How do UK Roadworthiness Tests Compare to US Vehicle Checks?

When you’re a driver, sometimes you may find yourself thinking that you spend more on your vehicle than you do on your home. After all, there’s tax, insurance and the MOT to think of alongside the cost of running the car in the first place.

While some areas may be confusing for some, it was recently found that some tax mistakes, which are quite easy to make, could lead to your vehicle insurance being invalid. However, while this can be easily rectified by a little research, one thing we can be sure of is that our vehicles and those around us are safe.

This is due to the services cars need to undergo on a regular basis, such as the MOT, with many modern vehicle services, such as Allied Autocare, providing convenient services to prevent it from taking up too much of your time. However, this isn’t the case everywhere in the world, with places like the USA having a completely different set of laws when it comes to the roadworthiness of cars.

The USA and roadworthiness

If you’re considering going on holiday to the USA and you’re thinking of driving, or you’re thinking of moving there at some point, you really should know as much as possible about the vehicles available.

The equivalent of the MOT in the USA is known as a Yearly Vehicle Inspection, but, what’s included in this? These are safety and emissions tests, which require certain areas of the car to be inspected. These areas include:


  • Lights
  • Brakes
  • Windscreen wipers
  • The horn
  • Tyres
  • Body
  • Windows
  • Seat belts


However, while this may seem fine, car inspection varies from state to state and annual safety inspections are only necessary for several different states. Alongside this, there are varying levels of inspections too, with some states not including tyres, windows, body and seat belts.

If a car does fail an inspection there is often a grace period where the owner has to either take the car off the road or have the required fixes made.


States and safety

Of course, if you’re ever thinking of driving or buying a vehicle in the USA, it’s important that you know which states require inspections and which ones do not.

The following states require cars to undergo an annual safety inspection:

  1. Alaska (some areas)
  2. Delaware
  3. Hawaii
  4. Louisiana
  5. Maine
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Missouri
  8. New Hampshire
  9. New Jersey
  10. New York
  11. North Carolina
  12. Oklahoma
  13. Pennsylvania
  14. Rhode Island
  15. Texas
  16. Utah
  17. Vermont
  18. Virginia
  19. West Virginia
  20. The District of Columbia

While each of these states will have their own rules and regulations for a car inspection, it is also worth noting that in many of them, sold vehicles must undergo an inspection after resale or transfer.


The UK

Meanwhile, in the UK, things are a little different. Every year, a car in the UK that’s three years old (four in Northern Ireland) or more must be checked to ensure it meets the road safety and environmental standards.


These tests will check:

  • Horn
  • Battery
  • Electrical wiring
  • Tow bars (if featured)
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Tyres
  • Road wheels
  • Seatbelts
  • Restraint systems
  • Body structure
  • Registration plates
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Speedometer
  • Exhaust system
  • Emissions
  • Mirrors
  • Wipers
  • Windscreen


These have to be done wherever you live in the UK, helping to keep everyone safe. If you are looking to visit or move to the USA, you now know which states to check out for car safety.


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