Safety/Certification Inspection Checklist

This is a generic informational outline that I have compiled which can be used to do a pre safety or certification inspection. A safety or certification inspection is series of regulations which is set by the government that is done by a licensed mechanic in order to make your vehicle roadworthy, safe, and legal to drive on the road amongst other motorists. The list can be used for either purchasing a vehicle so you are able to determine what is required to be repairs such as repairs or costs and also used for your own personal vehicle if you are doing the repairs yourself. Remember this is a generic list, therefore between countries or states/provinces and even mechanics may vary between requirements. There are also certain measurements or limits applied to areas such as tread depth of tires or brake pad thickness which you will have to refer to your local government regulations.


• bumpers, fenders or mudguards have been removed or is mounted insecurely
• body parts has protruding sharp edges or excessive amounts of rust that could be hazardous to pedestrians or passengers
• hood latch, tailgate/trunk/hatch latch, or passenger door latches operate incorrectly
• outside rear-view mirrors are loose, cracked or have any significant reductions of the reflective surface
• frame or any structural unitized member is broken or cracked or has any loose or missing connecting fasteners or is perforated with rust that could downgrade the safety of the vehicle
• under-body including the trunk floor pan is perforated by rust or damaged or has any opening that may allow entry of exhaust gas or jeopardize the vehicle's structural integrity


• glazing material has exposed sharp edges, missing parts or is insecure
• safety glass in the windshield or to the left or right of the driver has been replaced with any vision-obstructing material or is clouded/fogged so as to affect the driver's vision
• windshield has a crack or stone chip in the area swept by the wiper blade that could affect the driver's vision
• any movable windows functioning incorrectly
• windshield wiper/washer assemblies and the heating and defrosting systems functions incorrectly


• driver's and passenger's sun visors functioning incorrectly
• seat belts/safety restrains functions incorrectly (latch, adjustment, retracts) or in poor condition
• interior rear-view mirror is loose, cracked or have any significant reductions of the reflective surface


• with the engine running, there is any visible leakage in the fuel system
• any components of the fuel system is insecure, missing, including a proper fuel filler cap
• accelerator linkage does not return the engine speed to idle when the pedal is released
• if equipped with power steering from factory, the belt is defective, incorrectly adjusted or missing
• exhaust component are missing or mounted insecurely
• exhaust leakage is present, other than from the manufacturer's drain holes
• exhaust component is within the occupant compartment, or is so located or unguarded that any occupant may be burned by entering or leaving the vehicle
• exhaust system has been shortened or modified from original factory equipment, must extent or be directed past the underbody of the occupant compartment or luggage compartment
• vehicle emissions control system is functioning correctly and all components which were installed from factory are present


• lamp or reflector is loose, missing, damaged, or discolored
• headlamp is covered with a colored film/tint or is fitted with any device affecting brightness
• all lamps must operate and illuminate correctly
• if equipped retracting/hidden headlamps must operate correctly
• headlamps must be aligned correctly
• tail lamps and signal lamps must be the correct colors (refer to your government regulations)
• number of headlamps does not exceed the maximum requirement (refer to your government regulations)
• tail lamps are red in color
• rear license plate light is functional and white in color


• horn operates correctly and is securely mounted
• if equipped with a manual transmission, clutch safety switch functions correctly
• neutral safety switch functions correctly
• speedometer functions correctly

Steering & Suspension

• if equipped with power steering from factory, any visible leakage of fluid is present or the reservoir fluid level is too low
• steering column, box, or couplings are excessively worn or loose on their mountings or parts are missing
• steering linkage joint is worn or loose
• steering system, or suspension locking device or clamp is missing, loose or worn so as to affect its proper operation or makes the vehicle unsafe to drive
• front wheels are visibly out of alignment
• front wheels fail to turn from full right to full left freely
• free movement of the steering wheel exceeds manufacturer's limits
• the power steering system does not operate as intended
• any component, or attachment of the suspension system, or its supports, is excessively worn, corroded, broken, bent, cracked, loose, disconnected or missing
• front or rear axles are tracking improperly so as to affect handling the vehicle
• any ball joint is worn beyond manufacturer's limits
• any wheel or axle bearing is excessively worn, loose or damaged
• any wheel hub seal, axle seal or oil retainer is missing or leaking


• fluid, hydraulic, or vacuum leakage is present in the braking system
• brake fluid in the brake master cylinder is below the manufacturer's recommended minimum level
• brake lines have heavy corrosion scaling or any noticeable fluid residue
• vacuum or hydraulic hose or tube is damaged, insecure, missing or chafes against any part of the vehicle
• with the foot brake applied, the brake pedal moves toward the floor
• brakes are adjusted incorrectly
• parking brake is adjusted incorrectly
• brakes fails to release immediately when the pedal is released
• parking brake fails to release immediately when the pedal or handle is released
• mechanical, vacuum or hydraulic components are missing, cracked, loose, badly worn, seized or damaged so it functions incorrectly
• with the motor running and the brake pedal applied, any brake warning lights come on
• with the vacuum depleted from the power brake (by depressing the brake pedal three or four times), the motor shut off and the brake pedal depressed, the pedal fails to move momentarily towards the floor when the motor is started
• any brake drum or rotor is worn beyond the manufacturer's limits, or the friction surfaces are damaged mechanically other than from normal wear
• any brake rotor cooling fin is cracked or broken
• any bonded brake lining is thinner than minimum thickness (refer to your government regulations)
• any riveted brake lining is thinner than minimum thickness (refer to your government regulations)
• any brake lining is broken or loose on its shoe or pad
• any brake lining is contaminated
• the parking brake does not hold properly and release fully
• if equipped, the dual-circuit brake warning lamp fails to operate as intended
• during a road test, the braking system does not brake evenly or stop the vehicle within the required distance

Wheels & Tires

• wheel-retaining device is worn, defective, loose or missing
• wheel is cracked, excessively bent or has been repaired by welding
• wheel spoke is loose, broken or missing
• tire shows any exposed cord or belts
• abnormal bump, bulge or knot is present in tire
• tire makes contact with any vehicle components
• tire bears the markings "not for highway use" or "farm use only" (refer to your government regulations)
• tire is worn beyond the minimum allowed tread depth (refer to your government regulations)
• tire differs in construction type from any other tire on the same axle
• except on a vehicle fitted with dual rear tires, any mixture of radial tires are on the front axle and belted-bias or bias ply tires are installed on the rear axle

Trailer Hitch (if equipped)

• trailer hitch or attachment is damaged, excessively worn or insecure as to affect its proper operation
• trailer hitch lock assembly fails to operate as intended
• trailer light hook-up functions incorrectly