If your car‘s inspection sticker is about to expire, you may be wondering: can I get my vehicle inspected at Walmart? With over 2,000 Auto Care Centers nationwide, they seem like a convenient option.
Unfortunately, the answer is no – Walmart does not offer state vehicle inspection services.
This can be frustrating if your registration renewal or rideshare driver application is coming up. But don‘t worry! In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about getting your car legally inspected elsewhere and back on the road:
- Why Walmart doesn‘t do inspections
- Where to go for inspections
- Different types of inspections
- Average costs
- Services Walmart does offer
- How to prepare for an inspection
- Consequences of an expired or failed inspection
Let‘s start with the details on Walmart‘s policies when it comes to car inspections.
Why Doesn‘t Walmart Do Inspections?
According to Steve Ackley, a spokesman for Walmart‘s Auto Care division, the reason boils down to regulations.
"We do not offer vehicle inspections at any of our stores. Inspection requirements vary considerably by state and often require certification processes we don’t provide," Ackley explained.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) leaves it up to individual states to mandate annual vehicle safety and emissions inspections. Standards can vary widely – while 17 states don‘t require any inspection, others like Pennsylvania have rigorous annual checks.
Ridesharing companies also impose strict inspection rules, especially if driving across state lines. Vehicles in New York City for Uber Black require a 50-point checklist, for example.
With dozens of variations, Walmart simply isn’t equipped to offer certified inspections coast-to-coast. Their technicians are not licensed by state agencies to perform these standardized safety and emissions checks.
Frustrating as it may be, you‘ll have to look elsewhere for your legally mandated inspection. But don‘t worry – there are plenty of certified options to get an inspection sticker before your registration or rideshare application deadline.
Where To Get a Car Inspected
If Walmart isn’t inspecting, where should you go? Here are some convenient and affordable options:
Popular oil change chains like Valvoline, Midas, Mr. Lube, and Jiffy Lube employ certified technicians to inspect vehicles to your state‘s specifications.
Local Auto Shops
Independent mechanics, dealerships, and other repair shops may also offer inspection services if they have certified technicians, equipment like dynamometers, and approval from your state DMV to conduct inspections.
Ask neighborhood auto shops if they perform inspections adhering to your state‘s specific requirements. Some specialize in certain vehicle types like motorcycles too.
DMV Inspection Stations
Some states like New York have official inspection sites licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Search your state‘s DMV website for a list of authorized locations.
These are often cheaper than third-party shops but may have longer wait times. Make an appointment if possible.
Mobile Inspection Services
For convenience, some companies like LEMUL have state-licensed inspectors who will perform inspections at your home, office, or other location.
Rates start around $60 for a basic safety inspection, and you‘ll avoid the hassle of taking your vehicle into the shop.
No matter where you choose to get your inspection done, call ahead to ask what documents they’ll need, how long it will take, and what types of payment they accept. Have your vehicle registration and proof of insurance ready.
Different Types of Vehicle Inspections
There are a few common inspection levels, depending on your state‘s rules and the inspector you visit:
|Checks tires, lights, brakes, suspension, wipers, belts, and other basic safety components.
|Includes safety inspection plus checking all vehicle parts and operating systems.
|Thorough inspection meeting standards for limos, taxis, rideshares, commercial vehicles, and drivers crossing state lines. Includes emissions testing.
*Costs vary based on location, vehicle type, and shop. Confirm exact pricing with inspection station.
A basic safety inspection, required annually in many states, checks that critical components related to roadworthiness are in adequate condition. Specific elements checked include:
- Tires and tread depth
- Headlights, turn signals, brake lights
- Windshield wipers and washers
- Braking system
- Suspension system
- Seat belts
This verifies your vehicle has the bare minimum safety features functioning properly to drive legally in your state.
A standard or comprehensive inspection covers all the basics plus checks of additional systems like:
- Electrical components and wiring
- Engine, emissions, and exhaust
- Fuel system
- Computer diagnostics check
- Fluid levels and leaks
- Test drive to assess driveability
This more thorough inspection verifies your entire vehicle is in sound mechanical shape. Some states require this annually.
Special categories of vehicles like taxis, limos, CDC vehicles, and commercial transport may require rigorous enhanced safety inspections.
