Will a cracked tiny lower headlight make me fail my inspection?
December 26, 2009 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Will-my-car-pass-inspection-in-MA filter: cracked lower headlight?

Forgive my car ignorance, please.

I have a Volvo S70 like this one. In the photo, you can see two sets of headlights-- the normal ones and a lower, smaller set (I have no idea what they are called). One of these lower ones is cracked on my car. According to these FAQs, inspectors don't like cracks in lights-- but will this one make me fail my sticker inspection in Massachusetts? I've of course put off my inspection till the last week of December and would really like to avoid failing, so any advice would be appreciated. I've had a lot of other work done lately and none of the mechanics (who have been good about pointing out possible inspection bombs) have said anything about it-- is this a good sign?
posted by oinopaponton to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
in my experience getting old cars through inspections in MA, a lot depends on which inspector you choose and what frame of mind he's in when he sees your car. the only way you can know is to get it inspected and see. the consequences of failing aren't that bad; you do have to drive around with a nice red 'fail' sticker and avoid cops until you get it fixed. good luck.
posted by genmonster at 2:57 PM on December 26, 2009

Here in the Pioneer Valley, I had a chip in a rear marker light (that's what those things are called!) last year, and totally thought I could get away with it.....no dice. However, the marker LIGHT had stopped working and that was the main problem. If the casing is cracked but the marker light still functions, they may not notice or care. And if you do fail, you have a month to get it fixed, and re-inspection is free. (I went to Jiffy Lube, or some assembly line type place.) I've gotten my car inspected in several states, and I've found MA to be the strictest!
posted by missmary6 at 3:55 PM on December 26, 2009

First off, just go and submit it for inspection. You'll be more sorry if you get pulled over for an expired sticker. In addition to the fine, it is treated as a moving violation and your insurance can add a surcharge for it.

As noted above, if you fail inspection you have 60 days to get the light fixed. Be aware that last year Mass computerized many inspection stations, so if you fail a test, this gets logged into a system and any station in the state will know why you failed. In other words you get one shot.
posted by jeremias at 3:55 PM on December 26, 2009

My experience with MA inspections is that if a light is on the car, it has to work. That means all running lights, etc. Unless the inspector overlooks the crack, and they might if the light itself still works. Failing an inspection isn't so bad, you get 30 days (still, I think) to fix and if you return to the same garage they can't charge you for re-inspection.

Anyway, lamp lenses usually run $35-70 and are pretty easy to replace. Drop me a memail if you need the name of an excellent Volvo specialist near Cambridge.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:50 PM on December 26, 2009

I just had an MA car inspection for the first time, and it passed despite a 1" triangular crack/chunk missing from my headlight. (I did, however, have to [pay $100 to] get the tinting removed from my windows because it was a smidge too dark for MA laws. Argh.)

I think Genmonster is right--it depends on the inspector. You might as well just get it done. Maybe you'll get lucky!
posted by apricot at 4:56 PM on December 26, 2009

Sorry, should have specified-- the light works fine, it just has a very visible crack running down it. Thanks for the help-- I'll go in at lunch on Monday and keep my fingers crossed!
posted by oinopaponton at 6:39 PM on December 26, 2009

That is not a headlight, it is a fog light. That may help you in determining whether or not you will pass inspection.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 8:45 PM on December 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sorry to clutter up all your Recent Activity, but would it be a stupid idea to call the inspection station beforehand to ask if I should even bother coming in before fixing it?
posted by oinopaponton at 9:16 PM on December 26, 2009

I don't know much about inspection laws in MA, but you are talking about a fog light. They are optional equipment on many cars and not even available as a standard option on many others. I doubt they are required to pass inspection.
posted by Nameless at 4:12 PM on December 27, 2009

Passed on the first try. Thanks again!
posted by oinopaponton at 6:49 AM on December 29, 2009

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