New Hampshire State Inspections | What You Need to Know

New Hampshire is one of the few states that still mandate all motor vehicles to pass a vehicle safety inspection each year. While some feel the process is costly and unnecessary, others compare it to your annual physical exam – it is routine maintenance! However, if you are looking for a state inspection in Hooksett, NH, or surrounding communities, you will find that there are a few options available. In fact, there are 2,400 inspection stations across the state.

A D. Nelson’s Auto Repair, we take the fear of heading to the inspection out of the process. Here, we provide an overview of what to expect!

The Process

NH state inspections begin when you receive a notification via mail or email from the Department of Motor Vehicles informing you that your registration is up for renewal. Unless specifically stated, all passenger vehicles shall be inspected annually during the owner’s birth month. If you lease a vehicle or drive a corporate vehicle, the month will depend on the business creation date.

  • If you have purchased a new vehicle, allowed a previous registration on the vehicle to expire for longer than one year, or are transferring a registration from another state, your vehicle falls under the ‘newly registered vehicle’ category. 
  • Inspection renewals do have a 10-day grace period into the following month of inspection renewal date.
  • Vehicles older than 20 years are exempt from emission testing. If your vehicle is required to be tested and fails, you have 60 days to correct the issue and have your vehicle retested.


The State of New Hampshire does have a few exemptions when it comes to vehicle inspection. The following is the most current list:

  • All vehicles owned by the federal government.
  • All new vehicles or chassis are exempt from these rules provided the new vehicle is not for sale to persons other than the distributor or dealer as follows:
    • Vehicles in transit from a factory to a distributor or dealer and distributor to dealer
    • Vehicles in transit from a dealer’s warehouse or storage facility to his/her place of business
    • Delivered with a certificate of origin, until sold at retail

Equipment Inspection

The New Hampshire Department of Safety requires inspection stations to inspect the following equipment on all motor vehicles:

  • Wheels and Tires
  • Steering and Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Electrical System
  • Glass and Mirrors
  • Exhaust System
  • Fuel System
  • Body and Chassis

In the event that your vehicle does not pass the inspection, your mechanic will provide you with reasoning why. However, the reasons should come in the form of written documentation listing the needed repairs and an estimate of cost. While you can opt to have repair work done at the same auto repair shop, it is not required. However, should you have repairs completed elsewhere, you will need to return to the same inspection station for the recheck and NH inspection sticker.


For an in-depth look at New Hampshire State requirements for inspection stations and drivers, please refer to Chapter Saf-C 3200 of the New Hampshire Code of Administrative Rules.


While this is a generalized overview, New Hampshire also allows for early inspections under certain circumstances and inspections of out-of-state vehicles. Your trusted inspection station can assist you with the details! At D. Nelson’s Auto Repair, we not only offer state inspection in Hooksett, NH, but have the expertise to address any repair concerns! We offer guaranteed service you can trust at a fair price. 

To schedule your inspection with Hooksett’s most trusted team of mechanics, contact D. Nelson Auto Repair at 603-518-8113.

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