Alberta Car Inspections: What You Need to Know

By Arthur Dubois | Published on 18 Jul 2023

Alberta Car Inspections instruction

When it comes to operating a vehicle in Alberta, you must meet a number of requirements, including passing a car inspection. As a new driver or a seasoned one, you’ll need to understand the different types of inspections. Further, we’ll explain the inspection process, what inspectors look for and what to do if you fail. In short, this article will cover everything you need to know about Alberta car inspections.

Understanding Alberta Car Inspections

The Purpose of Car Inspections

Primarily, car inspections in Alberta ensure that vehicles on the road meet safety and equipment standards. These inspections keep drivers and passengers safer by identifying any potential hazards that could lead to collisions.

Moreover, car inspections check that all vehicles can travel safely on public roads. As a result, the government can help to prevent collisions caused by mechanical failures or other easily preventable issues.

Types of Inspections in Alberta

There are several types of car inspections offered in Alberta, depending on the type of vehicle and its intended use. These include:

Inspection Frequency and Requirements

The frequency of inspections in Alberta depends on the type of vehicle and its intended use. For example, commercial vehicles require annual inspections. Meanwhile, mechanics recommend that regular passenger vehicles get checked every two years to catch major repairs early. 

Moreover, inspections apply not just a requirement for registration, but in certain situations. For example, if you get into a collision, your vehicle may need a review to ensure you can safely drive it again.

The Alberta Car Inspection Process

Getting your vehicle inspected in Alberta is required by law, while protecting you and others on the road. In this article, we will go over the inspection process and what you can expect.

Preparing for the Inspection

When preparing for an Alberta car inspection, you can address a few key items beforehand. These include checking your brakes, lights and tires, then cracks or chips in your windshield. If you find a problem, have a professional mechanic examine your vehicle before the inspection to deal with it proactively.

Additionally, make sure to bring all necessary paperwork with you, including your driver’s licence, vehicle registration and car insurance documents. This will make the process smoother and faster.

What Inspectors Look For

During the inspection process, technicians will take your vehicle for a drive to listen and feel for any irregularities. Next, they will check your vehicle’s exterior and interior for any damage or malfunctions. They will also examine your engine, brakes, wheels, tires, suspension, steering system, and exhaust to make sure they function properly. 

The inspection process can take up to two hours, depending on the condition of your vehicle. Technicians will give you a detailed report of any issues found and whether or not your vehicle passed the inspection.

Common Issues Found During Inspections

The most common issues found during Alberta car inspections include worn brake pads, damaged tires, broken lights and damaged windshields. Take action to address these issues before the inspection to avoid failing and having to pay for a re-inspection.

Even more importantly, all these systems play a vital role in the operation of your vehicle. You want to stop effectively with good brakes and make sure other drivers see your functioning signals. Having a well-run car makes driving better for everyone.

Overall, the inspection process ensures the safety and reliability of your vehicle. By addressing any issues beforehand, you can save yourself time and money in the long run.

Inspection Costs and Fees

Average Inspection Costs of Alberta Car Inspections

The cost of an Alberta car inspection varies depending on the type of inspection required. On average, buyer/seller inspections at a reputable auto repair shop cost between $120 and $230, depending on the level of detail. They may take two to four hours to fully examine the vehicle. This cost may seem high, but it guarantees that your vehicle can safely keep you on the road. 

For an out-of-province inspection, the standard fee stands at $179. You can typically get an insurance inspection for $100.

Factors Affecting Inspection Fees

Several factors can affect the cost of a car inspection, including the type of vehicle, the age of the vehicle and its condition. For example, an older vehicle may require more extensive inspections to ensure it meets safety standards. Meanwhile, a more current vehicle has data that technicians can check electronically to see what’s working and what’s not.

Additionally, some auto repair shops may charge extra fees for re-inspections. For instance, if your vehicle fails the initial inspection, you may need to pay again once the necessary repairs have been made.

Saving Money on Inspections

To save money on Alberta car inspections, you can shop around for the best prices at different auto repair shops. Some centres may offer discounts or promotions to attract customers, so it’s worth doing some research before making a decision.

However, for commercial, salvage and out-of-province inspections, you must go to a Government of Alberta Vehicle Inspection Facility. You can find the closest one by entering your city name or postal code into the provincial database. 

To save money, keep your vehicle in good condition and address any issues before the inspection. Regular maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations, can help prevent costly repairs down the road. Additionally, fixing any minor issues, such as a broken taillight or worn brake pads, can spare you from costly re-inspections.

Overall, while the cost of a car inspection may seem steep, you’re investing in your safety and the safety of others on the road. By shopping around for the best prices, you can save money without sacrificing quality or safety.

After the Inspection

Understanding the Inspection Report

After Alberta car inspections, you will receive a detailed report outlining any issues. The report will list all the areas that were inspected and the condition of each one. It will also include any recommendations for repairs or replacements. Naturally, review this report carefully and address any issues before agreeing to a re-inspection.

In particular, look for any identified safety issues. These can include problems with the brakes, steering, suspension or tires. Next, address them as soon as possible to ensure that your vehicle is safe to drive.

Further, scan the inspection report for any issues that could lead to more serious problems in the future. For example, if the technician found rust on the body of your vehicle, if not addressed, it could lead to holes down the road.

Addressing Failed Inspections

If your vehicle fails the initial inspection, you must address any issues before scheduling a second one. This may involve repairing or replacing certain parts of your vehicle and may require additional fees. The sooner you address any issues, the sooner you can get back on the road.

If you don’t know what repairs or replacements you need, you can ask your inspector for more information. They should provide you with a detailed explanation of repairs and reasons for them.

Re-Inspection Process and Fees

If your vehicle fails the initial inspection, you will be required to schedule a re-inspection within a certain timeframe. The timeframe will depend on the severity of the issues that were identified. Re-inspection fees vary depending on the type of vehicle being inspected, but generally range between $50 and $100. The average fee stands at $90.

During this process, the inspector will make sure that you’ve dealt with all the issues identified during the initial inspection. If everything is in order, you will receive a new inspection certificate and drive away.

The Bottom Line

Overall, passing an Alberta car inspection is an important part of vehicle ownership in the province. By understanding the inspection process, you can ensure that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy at all times. If you fail, you can take steps to fix any problems then try again. Regular inspections can also help you catch problems early, before they become more serious and expensive to fix.

Arthur Dubois is a personal finance writer at Hardbacon. Since relocating to Canada, he has successfully built his credit score from scratch and begun investing in the stock market. In addition to his work at Hardbacon, Arthur has contributed to Metro newspaper and several other publications