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Car Inspection Laws in West Virginia

Posted in Safety Tips on June 18, 2018

States have vastly different laws when it comes to the registration, inspection, and vehicle emissions of the cars and trucks that operate within state lines. New residents of West Virginia should be aware of the laws and regulations that govern car inspections, smog checks, and more.

West Virginia Car Inspection Laws

Overview of West Virginia Car Registration Laws

In general, West Virginia law requires that most vehicles complete routine safety inspections every 12 months. These inspections do not correlate with the vehicle registration date, so all motorists must be diligent to assure they’re in compliance with state law.

Rules for New West Virginia Residents

New residents to West Virginia have 30 days to transfer the titles and registrations of their vehicles to West Virginia. An exception may apply if the resident moves from a reciprocity state; in that case, each resident has 10 days in which to transfer the title and registration.

If someone moves from one of the following reciprocity states and has a valid registration and safety inspection sticker, he or she may receive a valid sticker from West Virginia with the same expiration date:

  • Wyoming
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Utah
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • New Hampshire
  • Texas
  • Missouri

Inspection Requirements in West Virginia

Most residents of West Virginia must have safety inspections every 12 months. This requirement applies to the following vehicles:

  • Trucks and passenger cars
  • Motorcycles
  • Trailers

On the other hand, some vehicles may be exempt from the safety inspection requirement. These include:

  • Class R house trailers
  • Class S special vehicles
  • Trailers weighing under 2,000 pounds
  • Antique vehicles

The state’s safety inspection sticker is valid for 12 months after satisfactory completion of a safety check. Remember that this date may not correspond with the date of the inspection.

Elements of a Safety Inspection

West Virginia law requires that certain systems work in a satisfactory order. Examples of safety check features include:

  • Brake systems
  • Acceleration
  • Engine and exhaust
  • Transmission
  • Shocks and struts
  • ABS systems

Motorists should bring their vehicles to any authorized safety inspection location when the expiration date on their sticker nears (or within 30 days for new residents). If a vehicle completes the inspection satisfactorily, it will receive a safety inspection certification sticker stating so. A failure, on the other hand, will receive a rejection sticker. When a vehicle fails a safety inspection, the driver has five days to complete repairs and retest it.

If the driver completes the test at the same inspection site, he or she will not have to pay another inspection fee – as long as it is in the five-day window.

If a driver cannot or chooses not to complete a vehicle’s repairs, the rejection sticker must remain on the vehicle. With this rejection sticker, a driver cannot operate the vehicle at all unless driving it from the driver’s residence to the repair or inspection station, or vice versa.

Vehicle Emissions Testing

Right now, West Virginia does not require vehicle emissions testing or smog checks for its vehicles; it requires only a safety inspection.

The West Virginia vehicle safety check program works to improve area roads, prevent car accidents, and avoid the injury of West Virginia residents. New residents to the state have 30 days to comply with this requirement unless they move from one of the reciprocity states outlined above. In this case, a new resident only has 10 days to complete the transfer of the title and safety inspection sticker. Once a vehicle satisfactorily completes a safety inspection, then the sticker is valid for 12 months. Failure to adhere to this could lead to a civil infraction and the required payment of fines under West Virginia law.

If you or a loved one sustained injuries due to another’s failure to maintain his/her car, our dedicated car accidents lawyers can help. To schedule your free initial consultation, call us or contact us online.