Will My Car Pass Inspection with A Broken Odometer?

In most states, your vehicle is required to pass a safety inspection every year. This inspection serves two purposes: to ensure your car is safe to drive and to ensure that it’s not doing unnecessary harm to the environment.

The question is, if you’re due for your inspection but your odometer is broken, can your car still pass? Let’s take a look at what a non-functional odometer means for your safety inspection.

Safety Inspections: What is Checked?

Vehicles are required to undergo safety inspections in all but seven states. Of the states that require a safety inspection, some are more stringent than others. Overall, however, your vehicle will be checked for the same safety requirements if such an inspection is required.

Your technician or mechanic will make sure:

  • Your headlights are working properly
  • Your brake lights and turn signals are functioning
  • Your steering system is in good condition
  • Your windows aren’t cracked or in need of replacement
  • Your tires have ample tread and aren’t worn or bare
  • Your brakes are functioning adequately
  • Your windshield wipers are working, and the blades aren’t worn
  • Your parking brake works
  • Your vehicle’s horn sounds
  • Your tinted windows are within your state’s legal limits (usually around 35%)

As you can see, the inspection covers the safety basics, ensuring your vehicle can be driven on public roads without causing danger to yourself or others. Your car can pass the safety inspection even if you have a broken odometer.

Emissions Inspections: What is Checked?

In some counties of some states, your vehicle will need to also pass an emissions inspection before it can be re-registered or legally driven. So, what’s checked in an emissions inspection? Well, that depends upon where you live.

As with the safety inspection, some states have more stringent requirements than others. In most emissions inspections, your mechanic will check your vehicle’s emissions of:

  • Hydrocarbons
  • Sulfur oxide
  • NOx
  • Carbon monoxide
  • VOCs
  • Other particle matter

Again, as you can see the odometer reading on your vehicle has nothing to do with whether your vehicle will pass this inspection.

Will My Car Pass an Inspection with a Broken Odometer?

In short, yes! Your car can pass an inspection even if your odometer reading isn’t correct. In fact, most mechanics won’t even drive your vehicle during a vehicle inspection and therefore won’t likely notice that the odometer isn’t moving.

That said, your odometer is important to the “health” of your vehicle. Having an accurate representation of the mileage on your vehicle will allow you to perform vehicle maintenance such as tire rotations and oil changes on time.

Additionally, an accurate odometer reading will be almost essential should you decide to sell your car. Buyers like to know the condition of the vehicle they’re purchasing–this includes the mileage on the engine and other parts.

While a broken odometer may not impact your vehicle inspection, it may be worth it to have the instrument checked should it fail. A broken odometer can help you maintain your vehicle properly which, in turn, can make your vehicle inspections a breeze.

Additional Considerations for a Vehicle Inspection

If you’re due for your inspection and your odometer isn’t working, you will almost invariably still pass. However, there are additional considerations you should think about if your odometer isn’t working.

Your broken odometer may be caused by something as simple as debris behind the dial in an older model vehicle. However, if your car is a newer model with a digital display, there may be underlying problems that are causing the issue.

If neither your odometer nor your speedometer is functional, you should take your car to a mechanic; there may be an issue with your speed sensor. Your car will likely still pass an inspection, but you’re definitely at higher risk of being cited for speeding! Plus, electrical issues are no joke – catch them early to avoid expensive repairs.

If it’s just the odometer that’s malfunctioning, it’s probably a simple fix. Even the most high-tech vehicles rely on simple gears that turn over miles on your odometer. These gears are usually made of plastic. Replace these gears as soon as you notice the problem as it will help keep your reading as accurate as possible.

Summary: Passing a Safety Inspection

Will my car pass inspection with a broken odometer? Yes! Unless there’s another huge issue with your vehicle, your car will pass both safety and emissions inspections just fine. However, it’s a good idea to keep your odometer functioning properly. An accurate reading of the mileage on your vehicle can prevent expensive repairs down the road.