How To Not Fail Your Inspection

Jek Ray Low
6 Jul 2021

The annual inspection is perhaps a necessary evil. Regular, government-mandated checks ensure the cars plying our roads adhere to strict safety standards that are in line with global standards. However, we do have several archaic laws that can prove to be a massive pain for the car nut.

Failing an inspection means you may potentially be subject to even more regular checks that can prove to be bothersome. So how can you ensure that you pass on the first go?

What Your Testers Are Looking Out For
Apart from the obvious (illegal mods!), inspectors are ensuring that your car is operationally safe. They will ensure that the following items are in good working order:

Item Definition
Structural Integrity The condition of the core structure of the chassis frame
Wheel System The operating condition of the tyres, suspension, shock absorber,
wheel bearing, and the alignment of wheels
Braking System The braking efficiency of both service and parking brakes
Steering System

The vehicle’s drive shafts and steering system which would
affect the vehicle’s directional stability

Condition Of The
Vehicle’s Body
The vehicle’s body, seat belts, windscreen, door latch and hinges,
and other key components
Visual & Indication
Vehicle’s headlamps, reflectors, rear view mirror, direction
indicators, windscreen wipers, horn, etc
 Propulsion System  The vehicle’s exhaust system, to ensure that the emissions and noise
levels meet the prevailing standards set by the National Environment Agency

In short, what this does mean, is that all major wear-and-tear items should be addressed. If your vehicle has been in an accident, it should have been properly repaired by qualified mechanics.

Ensuring Your Car Passes The First Time

- Basic Check Up Pre-Inspection

It is perhaps not a bad idea to get your car checked through before sending it off for inspection. A qualified mechanic will be able to identify potential points of failure, which could possibly be rectified for not all that much cash.

Otherwise, a visual inspection can do you some good too. Ensure common failure items are in good working order. Tyres must have sufficient thread on them, and your lights should all be operational. Ensure that your oily bits are in decent shape too.

- Keeping Your Car Stock

If you do not enjoy the authorities breathing down your neck, consider keeping your car stock. When all the OE components are kept in good operational order, this is fool proof way of ensuring you ace the inspections.

Seemingly innocuous modifications, such as switching out your set of lights for ones off a higher spec model, or perhaps swapping out your exhaust for a non-approved aftermarket set, can be grounds for the testers to fail you.

But for those attempting to unleash their car’s untapped potential, passing should not be bothersome if you adhere strictly to LTA’s guidelines.

- Modifications Within LTA Guidelines

Legally chasing a higher horsepower figure is an exercise in futility here. Apart from the obvious (our roads are not big enough to appreciate the upwards bump in power!), other modifications can be a better alternative in extracting more go from your vehicle.

Sticking to the legal side of things, an intake and an approved exhaust can do wonders in improving flow and perhaps optimising the amount of usable power throughout your rev range. The most drastic drop in lap times though, is through modifications that improve your car’s grip and braking characteristics. A driver mod would not hurt too, so consider spending some time at your local kart track or on a realistic simulator!

Which Inspection Centre Should I Go To?

LTA has authorised 3 firms to carry out vehicle inspections on their behalf. JIC has 2 locations, one in Ang Mo Kio and the other in Jurong, STA has 2, one being in Boon Lay and the other in Sin Ming, with VICOM being the most widespread at 5 locations. They are at Bukit Batok, Changi, Kaki Bukit, Sin Ming and Yishun.

Vehicles only need to be inspected after they pass the 3-year mark. Up to the 10-year mark, each car only needs to make a trip to a test centre biannually. After that, it must be inspected yearly.

There are exceptions to the rule though, and these exceptions are why you would want to pass on the first go, in the first place. Owners who choose to flout the rules and illegally alter their engine or exhaust systems will have to send their cars for more regular inspections, to the tune of twice yearly for up to 2 years.

An inspection will cost $64.20, with retests at $32.10. Petrol cars registered prior to 1st April 2014 will be subject to an emissions test that will set you back an additional $1.07, whilst cars put on the road after will have to undergo a test that will cost $6.42.

A quality used car that has been properly maintained will have little trouble acing its yearly checkup. If you are after a new-to-you car, consider using our classifieds! Our expansive catalogue will mean that there is something for everyone!

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