I was looking at my car, and it’s almost time for my annual right-of-passage that all vehicle owners in Massachusetts experience…the annual MA state inspection.

I don’t know about you, but I dread taking my vehicles in to be inspected.  And, it’s not like I don’t take care of them!  My wife and I are usually very good about keeping up the overall maintenance of our vehicles.  But I like taking my vehicle in for an inspection about as much as I love going to the doctor or dentist…not very much.

WNAW AM logo
Get our free mobile app

Of course, every registered vehicle in Massachusetts, from cars to trucks, has to go through that annual right.  Most of us pay $35.00 and hold our breath as our vehicle is put through the ringer.

A Handsome mechanic job in uniform working on car

Unfortunately, there have been a couple times where I’ve received the dreaded “R”.  Now, that R can come in two different colors:

Black R means your vehicle flunked the emissions portion of the inspection.

Red R means your vehicle flunked the safety portion of the inspection (it could also mean safety AND emissions didn’t pass).

If you get the red R, it means you shouldn’t even drive your vehicle as it’s not safe for roads.  A black R means it’s safe to drive, but you’re not doing the environment any favors.

In either case, you have to get your vehicle repaired and re-inspected within 60 days of when it failed the test.  The good news is, if you bring it back to the same shop where it failed, and you do so within the 60 day time frame, the re-inspection is free.  If you are not within those 60 days, or you bring it to a different shop, you’ll have to pay another $35.00 for the re-inspection.

If your vehicle still doesn’t pass the state inspection, you’ll have to pay $35.00 for each additional try.

Also, keep in mind that if your vehicle fails the inspection one month, but passes the next month, the sticker you receive will reflect the month from the initial inspection.  For example, you take your vehicle in to be inspected in January.  It fails.  You get it repaired, and it passes in February.  The passing sticker will still have a '1' on it for January, the month you first took it in for inspection.

Another scenario that might come up:  your vehicle fails in December of 2022, but passes in February of 2023.  You’ll actually get a sticker that expires in January of 2024.  That’s because “When a vehicle fails near the end of the year and passes its re-inspection the following year, it will always receive a windshield sticker that expires in January of the following year”.

In the end, while state inspections are stressful, they’re for the benefit and safety of everyone on the road.  And may you not be cursed with the dreaded "R".

See the Must-Drive Roads in Every State

Gallery Credit: Sarah Jones


More From WNAW AM