't pass, but would it?
Brake pads, down 50%- replace it, or use it to 65% down?
It's nice to drive new vehicles, have all brand new parts, and replace the windshield with every stone chip that arises, but there are degrees to the concerns, and nothing is always black and white (except for speaker grills ;-) .

It would be fine to leave it all up to the discretion of the individual inspection stations if they were all as conscientious as you, but in the real world, not all of them are. In those cases, having definitive information as to the parameters would be quite helpful.
Old 06-04-02, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh,Pa
Posts: 2,417
FYI ,States that have motor vehicle inspections have 30% fewer traffic fatalities,Ive seen the studies myself not hearsay.This is because someone chwcks the car because very many owners do not do anything until the car suffers a complete failure of one or more systems.I was told by a woman with 3 young children that state inspection was a ripoff.As I listened i removed her left rear wheel and the drum fell to the floor in 2 pieces.My fault hardly she had to be running metal to metal for months.Consider yourself fortunate that you mvi on your side and that you dont live in Pa sounds like your inspection is chicken **** compared to ours.Oh yes Im a certified inspection and emission technician.
Old 06-04-02, 03:55 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Certainly no question about the benefits about an inspection program; it just seems too open ended as to the guidelines for inspection, and subject to individual interpretation.

Another example- fog light lens; has a crack in it, but not open to the elements- fail? Turn signal lens, same thing- fail? Lens completely intact, but bad seal, and it looks like a goldfish bowl inside- fail? (Yes, silly now, but I've seen it too)
I could put forth all sorts of hypothetical situations, but all I'm saying is that there are situations that may not be quite so clearcut as a brake drum falling to the floor in pieces-
By no means am I saying inspection programs are bad; but it would be nice to have more information on what's considered pass or fail.
I guess the problem really is that there can't be that kind of detail spelled out, because there's just too many variations and situations to cover, so the easy way it to leave it up to the individual stations to interpret.
Old 06-04-02, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh,Pa
Posts: 2,417
Iam sure NY would sell you an official inspection book.PA does this for its tax payers but not for free.I suggest you read it.sometimes you have to understand a mans livelyhood is on the line with his decision,and possible lawsuits from a faulty inspection.So I side with a mans discretion on this issue.Most people dont have to think if I pass this could I lose my job or be fined.And go to jail?
Old 06-04-02, 08:48 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Where would this official inspection book be found? Does it in fact go into detail about the criteria used? That's precisely what I'm asking about, rather than the merits of inspection programs in general. I realize PA may be very different, though, so I'd like to find out if it's available in NY as well. Is that a PA DMV issued book?
Old 06-05-02, 05:51 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
In my archives somewhere I have the ORIGINAL test/study book from the DMV on what to look for when doing an inspection.

You might contact the DMV specifically posting this question. I think I will do the same thing as well. I'm sure they'll send you the pamphlet or a PDF file showing what's what. Tell them you want SPECIFICS on what's checked with each part of the inspection (I'll do the same), not what's on their website. They should be able to help.

Think about it. If you have water in your lens, that turn signal could stop working at any time. That could be an accident waiting to happen. If your windshield has a crack in it, it's compromised. It should be changed. Your life may depend on it in a crash (even with a seat belt).

I agree on standardized TESTING procedures, but again, those are MINIMUM standards. Sure you can drive around with a little more than 3/32 or so on your tires, but you're prone to blowouts, flats and a possible accident. Why gamble for the sake of "beating the system"? Your life could depend on it..or someone else's.

As Davo says, some people are a rip. They haven't checked the oil in a million years and now they complain when you tell them the car needs a lot of work to be safe...we used to get this all the time (farmed our inspections to another friend's shop). With some customers, you want to tell them pitch the car, replace it with something safer or take the bus .

When you sign up to drive, you are signing up for a responsibility. One part of that is to maintain a safe car for you, your passengers and all involved.

Davo: My 79 Trans Am is from PA. I think your inspections are cheaper than our 35 a year dyno test inspections for most vehicles in NY. I'm sure in California they are quite high..as everyone knows they are quite strict there.

My .02
Old 06-05-02, 07:41 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
That's correct, there SHOULD be standardized testing procedures- that's what I'm trying to find out.
Something like a scratch and dig specification that is used in optics obviously wouldn't be feasible for inspectors to try to figure out and measure, but something general such as "crack exceeding 4" within the windshield swept area" would be at least an attempt at standardization. A stone chip in the bottom right corner would not warrant windshield replacement with this guideline.
Increase the minimum standards as necessary, but I don't think it would be such a bad thing to make it public, rather kept as a secret. Information is generally a GOOD thing.
Old 06-05-02, 10:22 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Keeping in mind that they are MINIMUM standards . Not always a good thing.

