How Often Does My Car Need to Be Inspected?

Your vehicle is a big investment that you depend on every day to get you where you need to go. Regularly inspecting your vehicle protects your investment and ensures you won’t be stuck on the side of the road when you should be at an important meeting. 

But how often should you have your vehicle inspected? Probably more than you think. You should inspect your vehicle:

  • Every time you drive.

Yes, your driver’s ed instructor was serious. You need to do a visual inspection of your vehicle and its surroundings every time you drive. Look for things like tire damage, headlight or taillight issues, and any obstacles in the immediate vicinity. You should also test out all lights and turn signals before departing.

  • With every oil change.

Your mechanic should do a light inspection of your vehicle every time the oil is changed. This should include a visual inspection under the hood and underneath the vehicle, testing all lights and signals, checking all fluids, checking all tires, and wiping down the windows. You should address any issues the mechanic finds immediately to prevent them from getting worse.

  • Annually.

At least once each year, have a mechanic thoroughly inspect all parts and systems in your vehicle. What is inspected will vary depending on what type of vehicle you have and its features. At a minimum, the mechanic should check that your headlights, signals, brakes, tires, steering, and windows are all functioning properly. An emissions test to check your vehicle’s onboard computer is also not a bad idea.

Many states require an annual inspection, including emissions testing, to go along with your vehicle’s annual registration process. However, Florida is not one of these states. Back in 2000, Florida’s legislature decided to do away with its yearly inspection requirement, putting the responsibility of inspection back on vehicle owners. Florida vehicle owners need to be even more attentive to having their car inspected each year since it is not part of the registration process.

  • At manufacturer-recommended intervals.

In addition to all the times mentioned above, your vehicle’s manufacturer will have other service and inspection recommendations, usually based on mileage. These inspections may focus on specific components of the vehicle, such as the transmission or suspension system. Be sure to read your vehicle’s service manual to know when these mileage-based inspections should take place.

Many newer vehicles come equipped with maintenance reminder systems to help you keep up with all the various recommended inspections and services for the vehicle. Take full advantage of the convenience of these systems, but they will not replace reading your vehicle’s service manual and keeping a regular schedule with your mechanic. At JB Imports Automotive Repair, we perform all types of preventative maintenance tasks on imported vehicles, new and old. If you’re in the Tampa Bay area, call us at 727-823-5951 to schedule your next service or inspection and see why we have over 250 5-star Google reviews!

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