The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) requires vehicle safety inspections annually. Inspections can only be performed at official PennDOT Inspection Stations; these stations are recognizable by a keystone-shaped signs that bear the station number. The cost of the inspection is set by the state, with a portion going to the service station. These stations are considered business partners of the state. Service stations or repair shops that wish to perform state inspections must comply with state vehicle code as well as complete an application process — and go through an inspection of their own.
Complete an application form. You must complete and file Form MV-427, the Application for Designation as an Official Inspection Station. If your garage has more than one location, a separate application must be completed for each.
Furnish proof of bond or insurance. The bond or insurance must be in the amount of $10,000 for each place of business. This allows the business to provide compensation should a customer’s car be damaged while being inspected. This bond must be renewed each year; a cancellation of the bond automatically voids the inspection license.
Pass an inspection. The applicant’s place of business will be investigated to determine its full compliance with the vehicle code.
Stock the proper tools and equipment -- in good working in order -- which are required to inspect a vehicle including hammers, a workbench, portable light and socket sets. The full list is available in the code.
Employ at least one certified inspection mechanic. A mechanic is eligible to be certified if she is 18 years of age or older, has a valid driver’s license for each class of vehicle the mechanic intends to inspect, attends an approved certification course and passes an exam.
Offer services at least 40 hours per week. Official inspection stations must be open a minimum of 40 hours per week, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Always conduct business honestly; PennDOT makes anonymous quality assurance visits to official inspection stations.
Do not let your insurances lapse; your certification status could be revoked.
Since 2000 Donna T. Beerman has contributed to newspapers and magazines. Her expertise includes higher education, marketing and social media, and her presentations and writing have won industry awards. She has an MFA in creative writing, is the integrated marketing manager at a Pennsylvania college and founded "Hippocampus Magazine."