Again, if your physician JUST passed his boards, you probably wouldn't go to him, would you?

If your pilot JUST passed his license requirements by a hair, would you get on that plane?

If your college professor knew less than you, would you want him/her grading you on the subject matter ?

That being said...

I take most of those "minimum" things and throw them out the window. What do I look for in my own vehicles:

1) Sure it's good now, but will I be doing these brakes in zero degree weather 5 months from now freezing my tuckus off? No thanks, I'll do it now. I save nothing by putting it off. Like everything else in life, you have to budget. Car repair is one of those things. If you do the work yourself, you save a ton and it's the cost of parts and your time at that point.

2) Do I curse people for the same problems with their cars (burned out lamps for instance) when mine has been burned out for months?

3) Am I asking for trouble down the road by putting of this repair? Might I get stuck or cause an accident?

4) Will I in turn have a better running car if I take care of this?

5) Will it increase the resale value if I'm selling it?

6) To be in line with what you have seen Marturo preach here, "Am I compromising mine or someone else's safety by not doing the needed repairs?".

Again my .02
Old 06-05-02, 05:26 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
If a minimum standard of 75% is set, and it's found that the minimum is unacceptable, then the minimum standard should be raised, perhaps to 90%. If that pilot keeps crashing his plane because he just squeaked by his certification, then there's a problem with the certification process which needs to be addressed..
Sure it would be optimal to deal only with the top 5%, and categorize everything else substandard, but sometimes it's necessary to work with real world situations.
There seems to be the impression I'm looking to find out what the minimum standards are solely to set my vehicle right up at a "ready to fall apart but not quite" threshold of safety- that's not what I'm asking for-

Whatever the standards are, that's what they are; but why all the mystery about what constitutes acceptable?

In the words of Faber College, "Knowledge is Good".
Old 06-06-02, 05:53 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Again, think of it this way:

If it's not safe, it shouldn't be on the road. Fix it or pitch it . Never hurts to be too safe .

I'll try to contact the NYS DMV to see what they actually do during an inspection. Been a while .
Old 06-06-02, 03:10 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Cool Inspections

Well in Missouri it goes like this:
•Windshield cannot have more then three cracks on the DRIVERS side of the shield. (The windshield can actually be missing in MO. as long as you have on safety glasses. [In the book or was 10 some odd years ago].
•No tinted windows [was revoked this year. 35% allowed on side wdos and up to 90% on rear. I actually used to take my side door windows out for inspection].
•Rear view mirror, door mirrors if factory installed must be there and functional.
•No light lens can be “Broken”, I used judgment. If it was showing white light from the lens or was busted out I would fail it. They also must be of proper color.
•Headlights must be attached to car, doesn’t matter how or where but must be present and work, have high beams etc.
•Horn works, turn signals and running lights.
•Exhaust intact, ball joints, tie rods, drag link functional.
•Tires not below certain depth, can’t remember what it was but it was liberal.
•I had to pass cars that had steering columns falling out of them, seats not attached to the frame, bodies held on with “C” clamps.

I actually think that safety inspections are a joke. Always have been always will be. For every person that has a legal inspection done I bet I can produce a dozen that would not have passed but did. I haven’t even had to take my car in to the shop, buddy gives me the sticker. But he also knows that I take absolute care of my 81 Cadillac Coup Deville and if isn’t safe it doesn’t get on the road.
We now have a two year inspection. Maybe that’s why when you cruise thru MO you see mufflers etc on the road? I only inspected for two years of the seven I was licensed for. I had my inspector’s license because we built custom vans and they had to pass to get registered with thru RV society uppity ups or some such. But I tell you in the two years I did public inspections I had two fist fights and actually had to pull a gun on one guy to get him to leave, he had welded an upper “A” frame assembly together and you could see daylight thru some of the weld. Hey son you don’t mess with us hillbillies in our old gas stations.
Old 06-06-02, 05:42 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Windshield cannot have more then three cracks on the DRIVERS side of the shield. (The windshield can actually be missing in MO. as long as you have on safety glasses. [In the book or was 10 some odd years ago].
No light lens can be “Broken”, I used judgment. If it was showing white light from the lens or was busted out I would fail it. They also must be of proper color.
That's the kind of parametric information that I was interested in; and made public to some greater extent- It's something that could be determined with greater certainty than if it just said "Windshield must be present and in good condition", or words to that effect.
I believe a tailight lens that's cracked, but not showing white light would fail in NYS; I've heard that one time from an inspector. He said it applied to fog lights or other ancillary lights, so long as it was OEM- Joe probably could clarify on that.
I guess it's inevitable that some conditions are necesarily subjective and can't be defined; I don't know how you would be able to put parameters on that A frame assy; "Suspension components should show no evidence of holes that you can slip your little pinkie through" <KIDDING!!>

