What to Know About Car Inspection in Utah

State car inspection in Utah requires that owners with cars that are four, eight, and ten years old bring their car in for a safety check, while cars over ten years old must pass a safety inspection every year. Utah lawmakers are currently considering whether to abandon the inspection policy as ineffective and as discriminatory to the poor, but the requirement draws attention to the importance of driving a roadworthy car.

Two Types of State Car Inspection in UtahState Inspections

There are two types of inspections required in the state, one for safety and one for emissions.

Safety inspections in Utah are managed by the state and apply to cars, trucks, and on-highway motorcycles. An inspection covers systems and components such as:

  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Belts and hoses
  • Tires tread wear
  • Headlights and brake lights
  • Seat belts

Someone with an older car who was unable to have problems repaired, or who claim economic hardship, might be able to have test requirements waived.

In Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, and Cache counties, vehicles less than six years old are required to have an emissions test less frequently, while those more than six years old must pass a test every year or two. Vehicles with a model year of 1967 and earlier are exempt from the admissions requirements. The fees range from $20-30 depending on locale.

The Move to End Safety Inspections

While emissions testing is required in many urban areas by the Clean Air Act of 1990, the necessity for safety inspections is left up to the states. Many states are abandoning their safety inspection programs; in 2010, New Jersey became the 30th state to eliminate the program. These states, and ones like Utah who are considering abandoning the program, do so based on reports from the U.S. Accountability Office that show little relationship between crash data and the type of safety checks done by states.

A car might fail a safety inspection because it had cracked or tinted glass or a problem with the windshield wipers. There is no data linking accidents to these causes, and local police seldom have time to investigate the relationship between crashes and minor safety infractions. Proponents of ending the inspections cite human behavior, such as failing to wear seat belts or driving too fast as the real causes of accidents. What the state saves on inspections could be redirected toward enforcement of traffic laws.

In Utah, the Department of Public Safety, the Highway Patrol, and many local service facilities that conduct inspection oppose ending inspections, which encourage car owners to maintain their cars. The fact remains that whether the state requires inspections or not, keeping your car in good condition can save you money and prevent unplanned breakdowns.

Visit State Automotive for the currently-mandated state car inspections as well as for routine checkups and planned repairs to keep your car in great running order.