Q: One of my running lights is out can I still pass Texas state inspection?

asked by on March 14, 2017

Last year my husband got into a car accident and cracked our headlamp. We bought a replacement but when the mechanic went to put it in, the running light wouldn't come on. I called and got the place I got it from to replace it with another one, and we had the same issue. It has something to do with the headlamp itself because the old cracked headlamp could be reconnected and work just fine. However we had been without the vehicle for two weeks and the mechanic took it somewhere and it passed inspection.

He told us though that this may cause issue for us this year. So I was wanting to know because I looked up what you need to pass inspection and I didn't see where it said that the running light had to work just that you had to have two headlamps. Would my car be able to pass inspection???

My car has 70000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The law states that the lights on a vehicle are to work at all times. However, running daytime lights are designed to come on when the visibility is lower than 65% outside. This is a feature to the vehicle so the driver does not have to turn on the vehicle lights. You can override the daytime running lights and still pass an inspection. Most inspections are done in the daytime and usually during when there is 65% or more light, so the daytime lights will not come on anyway. There is no real way to manually turn on the daytime running lights without covering up the indicator. Most inspectors will make sure that the turn signals, tail and marker lights, headlights, reverse lights, brake lights, and license plate light all works. I recommend calling to the MVD and ask if the daytime running lights are included in the inspection since they are activated by daylight and not a switch. If you need further assistance with your inspection information, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

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I have lived and worked in 3 states. Each state’s safety inspection required all lights be functioning to pass. I’m fairly certain that is consistent across all 50 states. It’s possible that the mechanic took it to a friend who did him a "favor" and passed the vehicle through inspection. That would be my guess as to why it passed previously and "may cause an issue this year". To avoid any further issues, you should consider replacing the headlamp with a known good one. You can source one from a local salvage yard or online. There may be less expensive replacement units available on sites like Ebay as well.

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