On a related note, I've just heard that OBD-II equipped cars will be exempted from emissions dyno testing in 2003; instead the code output is to indicate proper functioning of the vehicle. If this is true, will this upset the shops with the hefty investment in the test equipment? It won't apply to older vehicles, but eventually a greater percentage of cars will have come equipped with it. Of course, if they don't need to revise the fees charged, it may actually be welcomed.
Old 06-06-02, 09:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,538
try this site it gives the phone number at the bottom im sure they would be able to tell you how you could get a book containing what more specific details on vehicle inspections.
Old 06-06-02, 11:24 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I saw that contact info, but I got the impression that was for registering complaints, rather than general information. That probably is a good way to find out, though; I'll give them a jingle to see if it exists or not. May as well get it from the horse's mouth.
Old 06-07-02, 05:50 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
What you're looking for is the inspector's guide/pamphlet on what the specific parameters are.

I know I retained with with my inspection information. It was quite outdated in 1990 when I took the test. Hopefully they did update it a bit .

When I get a chance (can't guarantee when), I'll try to call the DMV or e-mail them to find out. I'm sure there's a PDF that can be downloaded.
Old 06-20-02, 11:42 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
This is what you want:

Old 06-24-02, 09:12 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Yes, that looks like the kind of reference I was looking for-

For instance, it states a windshield is rejected if a crack more than 11 inches long with any part extending into the wiper swept area- that gives a clear parameter that can be measured. (That's somewhat like what I heard before, except it's apparently 11" rather than the 4" mentioned).

Thanks, Joe!
Old 06-25-02, 07:13 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Ok .

Don't worry though, because if you're the type to point to the "rule book" when you have an 8" crack in your windshield (under the limit), the shop WILL likely be extra picky on everything else....a crack that wide should warrant a window replacement.

Not trying to be a wiseguy, but these things can work in reverse too
Old 06-25-02, 11:04 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I agree, 11" seems to be past a safe limit, and something that should be replaced. If it's at 10", it wouldn't be long until it travels out beyond that, under stress.
But however those guidelines were set up, it's an attempt at a uniform inspection process, which is a good thing, rather than letting everyone set up their own standards, depending on the flavor of the day. If these standards are felt to be too lax, then steps should be taken to change them, rather than disregarding them.
Old 06-25-02, 09:24 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Point taken, but remember that your safety or someone else's could depend on it. Don't trust the state to tell you your car is "safe". Make your own determination. A few dollars "saved" on repairs is no where near worth your life or someone else's...not to mention property damage and other potential causes of woe.

Some of the things in there are silly. For instance if the shocks are there, blown out, but are still attached, I believe you will pass. However, a car that bounces around on the highway is not safe...your common sense should be your guide in what to replace and when...along with professional advice.

One back up light can work even when the car has two and you'll pass. Silly. The car has two, they both should work! Again, don't rely on the inspection to gauge safety .

It's a minimum standard!

(Steps off the soapbox now). Lol.
Old 06-26-02, 04:08 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
That's true, there are definitely things that are lacking in the standard; one even more glaring than a leaky shock absorber is that ball joints are excluded from the inspection- it could be worn to the point where it's ready to pop out of the socket, and still 'pass'. I'm sure this was part of the inspection program in the past, but I recall this was a result of indiscriminate flagging and replacement, to the point where they apparently had remove it just to prevent it.
It's all just a compromise between safety, economics, and reality, but for better or worse, someone has to set up the standards, minimum or otherwise..
Old 06-26-02, 05:02 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
A side benefit to shops conducting vehicle inspections is the work that can be garnered when a vehicle does not comply. Of course, the consumer has the right to refuse the work and go elsewhere or fix it himself and return for another inspection.

The shop can legally charge you for a full inspection...even if you fail on one count or item. I believe a subsequent reinspection just ascertains that the offending item has been fixed.

With that being said, there have been arguments in the past because the FIRST thing you're supposed to do is remove the current inspection sticker. That causes grief though as consumers were accusing shops of removing the sticker (which might have had some time on it), doing the inspection and finding something wrong. The consumer felt compelled to have that shop do the work as he/she would be riding around without a sticker....a red flag for a ticket .

I believe most shops now don't remove the sticker until the inspection is truly over and it passes .

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes