Randy Yohe Published

State Vehicle Inspections Now Due Every Two Years

A car inspection sticker in a car window
A WV state inspection sticker.
Randy Yohe/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After legislation passed last March, as of January 1, 2024, West Virginia drivers can now go two years without a state vehicle inspection, not one. 

But not everyone thinks that’s a great idea.

Del. Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, has offered proposals to do away with inspections altogether, and thinks this is at least an initial compromise. Linville said only 12 states have vehicle inspections and data shows that inspections affecting highway safety are inconclusive.   

“There’s a lot of data,” Linville said. “Which would say that drivers in Kentucky for instance, aren’t any worse than drivers in West Virginia, and they don’t require a safety inspection.” 

Billy Kepple owns the Charleston area Marty’s Tire and Auto Shop chain. He said his shops do thousands of state inspections a year. Kepple said the two-year plan is a “terrible idea.” He said many drivers come in mistakenly thinking their car is in tip top shape, and extending the inspection time period will put unsafe cars on the road.

They get dinged for safety things all the time,” Kepple said. “I’m talking about brakes, shocks, lights being out, tires being bald, wires hanging out of tires, wheel bearings bad. All these things, they’ve not noticed when they drive their car every day.”

Linville said vehicles have gotten more reliable over the years, and the inspection code has not been modified in decades. 

“We all know that at 100,000 miles a car used to be about to fall apart,” Linville said. “Anymore, you can get 200,000 miles out of most vehicles. We’re trying to keep up with the times.”

Kepple said the main reason cars log thousands of miles is that they get regular safety inspections.

“All these things can be bad, and they just keep driving it because it still drives straight,” Kepple said. “They get in and they turn the key and it goes. And most people just don’t check their stuff.” 

Linville said getting an inspection sticker has a tendency to take 30 to 45 minutes, and people can try to get it in on their lunch break. He said this is just an attempt to reduce some of that hassle on the people in the state of West Virginia.

“The reality is that oftentimes, that’s something that people have to have to take off work to go comply with this mandate from the government,” Linville said.

Keeple said with the new code, yes, in 730 days, you only save 45 minutes.  

“But you don’t know if the car behind you has bald tires, or if the brakes are good, or if the ball joints are good,” he said. “It might not be your car, it’s the car behind you. It’s the car behind you, or in front of you and your kids. I just think it’s a bad deal.”

State inspections costs will change from $14 a year to $19 every two years. 

“It is a small cost savings,” Linville said. “But we think that really the savings is going to come with people not having to take off work for a half day or so every year to go get this sort of thing accomplished.”

Kepple said he had just returned from the State Police barracks to pick up his new inspection stickers. 

“I was in line with about 13 other shops,” Kepple said. “We had a little roundtable discussion about it and I didn’t hear one guy think this is a good idea. Not one guy.”