Get ready to go inspection sticker-free

Things are gonna be different next year.

Texas drivers will have a little less clutter on their windshield next year when the familiar green inspection sticker goes away, but it comes at the price of requiring inspections in order to renew vehicle registrations.

As of March 2015, vehicles registered in Texas will no longer need separate vehicle inspection and registration stickers. Inspections and registrations will continue, but the single registration sticker will act as proof of both, Texas DMV director Whitney Brewster told a state senate committee on Monday. The deadline for passing state vehicle safety and emissions tests shifts to sometime in the 90 days before the vehicle’s registration expires.

“This is a big impact on customers,” Brewster told state senators, citing the need for an aggressive public awareness campaign.


The rules and costs for vehicle owners do not change, though when the payments occur will. Owners in the Houston area will pay the station $25.50 when the inspection is done. The remaining $14.25 associated with Texas clean air programs and inspection oversight is paid when the person renews the vehicle registration.

The owner will get a printout when they submit for the inspection, then that information is relayed into the state database. The owner can go online prior to their registration expiring and renew. Officials can check the insurance and inspection databases for the information and issue the registration renewal.

For in-person renewals, the owner can take the proper insurance and inspection certificates and present them to the county tax assessor.

The change means a break from annual inspections for some drivers, because of the timing for inspections and registrations expiring. If someone’s registration expires in May and their inspection tag expires in June, for example, they will not have to get their car tested until prior to renewing their registration in May 2016.

See here for the background. This is the result of a bill passed last year by the Lege, and the idea is to cut down on inspection fraud. It will be a big change for pretty much everyone, so that public awareness campaign does need to be aggressive and pervasive. For now, be aware that a change is coming, and be prepared to look for the new procedures next year when inspection and registration time roll around.

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One Response to Get ready to go inspection sticker-free

  1. Ross says:

    Are safety inspections actually necessary (somehting like 30 states do not require them)? How many accidents are caused by vehicles that would have failed an inspection? Would we be better served by merely requiring an emissions inspection after 5, 8, 10, 12, etc years? i hate paying for the inspection, and the time it takes to get it done.

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