The Safety Inspection Program: a yearly checkup for your vehicle

The Virginia Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Program has been helping keep Virginians safe since 1933. Each year, drivers are required to bring their vehicles to a licensed inspector to make sure everything from windshield wipers to exhaust pipes are running safely and smoothly. It’s a 24-step inspection for just $20.

After your vehicle meets the program’s safety standards, you’ll leave with a new sticker for your windshield and the peace of mind that your car – and all the cars around you – are safe to drive.

You can download the full inspection checklist below.

pdf download


Where can I get my vehicle inspected?

Most new car dealerships and many car repair shops are licensed to inspect vehicles. Many of these will display a sign outside their business or advertise in the local phone directory. For help locating an inspection station, contact your local Safety Division Area Office.

How much does a safety inspection cost?

The cost for most vehicles (including cars, trucks, vans, trailers, and motor homes) is $20. Motorcycle inspections are $12 and commercial vehicles are $51.

What’s included in a safety inspection?

Your safety inspection covers the following 24 steps:
1. Remove Old Inspection Sticker
2. Drive Vehicle Into Inspection Lane
3. Inspect Brakes
4. Inspect Parking Brake
5. Inspect Headlights
6. Inspect Other Lights
7. Inspect Signal Device
8. Inspect Steering & Suspension
9. Inspect Tires, Wheels & Rims
10. Inspect Mirrors
11. Inspect Horn
12. Inspect Windshield And Other Glass
13. Inspect Windshield Wiper/Defroster
14. Inspect Exhaust System
15. Inspect Rear License Plate
16. Inspect Hood And Area Under The Hood
17. Inspect Air Pollution Control System
18. Inspect Driver’s Seat
19. Inspect Seat Belts
20. Inspect Air Bag And Airbag Readiness Light
21. Inspect Doors At The Right & Left Side Of The Driver’s Seat
22. Inspect Fuel System
23. Inspect Floor Pan
24. Issue Sticker

car on a bridge

How long can I wait to have a newly acquired vehicle inspected?

As soon as you register a vehicle with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, unless exempt from inspection pursuant to §46.2-1158.0, it must be inspected. We recommend that you plan to get your vehicle inspected before registering your vehicle.

When does my inspection sticker expire?

The sticker expires on the last day of the month indicated on the sticker, regardless of whether it is a weekday or weekend. No documents will be mailed to remind you that the inspection is due.

Can I operate my vehicle with a rejection sticker on the windshield?

A failed inspection and rejection sticker do not place travel restrictions on your vehicle, but you must address the issues found in your inspection and get your vehicle reinspected within 15 days.

Did you figure out all the messages on our license plates?

Click the images below to see what each one says!





Contact info + helpful links

Safety Division Area Offices:
Richmond: (804) 743-2217 [email protected]
Culpeper: (540) 829-7414 [email protected]
Appomattox: (434) 946-7676 [email protected]
Wytheville: (276) 228-6220 [email protected]
Chesapeake: (757) 925-2432 [email protected]
Salem: (540) 387-5437 [email protected]
Fairfax: (703) 803-2622 [email protected]

Division Commander:
Captain Sean L. Stewart, Safety Officer
Phone: (804) 278-5305
Fax: (804) 254-1635
Email: [email protected]

Inspection Station Portal:

Safety Inspector’s License Inquiries:
(804) 278-5307

Links to More Information:
Official Motor Vehicle Inspection Manual (PDF)
Virginia Motor Vehicle Approved Equipment List
Safety Inspector Application Forms
Antique Vehicle Safety References
Vehicle Recalls

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