BDR Automotive

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1605 Washington St

MON – FRI: 8 AM – 5 PM
Closed for Lunch 12-1 pm

Brian, co-owner of BDR Auto, inspecting a vehicle for safety inspection.
Picture of BDR Automotive

BDR Automotive

Check Your Vehicle Safety Inspection Date

The MA Registry of Motor Vehicles announced a new rule in November 2022 that discourages motorists from delaying their annual motor vehicle safety inspection. The agency is striving to ensure that all vehicles are inspected each year … on time. In the past, if your current inspection indicated a 3, meaning that your inspection month is March and you delay until June, your new sticker would say 6. With the new rule, even though the inspection didn’t occur until June, your new sticker will revert to the month you should have had the inspection – March.

“Motor vehicle inspections are required to be conducted yearly and play an integral part in helping to facilitate roadway safety across the Commonwealth,” Registrar of Motor Vehicles Colleen Ogilvie said.

In addition, driving with an expired sticker or in an uninspected vehicle can result in a moving violation, fines, and can be determined to be a surcharge-able incident, which would increase the owner’s insurance premiums.

Get your safety inspection done!

All vehicles in Massachusetts must pass an annual safety inspection. Vehicles with onboard diagnostic systems manufactured after 2008, must pass an annual emissions test. There are more than 1,800 licensed inspections stations in MA, including at BDR Automotive where we perform both commercial and non-commercial vehicles… including trailers up to 26,000 lbs!

Safety First

The MA Vehicle Check Program, which is the official name for the State Inspection, is focused on safety. A broken taillight, cracked windshield, defective suspension, or other defect can make a vehicle unsafe to drive. Fourteen key components are evaluated during the safety inspection. (More than 70 items are subject to inspection in commercial vehicles!)

Beginning with a brief visual inspection, a state-licensed inspector will look for obvious conditions, such as a gasoline leak which would present an immediate danger.  If such a condition is present, it must be fixed before the inspection continues.

Once the visual inspection is complete, the safety inspection will begin. The following systems/items will be checked:

  •  Brakes, both the parking and service brakes
  •  Steering wheel and box
  • Suspension/front end, including springs and shock absorbers
  • Horn
  • Windshield, windows, windshield wipers and washer
  •  Mirrors
  • Lights, including taillights, directionals, headlights, hazard lights, reverse lights, license plate lights and reflectors
  • Tires and wheels
  • Bumper, fenders, and fuel tank and floor pans, and vehicle frame or altered vehicle height
  • Seat belts
  • Fuel tank cap
  • Exhaust system components, including the muffler

Why Test Emissions?

The health risks of air pollution are serious. Poor air quality increases respiratory ailments, such as asthma and bronchitis. It heightens the risk of life-threatening conditions and burdens the healthcare system with substantial medical costs.

Transportation is the largest contributor to smog and air pollution in the US. It accounts for one-third of all carbon dioxide, more than half of the carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides, almost one-quarter of the hydrocarbon emissions, over a third of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and over one-fifth of particulate matter in the US. In total, motor vehicles can emit up to 40 hazardous air pollutants!

Clean air is vital to public health and a strong economy. In addition to harming health, poor air quality negatively impacts the environment by increasing greenhouse gasses resulting in climate change.

Testing motor vehicles through the Massachusetts Vehicle Check Program helps ensure that vehicles run as cleanly as they were designed. If an emissions test shows a problem with the emissions control system, the vehicle’s owner is required to make the appropriate repairs.

Your BDR Service Tech can tell you which vehicles need to have Emissions testing and which tests must be completed. 

Then What?

You will receive a copy of your VIR – Vehicle Inspection Report – which provides information that a repair technician can use to diagnose and repair your vehicle.

If your vehicle passes both the Safety and Emissions Testing, you will be given a new windshield sticker with the number indicating the month your car was inspected (or the month it was dur for inspection).  If you fail the inspection, you will receive a windshield sticker with a black R which will be replaced when the repairs are done and the vehicle passes a re-test.

Some Tips for You

  • Don’t forget your current and active registration document. Be sure the VIN number on the vehicle is visible and legible. Bring your checkbook, credit card, or cash to pay the inspection fee.
  • To avoid end-of-month lines, bring your vehicle to be inspected during the work week, early in the month, around midday.
  • Make sure your vehicle is safe to operated.
  • Check tires, including the spare, to ensure they are inflated properly.
  • Check battery terminals to be sure they are tight, clean, and dry
  • Include a check of brakes and suspension components during regular maintenance, at least once a year or every 12,000 miles.
  • Keep windshield washer fluid (with antifreeze) topped off
  • Keep vehicle idling to a minimum to avoid wasting fuel and excess engine wear.
  • Check engine oil level often.
  • Turn vehicle off when refueling. Do not add more fuel or top off the tank after the pump has shut off. The evaporative control system needs to have airspace to function properly.
  • If Check Engine or Service Engine Light stays lit for more than a week, you may have an emissions-related problem. Have it checked.
  • If Check Engine or Service Engine Light blinks or flashes while the engine is running, your vehicle has a serious emissions-related problem that needs immediate attention to prevent  permanent catalytic converter damage.

Failing a Safety or Emissions Test

Failing a safety inspection means you must repair any defects found immediately.  You will receive a referral to a Motorist Assistance Center (MAC). Call your MAC prior to having your vehicle repaired.

If your vehicle fails the Emissions Test, you need to get it fixed and re-tested within 60 days.

Return your vehicle to the same location where your initial inspection was performed. Be sure to have any receipts for maintenance work with you.  Your re-test is free, providing you return within the 60-day period.

If you have any questions about the MA Vehicle Check Program, you can visit their website or call 508-429-4720 to speak with a BDR Automotive technician who will be glad to help.

Stop by BDR Automotive for your next annual vehicle safety inspection Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm (closed for lunch noon – 1 pm). 

Chris Grady
Chris has joined the BDR team as highly certified technician. He is a hard worker and very reliable. Chris specializes in diagnostics and prides himself on proficiency and getting the job done right the first time! Chris has the proven ability to deliver quality work with excellent customer satisfaction. Chris attended Mass Bay Community College where he earned his degree in Automotive Technology. He has gone on to become ASE certified as well as having certifications in KIA and TOYOTA diagnostics.

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