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Car Inspection in Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

West Franklin Location

502 W. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

(984) 528-3068

University Place Location

201 South Estes Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(984) 528-3088

Cole Park Plaza Location

11470 US-15 501 Hwy N
Chapel Hill, NC 27517

(984) 528-3083

Fordham Blvd. Location

1809 Fordham Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(984) 528-3093

Inspection Services

Chapel Hill Tire Car Inspections

It’s that time of year again – time for your NC state inspection!

A vehicle inspection isn’t just about making sure your car can stay on the road legally—it is also a great way to keep your car running safely and efficiently.

Vehicle Inspection Prices

State emission and safety inspections don’t have to be expensive. At Chapel Hill Tire, you can expect affordable prices for all our inspections. Any of our inspection stations near you in Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, or the surrounding areas will provide inspection services for the following prices:

  • State Emissions Inspection: $30.00
  • State Safety Inspection: $13.60
  • Comprehensive Vehicle Inspection: $104.95
  • Trip Check: $25.00

What To Expect During Safety and Emissions Inspections

If it’s getting close to the time of year when you need to take your vehicle in for NC safety and emissions inspections, it’s important you know what these inspections are and what a mechanic will check during them. As you prepare for your NC inspections, find out more about them below:

What Are NC Annual Vehicle Safety Inspections?

In the state of North Carolina, you need to renew your car registration annually. That means you need an inspection to make sure the core vehicle safety measures — horn, wipers, seat belts, and so on — are all functioning correctly. During an appointment, the mechanic will check the following parts of your car to meet NC safety inspection requirements:

  • Headlights
  • Tires
  • Turn Signals
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust System
  • Brake Lights and Other Accessory Lighting
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Windshield Glass
  • Rearview Mirrors
  • Horn
  • Steering System
  • Window Tints

If you want to learn more about the NC safety inspection requirements, read our full guide to what is checked during a safety inspection here.

What Are Emissions Inspections in NC?

Some NC vehicles also require an emissions inspection. This inspection ensures that your vehicle is not causing unnecessary environmental harm. However, unlike a safety inspection, not all vehicles require an emissions inspection. If your vehicle needs an emissions inspection, the mechanic will check the following parts of your vehicle to make sure they meet NC emissions inspection requirements:

  • Sensors
  • Monitors
  • Dashboard lights
  • Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) System

If you want to learn more about what goes into an emissions inspection, review our complete guide to emissions inspections.

What Vehicles Require an Emissions Inspection?

While North Carolina doesn’t require all vehicles to receive an emissions inspection, many vehicles still need them. Vehicles that are currently exempt from NC emissions inspections include:

  • Registered farm vehicles
  • Diesel-operated vehicles
  • Antique vehicles
  • Certain light-duty vehicles with less than 70,000 miles or that are less than 3-years old
  • Vehicles 20 years or older

If your car doesn’t fall under the categories of exempt vehicles listed above, you’ll likely need an emissions inspection. However, keep in mind that the need for an emissions inspection will vary by the county in which your vehicle is registered.

When Should You Get Your Annual NC Vehicle Safety and Emissions Inspections?

So when should you get your vehicle inspected? At least 90 days before your registration expires. By getting your car inspected three months before your registration expires, you’ll have enough time to get anything fixed if you don’t pass your inspection.

Will I Pass My NC Safety and Emissions Inspections With a Check Engine Light On?

If your engine light is on when you bring your vehicle in for an NC inspection, you won’t pass your emissions test. However, you can pass your safety inspection even if your check engine light is on. Since you’ll still fail your emissions test, it’s important to fix whatever’s causing the light to be on. Besides helping you pass your emissions test, fixing the cause of a check engine light will prevent damage to your engine and reduce your vehicle’s impact on the environment.

Will I Pass My NC Safety and Emissions Inspections With a Tire Light On?

You can still pass your NC safety and emissions inspections with a tire light on. However, you’ll still want a mechanic to fix the cause of the tire light, as it could indicate your tires have too little pressure. Without enough pressure, your tires are far more likely to burst while driving. If you bring your car in with your tire light on and want to reduce the risk of being stranded on the side of the road, ask the mechanic to fix any pressure-related issues.

How to Prepare for NC Car Inspections

While a mechanic will perform an in-depth inspection of your main vehicle parts, you can do a few simple checks to make your car more likely to pass both inspections. Learn more about the three main ways you can prepare to pass NC safety and emissions inspection requirements below:

1. Address Any Warning Lights

If safety lights on your dashboard are on, you likely have a problem that could cause you to fail an inspection. Whether it’s a check engine light or a tire light, have a mechanic see why the lights are on and have them perform any needed repairs before your inspection.

2. Check Safety Features

One of the primary parts of an NC safety inspection is making sure your vehicle’s safety features function correctly. If a safety feature isn’t working, you’ll fail the inspection, so it’s important to check that your turn signals, headlights, and brakes work. To check, you can turn on your car and make sure all your turn signals are working. You’ll also want to turn on your headlights and get out of your car to ensure they function properly.

While out of your car, you’ll also want to have your turn signals on so you can check that the signals on the back of your car are blinking. If your brakes have been making noise or haven’t been performing well while driving, you’ll also want a mechanic to check them and fix any issues before your inspection.

3. See If Your Vehicle Needs an Emissions Test

Before you bring your car in for an emissions test, it’s a good idea to see if you actually need one. Cars that don’t meet the exemption requirements we discussed previously will need to schedule an emission test if their county requires it.

Trip Checks: Inspections For Your Next Road Trip

Aside from state inspections, it is a good idea to get your car inspected before you head out for a road trip. The friendly staff at Chapel Hill Tire can help you avoid issues before they become costly problems and help keep your car happy and healthy. Our affordable trip checks are only $25.00, and they can give you peace of mind that your car doesn’t have a hidden issue before you hit the road.

During a trip check appointment, our certified mechanics will check your turn signal, brake lights, headlights, rotors, tires, fluid levels, filters, and battery. Due to the thoroughness of this check, you reduce the risk of getting stranded on the side of the road while on a road trip. Additionally, these checks can save you money in the long run, as they can reveal hidden issues that could turn into much more costly and damaging problems.

Where to Get a Car Inspection in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Apex, Cary, Durham, or Carrboro

If you’re looking for an NC inspection station near you in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, or the surrounding areas, you’re in luck! Chapel Hill Tire has 11 convenient inspection locations that each offer the car and safety inspections you are looking for. You can find quick and convenient:

Come by your nearest Chapel Hill Tire location for a state inspection, emissions inspection, or any other vehicle service!

Vehicle Inspection Costs

  • State Emissions Inspection


  • State Safety Inspection


  • Comprehensive Vehicle Inspection


  • Trip Check


Why Choose Chapel Hill Tire for Inspections?

Chapel Hill Tire is a certified state inspection station. Our car care experts check out your vehicle from top to bottom to be sure that both you and your fellow drivers will be safe when your car is on the road.

Our professional ASE-certified staff will inspect your vehicle thoroughly, and we’ll give you a competitive quote on any necessary repairs. Also, when you come to Chapel Hill Tire for the first time, you will get $20 off your first service.