These inspections examine aspects like:
- Vehicle type, make, model, VIN verification
- Emissions testing
- Undercarriage examination
- Wheelchair restraint system check (if applicable)
- Interior safety features like fire extinguishers and first aid kits
Rideshares like Uber and Lyft also impose strict enhanced inspections, especially if you‘ll drive passengers across state lines. Uber Black cars in NYC need an exhaustive 50-point checklist inspection, for example.
How Much Do Inspections Cost?
Inspection prices can vary based on your state, vehicle type, and where you get it done. Here are typical costs:
|State Inspection Site
Prices are general estimates only. Confirm specific pricing with inspector.
Going to a state-run inspection site is often cheapest, but comes with potential long waits versus paying a bit more for quicker private shops. Independent mechanics may charge the most but offer high quality, specializing in certain vehicle types.
There are a few ways to save money on an inspection:
Ask about package deals – some shops bundle inspections with oil changes or other maintenance at a discounted rate.
Inquire about re-inspection discounts – if you fail and need re-inspection, some places offer a cheaper rate.
Go to a state inspection site – government-run locations have lower labor costs so can offer more budget-friendly pricing.
Time it with registration renewal – Some states waive the registration fee if you get inspected shortly before renewal.
Use coupons – Retailers like Midas, JiffyLube, and Firestone often have print or online coupons for discounted inspections.
No matter where you go, call at least a few shops to compare inspection pricing. And remember – paying a little more for a quality inspection can reveal issues and save you money down the road versus skimping now.
What Automotive Services Does Walmart Offer?
While Walmart doesn’t do inspections, their Auto Care Centers can still handle a wide range of maintenance needs to keep your car in tip-top shape.
Services offered at Walmart include:
- Oil changes
- Tire rotation and balance
- Battery testing and replacement
- Installation of wiper blades, lights, etc.
- Air filter replacement
- Coolant system flush
- Fuel system cleaning
- Differential service
- Lube and fluid services
Walmart has over 2,000 Auto Care Centers nationwide, staffed by certified technicians who can perform quality maintenance at affordable prices without an appointment.
Use the store locator on their site to find an Auto Care Center nearby. Give them a call to discuss your vehicle’s needs and see if they can take care of your oil change, new tires, or other service while you get your mandated inspection done elsewhere.
How to Prepare for a Smooth Inspection
No one wants the hassle of failing an inspection. Avoid returns and re-inspection fees by properly preparing your vehicle:
Fix known issues – Don‘t put off replacing worn wipers or burnt out lights. Address any mechanical problems beforehand.
Review requirements – Your state DMV website lists inspection criteria. Check you meet all standards.
Gather paperwork – Have registration, insurance, and payment ready to avoid delays.
Clean your car – Inspectors can‘t check items obscured by clutter or dirt. Clear out excess materials and wash it.
Check ahead of time – Do a test run checking items like lights, blinkers, seat belts, and tires for problems.
Arrive early – Leave ample time in case of wait times. Rushing creates mistakes.
Take time to thoroughly prepare your vehicle and you‘ll sail through your inspection.
What Happens If You Don‘t Get Inspected?
Wondering what happens if you skip inspection or your registration lapses? Fines and penalties apply.
Registration suspension – Failure to complete required annual inspections can result in your registration being suspended, preventing you from legally driving your car.
Tickets – Police can ticket you for driving an uninspected or unregistered vehicle, typically around $100-$500 depending on location.
Insurance issues – Driving uninsured if registration lapses puts you at huge financial risk in case of an accident.
Failing rideshare inspection – Uber/Lyft will not let you drive until any failed inspection issues are corrected and re-inspected. Loss of income!
Don‘t risk fines, suspended registration, tickets, insurance problems, or losing rideshare work. Stay on top of required inspections!
The Bottom Line
While Walmart Auto Care Centers are convenient for many services, vehicle inspections are not something they provide. With variations between states, their techs simply aren‘t certified to perform legally mandated safety and emissions checks.
Instead, visit national chains like Midas or Jiffy Lube, local auto shops with certified mechanics, DMV inspection sites, or use a mobile inspector service. Schedule inspections well before registration renewal or rideshare onboarding deadlines to avoid any lapses.
And remember – an investment in a quality inspection today can uncover issues, improve safety, and save you money tomorrow! Keep your car properly inspected and in top shape for the road ahead.