Two things always set me in panic without realizing dents on cars and inspections. Cars can get dents in various ways. But whether or not it will pass inspection is the more important question. So, will a car pass inspection with a dent?
Most cars can pass the vehicle inspection if there are mild dents. However, it is unlikely to expect a positive outcome if the dents are on the car windows, windshield, or the back glass. But that might not be the same case everywhere as different states can have different inspection laws.
Nothing can be more hectic than failing a car inspection. So let’s find out why your vehicle can fail the inspection and why you should not leave dents unrepaired for too long.
Will A Car Pass Inspection With A Dent?
Someone I know ran into a pole with his car the other day and came back with a dent in the front of the car. Luckily, the headlights were not damaged because that would have given him a hard time passing an inspection.
So if you are wondering if you will be able to pass inspection with dents, the answer is yes and no. The outcome depends on the severity of the dent and its location. Moreover, it also depends on which state you are in because the inspection law can slightly differ from one state to another.
In most cases, the vehicle can pass if the dent is mild and does not cause any issue to other vital parts of the car. But if the dent is too big and prone to corrosion, it will be a problem. The vehicle can fail the inspection if the dent is on the glass areas, such as the windows, the windshield, and the back glass.
9 Reasons Why Cars Fail Inspection
Will a car pass inspection with a dent? It probably will as long as it is not causing any other issues. In most states of the U.S.A., dents are not the main issue when a car fails inspection.
But there are more important things that make a car suitable to be out on the street. If you want to know why cars fail inspection, here is why.
1. Fluid Leakage
Your vehicle’s engine, power steers, and transmission system will go through inspection for fluid leakage. The undercarriage will have to be cleaned, and the person handling the inspection will check it for slow leakage. If there is any proof of leakage, even if it is mild, the car will fail.
2. Cracked Or Damaged Lights
Car’s headlights should be mounted correctly and must aim in the right way. If not, the inspector can conclude it as a failed car. The same can be done if the lights appear to be cracked or broken.
The lights’ condition is taken seriously as it allows drivers to drive safely. And vehicles with damaged lights get rejected.
3. Improperly Installed Brake
First, the inspector will check the brake visually. Then the brake’s balance and effort will be checked using a brake-test machine. If anything appears to be imbalanced, the inspector will reject the car. Other than these, the inspector can reject the car if the brake metal is corroded or the hoses are rotten.
4. Worn Out Tires
It is mandatory to have tire treads with a minimum of 1.6mm depth. If the tires do not have that depth level, they are considered worn out and get rejected. The inspector will use a tread-depth gauge to test if your car tires are worn out and decide accordingly.
5. Chipped Or Cracked Windshield
The rear cracked glass is not always seen as an issue during car inspections. However, if the windshield has one inch or one and a half-inch crack at the passenger side, the car will fail inspection. As for the driver’s side windshield, no crack is allowed on the driver-side as it is considered risky and causes the car to fail inspection.
6. Illegal Tint
There is a law in every state for minimum tint level. It means the vehicle glasses should not be too dark and must let the maximum light pass through them. In most states, a maximum of 30% tint is allowed for car windshields and 35% for windows. If the car has more tint than the law requires, it will fail the inspection.
7. Excessive Noise/Black Smoke
When the vehicle releases excessive black or blue smoke, it is highly toxic and harmful to the environment. To ensure the car is safe, the inspector will check its excuse system for any sign of leakage.
Next, the inspector will test the noise level of the vehicle. And if it is more than 90 decibels, the car will fail inspection.
8. Corrosion On Car Body
Since I started this article to discuss passing inspection with dents, let’s talk about it again. Dents are not always ignorable. If you leave a dent exposed for too long and in rough weather, it will worsen gradually. From a dent, it can lead to paint peeling off and corrosion issues in the car body and components, resulting in inspection failure.
9. No Or Wrongly Installed License Plate
It is mandatory to have a valid license plate to pass the inspection. And only having a license plate will not be enough because it has to be placed or installed correctly. If the plate is found to be installed at the wrong place or is not vertically placed, the vehicle will fail the inspection.
Why Do You Need To Fix A Car Dent Earlier?
You know when people always say in all cases, “better late than never”. I wish the same could be said for dent cars. It ruins the outlook of the car and also decreases its value. And not to mention the trouble it will cause when you take the car for inspection.
Some people tend to delay fixing car dents, which is a mistake. Here is why you should get your car’s dent fixed sooner.
Fixing a dent as soon as it happens can be comparatively simple. If you are experienced with DIY car fixes, you can handle the problem yourself. It is the best thing to do if you are up for saving the service cost.
But as you leave the dent for too long, the dent will damage the paint and cause rust issues, making the fix more expensive later. Besides, modern cars contain high-tech mechanisms. So it is best to let an expert deal with the problem sooner.
- Corrosion Issue
When the car crashes onto something and gets a dent, the top layer of the paint or the protective layer gets damaged. Once the protective layer is gone, the paint underneath becomes vulnerable as it gets exposed to dirt, dust, rain, and UV rays.
The water and heat oxidize the metal and create corrosion problems. So before it keeps spreading, fixing the dent is highly recommended.
- Damages Paint Gradually
Much like the corrosion problem, the paint damage issue begins in the same way. The dent could be tiny, but if it is deep enough, the car paint layer is in danger. You can fix a scratch by repainting. But damaged paint with a dent can be more challenging than you think.
