Will My Car Pass a Safety Inspection?

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Buying a new-to-you car? Congratulations!

Just moved to Ontario? Welcome! What took you so long?

These two occasions have something in common.

The cars or passenger vehicles in your possession will have to get a Safety Standard Certificate.

In 2016, Ontario implemented the Passenger/Light-Duty Vehicle Inspection Standard which all auto shops in Ottawa follow.

When newcomers - or used-car owners - start looking for someone to perform the safety inspection, it’s natural to wonder: will my car pass a safety inspection?

Examples of Problems That Would Get Your Car an F-Grade

Worst-case scenario, your car is going to have to undergo some repairs before it can pass a safety inspection.

We know that stings a little, but trust us: you’ll feel so much better when you car gets an A+.

Here are a few examples of problems that would require fixing before passing a safety inspection.

1. Your Exhaust is Leaking

Your exhaust system is part of your car’s powertrain. Powertrain refers to the mechanism that transmits the power from your engine to the axles of your vehicle.

Leaks in your exhaust mean dangerous carbon monoxide fumes, which could filter into your car. Any cracks or leaks should be immediately repaired.

In Ontario, you have 10 days to get the repairs made after the inspection. We can help you with that.

2. Your Brakes Are Shot

Are you an aggressive braker?

Perhaps you’ve had to do one or two emergency stops.

Or you could be the most deliberate driver in the world, and have had your brakes for a long time.

No matter what kind of driver you are, brakes wear out over time, and need to be replaced. This is especially important if you’re buying a used car with brakes worn in by someone else.

Based on Ontario guidelines, if your brake-shoe lining is 1.6 millimetres or less, you’ll have to get them replaced so your car can pass a safety inspection.

At 1.6 mm, we recommend talking to us about your brake replacement options. It’s better to get them replaced while you’re here than find out in 6 weeks you need to make another appointment.

3. Your Suspension is Worn Out

Your suspension moves. A lot. Up and down, around the corners.

Suspension is built to last, but it needs to be well-tended. Otherwise, components could wear out.

While you may have gotten used to feeling all the bumps, that’s really not great for your car.

If the ball joints or springs of your suspension are past their prime, or there’s a difference in height of 25 mm or more on your vehicle’s alignment, these issues will have to be fixed prior to your safety inspection.

4. Your Tires Are Bald

Bald tires are bad. Period.

With no tread depth, you’re not able to grip the road. This leads to dangerous driving conditions for you and other people on the road, particularly if the weather changes.

Whether you’re using the tires that came with your new used car, or tires you’ve kept from a previous car, they’ll have to be inspected for the safety inspection.

Based on the Ontario guidelines, any tire with a tread depth of 2 mm or less requires replacing.

We sell tires, so we can do this for you. It may add a couple hours to your visit, but we have a comfortable waiting area available to all our customers.

5. Your Instruments Are Going Haywire

Instruments refer to the tools on your dashboard, like your speedometer and odometer.

These are crucial if you want to drive safely and avoid speeding tickets.

Sometimes your car’s instruments lose calibration. You might not even realize it, unless you drive by a speed gun.

It’s one of the things on our car safety inspection checklist, and we’ll want to fix it before your car can pass a safety inspection.

6. Your Steering is Out of Control

Every part of your steering mechanism plays an important role. One loose piece, and the risk of a steering problem goes up exponentially.

Drivers only ever see the wheel. If it goes left and right, you assume that all is well.

At a safety inspection, we complete a thorough look at all components, and may have to replace some if we notice significant wear and tear.

What You Don’t Have to Worry About At a Safety Inspection

We know it seems like there’s a lot of repairs in your near future.

While that may be the case, there are also some things you don’t have to repaired right away.

1. Minor Leaks and Soot Around the Exhaust Joints

Exhaust systems have joints. Around these joints you would see soot or even small leak marks.

Wait - leaks are bad, aren’t they?

You’re right. But tiny leaks around the joints are normal because the connection isn’t seamless.

2. Cracks in Your Windshield That Don’t Interfere with Safety or Wipers

If you have a crack in your windshield, you’ve probably spent most of this article wondering when we’re going to mention it. More specifically, you’re wondering if your going to have to replace your entire windshield before the safety inspection.

Not necessarily.

According to the Ontario Vehicle Inspection Standard, cracks in a windshield are divided into two categories: reject and pass.

Cracks that would need to be repaired prior to a safety inspection would be:

  • Any crack through one layer that extends more than 50 mm into the windshield wiper area.
  • Any star-shaped chip with a diameter of 13 mm or more in the windshield wiper area.

Cracks that would not have to repaired in order to pass are:

  • Any crack that extends less than 50 mm into the windshield wiper area.
  • Any star-shape chip with a diameter of less than 13 mm in the windshield wiper area.
  • Any crack that is longer than 50 mm, but outside the windshield wiper area.
  • Any star-shape chip with a diameter of more than 13mm, but outside the windshield wiper area.

While we recommend getting cracks in your windshield repaired as quickly as possible, most will not impact your safety inspection.

3. Scratches and Dings

Scratches and dings are annoying, we know.

But since scratches don’t damage the integrity of your vehicle’s body, they aren’t a safety issue that needs to be resolved prior to the inspection.

4. Purely Surface Rust Spots

Rust isn’t pretty.

Severe rust can have a damaging effect on your car. But purely surface rust spots are just that: purely surface.

If you’re worried about the rust spots on your car, have us take a look. Unless it’s severe rust, you won’t have to get it fixed that day.

Our 36-Point Car Safety Inspection Checklist

Yes, you read that correctly.

Bemac has a 36-point car safety inspection checklist. This includes the:

  • Body work
  • Seats and seatbelts
  • Frame components
  • Mirrors
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Lamps and Reflectors
  • Speedometer
  • Fuel system
  • Exhaust system
  • Brakes
  • Horn
  • Accelerator linkage
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Natural starting switch
  • Tires
  • Wheel mounts and rims

We use our car safety inspection checklist to ensure that we certify everything, everytime.

Come to Bemac For Your Inspection

You need your Safety Standards Certificate for the next step of registering your car.

The technicians at Bemac will help you get there by giving you honest estimates of your car’s condition, and conducting a professional inspection that leaves no stone unturned.

I Need an Inspection

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