Car Inspection Laws in Florida – What You Need to Know

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Florida, like many states, has car inspection regulations in place that address carbon emission levels and general safety. However, in recent years, Florida abolished their emissions check inspection, and now the law requires inspections of new registrants only. If you’re a new resident to Florida or you recently bought a used car, here’s what you need to know about your car inspection:

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When Do I Need a Car Inspection?

In Florida, there are only two situations in which you would need a car inspection: you recently bought a used car within the state, or your car comes from out of state. If you’re purchasing a new car within the state or you’re renewing your car’s registration, you don’t need to sign up for a vehicle inspection.

Who Inspects My Vehicle?

If your car does need a vehicle inspection, you must complete it with someone who is state-certified to do. Fortunately, most mechanics are qualified to complete a valid inspection, as are local police departments. You can find someone to perform your vehicle inspection by perusing the yellow pages or checking online.

What Do They Inspect?

In the past, Florida law required comprehensive vehicle checks to assure that a vehicle was in good working order and safe for others on the road. However, now all an inspector will do is look at your vehicle’s VIN number and make sure it matches the VIN on your title or lien. This helps minimize risk of fraud and driving stolen cars. Your inspector will fill out a form for you to turn in to your local tax assessor.

How Much Do Inspections Cost?

Depending on where you get it, your inspection could be free or cost as much as $100. Do your research and call ahead for quotes before scheduling your inspection.

Will the Law Ever Change?

Florida used to have required emissions and safety testing, but this program only lasted a few years. To this day, it’s the subject of fiery political debate. Safety checks could go a long way toward preventing car accidents and other injuries, but it’s unclear if this program will resume. For now, it’s each driver’s responsibility to make sure their vehicle is in good working order – and those who neglect to maintain their vehicles, and cause serious injury, could be liable for damages.

While state law no longer requires smog checks, it does provide incentives to those who buy cars that are EPA-certified Inherently Low-Emission Vehicles (ILEV). These cars may be fully electric or hybrid. If you buy one of these vehicles, you can drive in a carpooling lane at any time, even if you don’t have passengers in your car. If you drive a hybrid or electric car, complete a form with the DMV to get a sticker for your car from the local tax assessor’s office.

Laws continually evolve, and we may see safety and smog inspections return in the near future, depending on the political climate. For now, however, residents only need to get VIN inspections in certain situations.