To fix it, you need to fix the dent first, and then you can move to the paint. It means you have to wait more time before fixing the paint. In the meantime, the damaged paint starts spreading as it remains exposed and goes through various weather conditions. And at one point, the paint fades, exposing the sealant and the metal.
When a car collides with something, you don’t always get to know if there has been any internal damage. The only way to find that out is to take the car to a mechanic. Until then, the car might not be safe to drive again.
On the other hand, some damage might be visible, especially if something happened to the rear or front bumper. If you notice the quarter panel of the bumper seems bent or damaged, the car is not safe to drive until you get it fixed.
- Reduces Resale Value
What value does a car with a damaged exterior have? Even if the car has miles left and the parts are in good condition, it will lose its reselling value if it does not look good from the outside.
Dents can lead to other problems, such as damaged paint and rust. So if you leave it out without repair for too long, the damage will spread and lower the car’s value. Besides, a dented car negatively impacts the buyer’s mind because they may see it as a sign of possible internal damages.
How to Fix A Dent In A Car?
If you are worried that your car is likely to fail inspection due to a dent, it is best to get it fixed before the inspection. But before you think of taking the car to a mechanic, consider some of the most effective DIY methods to get the job done.
Boiling Water Method
I call this the reverse technique to fix car dents. If your car got a dent on its plastic part, consider using the boiling water method a suitable option. The hot water helps expand the material and make it pop out. But before you try this, make sure that you will be able to reach behind the bumper to push out the dent.
The method is pretty simple because all you have to do is pour hot water over the dent. As the water softens the material, try pushing the dent from the other side. But be very careful and try not to burn yourself. You can wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the boiling water.
We all are familiar with plungers because this heroic tool helps us fix various plumbing blockage problems. And if you have used it, you should know that the plunger has a powerful capacity to create pressure up and down. That is how it comes in handy to fix car dents.
The plunger method works best on small to medium round dents. To remove the dent:
- Take a cup plunger that you use for the sink.
- Pour some water over the dent and press the plunger suction on it.
- Pull and push the plunger until you notice the dent is fixed.
Dry Ice Method
Dry ice is also an excellent option for eliminating minor dents. The dry is a cooling agent and rubbing it on the dent makes the material contact. As a result, the dents begin to pop up.
However, you should wear protective rubber gloves when handling dry ice. You can rub the ice directly on the dent or spread a foil over the dent and rub the ice on the foil. Either way, the dent can be removed after rubbing the ice for some time.
Hair Dryer With Compressed Air Method
The hairdryer is always for drying hair and giving it a volume look. But who knew you could also use it for fixing dents? This handy tool works like the hot water method as it releases heat. However, this time you will also need a compressed air can.
Hold the hairdryer at least six inches away from the car dent and turn the dryer on to its highest temperature. Once you know the dented area has become hot, take the compressed air and turn it upside-down to blow air on the dented area. Like the dry ice, the cold air will help the material contract and the dent pop.
Vacuum Cleaner Method
That’s right! Besides cleaning your house, a vacuum cleaner can be an ideal tool to fix dents on cars. But you will need a bucket to help you in the process. Since the cleaner has a robust suction system, using it on the dent can help fix it.
But first, make a hole at the bottom of the bucket that is a bit smaller than the vacuum hose. Insert the hose through the bucket hole and then place the bucket over the dent. Then turn on the vacuum cleaner and wiggle it a bit until the suction pulls out the dent.
Hammer The Dent Out
If the dent is comparatively large, you can hammer it out because the other methods might not work on a larger dent. You can use a body hammer that comes with a rubber mallet or a dolly hammer that comes with sheet metal. Remember that the size of the hammer should be based on the size of the dent, meaning you need a bigger dolly for a larger dent.
It would be best if you hammered the car dent from the inside. So place the hammer on the deepest point of the dent and place the dolly on the other side of the dent and against the hammer. Keep hammering the dent from the middle and work your way around it until the exterior looks reshaped.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much does it cost to fix a dent in a car?
There is a broad range of prices for fixing car dents as the size and damage also vary all the time. It costs around $30-$2000 on average to fix car dents. However, if your car has more minor dents, you can get them fixed for around $50-$150.
Q. Will a plunger remove a dent in a car?
Yes, plungers are very effective in removing minor dents from cars. In most cases, the plunger alone can help remove the dent. If not, you can pour some hot water over the dented area and then pull it with the plunger to remove the dent.
Q. Will my car fail the Uber inspection with a dent?
Uber inspection does not work like the regular car inspection as your driving qualification matters a lot here. While light scratches are ignored, the slightest sight of a dent can make you fail the inspection. Because in Uber inspection, having dents in the car is taken as an impression of poor driving skill.
Q. How much value does a car lose because of dents?
Generally, a car loses about 10%-20% of its value annually, regardless of what it went through. And if there are visible damages like dents, it can devalue an additional 5%-10% because such damages make the car look older than it is.
It can be very frustrating if your car has a dent, but you don’t know whether it will pass the vehicle inspection. That is when the question arises, will a car pass inspection with a dent?
Car inspection is mainly done on the brakes, lights, horns, mirrors, glasses, tires, etc. So minor to medium dents are usually ignored in most states.
But if you are too worried, you can use the methods I mentioned to fix them on your own without spending a dime in a repair shop. But if the dent is too big for you to fix or damage the paint layers, it is best to take it to a repair shop and let a professional do the job.