How do I tell if my window tint is after factory?

Any tint on a coupe or sedan is after factory. Car manufacturers do not install window tint on sedans or coupes from the factory due to the different state laws. Trucks, SUV's and Station Wagons will come with their back windows tinted from the factory and are not tested during the inspection. Any window tint present on the front two windows of a Truck, SUV or Station Wagon is after factory and will require testing. Dealerships will often tint windows before selling, this qualifies as after factory.


Is there a fee for testing window tint?

Yes. There is a $10.00 charge for testing the window tint percentage. The state of North Carolina requires that every car with after factory tint is tested to ensure the percentage is within legal standards. The way window tint is tested is by the amount of light that gets through the film. Therefore the lower the percentage, the darker the tint. Windows must be tested every year. 


What is the legal limit for window tint in North Carolina?

All after factory tint must be no lower than 32%.


Do I need a registration to get my car inspected?

No. Providing a registration will ensure a quicker inspection but it is not required.


If my car fails the inspection do I have to pay anything?

Yes. The charge for a failing inspection is $23.75. This will give you 60 days to make the repairs needed and return. When the car passes within the 60 day period you will only pay the remainder of the inspection fee of $6.25.


I just moved to North Carolina, do I need to inspect my vehicle before registering the vehicle?

No. If the car has never been registered in N.C then you can register your vehicle without an inspection for the first year. Your first inspection will be due when your plate expires the following year.


What type of inspection does my car need?

Cars 1995 and older will only require a safety only inspection except for cars that are 35 years or older which do not require any inspection. Cars 1996 and newer require a safety and emissions inspection except for cars only 3 years old and newer which only require a safety inspection if within 70,000 miles. 


My car failed for the check engine light. What do I do now?

If the check engine light is commanded on a vehicle 1996 and newer it will automatically fail the emission inspection. It is read by the state computers and is nothing that the inspector physically fails. Your inspection receipt will have the diagnostic codes to which then can be taken to your local mechanic so that they can perform further diagnosis. When the repairs are made and the light is shut off the vehicle must be ran through a drive cycle before being reinspected. A drive cycle consists of certain mileage and driving conditions that must be completed before re-inspection. Drive cycles will vary from the vehicles make and model. On average 1-2 days of normal driving should complete the drive cycle. If after your repairs the check engine light comes back on you can get a one year wavier from the DMV to bypass the emission test during re-inspection.


How do I obtain a wavier from the DMV?

There are two common types of wavier's that can be obtained from the N.C DMV. Below you will find the two wavier's and the proper steps to obtain them.


If you have tried getting your car inspected only to be told your vehicle is "not ready" you can obtain a Not Ready Wavier by providing the filling to the N.C DMV.

  • 3 separate inspection receipts showing your test results were Not Ready. It is important that you show that you driven at least 200 miles from the first receipt to last.



Your vehicle is set to maintain a certain emission standards. When a malfunction occurs in a system that directly effects the vehicles emissions it will let you know by commanding the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) to illuminate. When the computer commands the MIL on it will store a diagnostic code that can indicate what system is malfunctioning. Your local mechanic can use these codes to perform further diagnostics and recommend the repairs necessary. Some repairs are relatively cheap yet some are more extensive and can cost thousands of dollars. To obtain an Emission Wavier to bypass this section of the inspection you must provide the following to the N.C DMV.

  • Your original inspection receipt showing that you failed due to the MIL.

  • Receipts from your mechanic (must be a business) showing a minimum of $200 spent directly towards the emissions repairs. *This can include labor*

  • A second inspection receipt showing that your vehicle has passed the safety aspect of the inspection and that it has failed again due to you check engine light.


The DMV enforcement officer will issue the wavier with a bypass code. Return to the inspection station in which you failed and present the wavier to finish your inspection process. 


Do I really need that?

Yes. We fully understand the reputation the automotive repair industry has gotten, and sadly we can say a lot of shops rightly deserve it. But we at Mr. Inspection of Matthews pride ourselves on maintaining a high level of ethics when it comes to business. Our business model is focused on volume and good quality service that keeps you coming back.