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-DC DMV will no longer prevent DC residents from applying for a new or renewed driver license because of failing to meet the requirements of the Clean Hands Law.

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Common Causes of Inspection Failure—For-Hire Vehicles

Vehicle Interior

  • Floor mats
  • Seat covers
  • Taxi meter
  • Credit card machine

Vehicle Documents

  • Missing display of passenger rights
  • Missing zone map
  • Damaged or missing battery hold down
  • Missing or incorrect tags
  • Non-operational HVAC
  • Incorrect trade name
  • Damaged or torn upholstery
  • Unacceptable sanitation
  • Missing hacker face

Vehicle Body

  • ID color
  • Public Vehicle Identification Number (PVIN)
  • DCTC approval sticker
  • Damaged or rusted doors
  • Damaged and/or rusted quarter panel
  • Damaged and/or rusted hood
  • Damaged and/or rusted fenders
  • Damaged and/or missing bumpers
  • Damaged and/or missing bumper guards
  • Incorrect tag mounting
  • Missing or improper gas cap
  • Damaged body work

Vehicle Safety

  • Missing or broken mirrors
  • Missing or broken horn
  • Missing or damaged seatbelts
  • Missing or broken speedometer
  • Missing or broken gear indicator
  • Miscellaneous safety item failure
  • Loose seat
  • Non-operational ignition lock
  • Damaged and/or rusted floor
  • Dirty engine
  • Dirty trunk
  • Wheel chair accessible ramp

Vehicle Lights

  • Dome light (cruise)
  • Non-operational signal lights
  • Non-operational backup lights
  • Non-operational tail lights
  • Non-operational stop lights
  • Non-operational tag lights
  • Non-operational clearance lights
  • Non-operational marker lights
  • Non-operational fog lights
  • Incorrect lens color
  • Damaged or missing side reflectors
  • Damaged or missing rear reflectors
  • Non-operational headlights
  • Non-operational indicator lights

Vehicle Glass

  • Cracked or damaged windshield
  • Cracked or damaged side window
  • Cracked or damaged rear window
  • Non-operational window controls
  • Unacceptable window tint
  • Missing or non-operational wipers
  • Missing or damaged wiper blades

Vehicle Suspension

Damaged or unacceptable:

  • Kingpin
  • Shocks
  • Ball joints
  • Control arm
  • Rack and pinion
  • Tie rod ends
  • Idler arm
  • Pitman arm
  • Sleeve
  • Springs
  • Steering box
  • Steering wheel
  • Bearings
  • Steering linkage
  • Column
  • Alignment
  • Power steering
  • Bellows
  • CV joints

Vehicle Exhaust

  • Leaking exhaust
  • Loose exhaust
  • Flexible piping exhaust
  • Excessive exhaust noise
  • Excessive exhaust smoke
  • Excessive exhaust hydro carbon
  • Excessive exhaust carbon monoxide

Vehicle Tires

  • Unacceptable or worn tire tread
  • Unacceptable or cut tire
  • Mixed tire types
  • Unacceptable knots and bulges in tires
  • Over- or under-inflated tires
  • Visible tire cord
  • Tire recap/tread front
  • Missing lug nuts
  • Missing hub cap/center cap

Vehicle Brakes

  • Worn or warped rotors
  • Excessive brake noise
  • Leaking or damaged master cylinder
  • Leaking or damaged wheel cylinder
  • Damaged or non-operational vacuum booster
  • Non-operational parking brake
  • Non-operational brake warning light
  • Incorrectly adjusted pedal reserve
  • Missing and/or damaged pedal pads

Tail Pipe Test

Typical causes for failing a tailpipe test include:

  • Air to fuel mixture may be incorrect.
  • Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve may be malfunctioning or missing *
  • Vacuum leak present
  • Exhaust Gas Re-Circulation (EGR) may be malfunctioning *
  • Ignition timing may be incorrect
  • One or more worn, damaged, or fouled sparkplugs are present
  • Catalytic converter is clogged, missing, or ineffective *
  • Malfunctioning oxygen sensor
  • Internal engine parts may be malfunctioning or damaged
  • Dirty or contaminated engine oil
  • Clogged air filter

* Indicates items that may or may not be standard equipment

OBD Test – 1996 and newer vehicles are tested by checking the vehicle OBD system (the vehicle’s computer) for problems. Causes for failing an OBD test:

  • The vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system reports a failure or problem with an emissions related component or sensor. If there is a problem, the “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light may be on. If the light is on when you come in for inspection, the vehicle will fail the test.
  • The Check Engine light is malfunctioning.
  • The diagnostic connector is missing, damaged, or not functioning.
  • During battery replacement or vehicle repair, the vehicle computer’s memory is reset.
  • If your vehicle has failed for being “not ready” and you have been operating your vehicle regularly, consult a repair technician before retest.

The VIR will provide specific reported trouble codes (up to 5 total when applicable) to further aid your mechanic in diagnosing and repairing the vehicles emissions systems.

Visual Catalyst Inspection

All gasoline-powered vehicles 1975 and newer and less than 8501 lbs. gross vehicle weight will receive a visual catalyst inspection. Vehicles will fail the visual inspection if the catalyst is missing or has been tampered with. The catalyst must be repaired prior to re-inspection.

Gas Cap Inspection

Typical causes for failing a gas cap functional test:

  • Gas cap leaks.
  • Gas cap is non-removable or missing.

In most cases, simply replacing the old or missing gas cap with a new one will allow the vehicle to pass this portion of the test.

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