The Four Dollar Amounts You Need to Know for Your State Inspection

State Inspections are one of the quickest services you can receive at an auto shop. You’re in and out somewhere around 10 to 30 minutes, but do you know what you should pay?

$13.60, $23.60, $30.00, $40.00.

Know these numbers. You may have to pay the total split up over time, you may have the amount you pay change from one year to another, but you can never legally be billed more than these. Let’s dive into what they mean:

$13.60 – Safety Only Inspection – This is for cars model year 1995 and older, and vehicles 3 model years old or newer with 70,000 miles or less. These inspections only check over what requires the vehicle to be safe and not what it emits. This inspection expands to all cars if you live in a non-emissions counties, however this likely isn’t you. As a Mint Hill resident, you live in either Mecklenburg or Union county, both of which do emissions tests.

$23.60 – Safety Only with Window Tint – If your vehicle has any kind of aftermarket tint (that means tint that was put on after the vehicle left the assembly line – not how it came when you bought it on the dealer lot) you pay an extra $10. If this seems high to you just for checking tint, please write your politicians. This was entirely their idea. Otherwise, this test is entirely the same as the regular Safety test.

$30.00 – Safety and Emissions Test – This is likely what you’re getting. Currently, this applies to vehicles built from 1996-2016, and vehicles built 2017-2019 with more than 70,000 miles on the odometer. This test contains everything in the Safety test, but also includes things such as check-engine-light tests.

$40.00 – Safety and Emissions with Window Tint – Same as the $30, but with a tint fee. Again, please write your politicians.

Why am I stressing this so hard? Because there is no such thing as a “fair price” for inspections, there is simply the government regulated price. Breaking this rule is illegal and a punishable offense.

So what should I do if I find I’m being overcharged?

First and foremost, say something. Service writers, just like you and me, make mistakes. This could easily be an accident on their part. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

If they refuse to adjust, then you find the Station Number. This number is on your receipt.  Find that number, take it and call the North Carolina License and Theft Bureau. The LTB is a division of the DMV that polices us, the state inspectors. I mean that literally – they have their own police force. If you have the station number and proof that they tried to overbill you, it should be pretty easy to have the shop disciplined. The phone number for the LTB of District Six, the district Mint Hill is in, is 704-331-4500.

Ken Manchester