With all states, car inspections and registrations are an important part in car safety and that doesn’t change in Dallas. When a car is registered, it shows the general public that the car is “up to par” with the current year’s safety standards.

Preparation is crucial to passing the state inspection. Refusing to do so means a failed inspection and potentially a ticket from the police if you’re caught with an expired car registration. Though the Dallas state inspection isn’t much different from other inspections, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that this visit, is your only visit.


Texas requires that all vehicles go through a safety inspection each year. For those that are getting close to that year, don’t worry. You will be given a 90 day grace period to complete your inspection and registration at the time of your notice from the state. For more details, including a list of unique cases to consider prior to inspections, you can visit Dekra’s tips for car inspections page.

Along with this, Dallas residents will have to go through an emissions test though there are exceptions. Vehicles that don’t have to go through the emissions test include:

Excessively Old and New Vehicles

Models that are over 24 years old do not have to take the emissions test, though owners should expect an annual safety inspection. Brand new vehicles are also exempt until their two-year initial inspection sticker expires.

Special Types of Vehicles

Electric cars, motorcycles and diesel powered vehicles are exempt from the emissions tests but owners should expect the annual safety inspection.

Emissions Testing

Though Texas does not require all counties to go through emissions testing, Dallas does fall under the 17 counties that do. Emission tests will measure the number of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide that leaves your vehicle. If it exceeds a certain amount, your car will fail the test and you will have to go through the appropriate procedures for a failed safety inspection.

Vehicle owners should expect two types of tests for emissions, depending on the age of their vehicle.

  • 1996 and newer – testing will utilize the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) to determine if your emissions are working properly. These cars will also go through a visual inspection of the emissions systems and its components.

  • 1995 and older – Dallas residents should expect an Accelerated Simulation Mode (ASM) test, which simulates various driving conditions while an analyzer checks the tailpipe for emissions.

Tips for Passing

Though the safety inspection can be intimidating, we have a few suggestions to do prior to the inspection. Hopefully, these will ease your mind!

  • Check your tires – make sure that your tires are rotated, aligned and properly inflated. As a rule of thumb, tires should be around 30-35 PSI
  • Change your oil and filters – this will be important for the emissions test. Make sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule.
  • Gas cap – ensure that the gas cap you’re using is right for your vehicle and in the right place at the time of inspection. Having a properly fitted cap will help prevent a lot of evaporated emissions from releasing into the atmosphere.