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In the News December 20, 2017

Virginia State Inspection Sticker Changes You Need to Know


In early 2019, Virginia State Police announced a few key changes to the Virginia state inspection sticker. For one, the sticker is smaller — measuring 2 inches by 3 inches, as opposed to 2.75 inches by 4 inches. This change came about after feedback from motorists indicated that the old sticker created visibility issues. The new sticker also has enhanced security features to prevent tampering, counterfeit practices, and unauthorized removal.

Visit Virginia Tire & Auto for Your Virginia Vehicle Inspection


The Virginia State Police announced that starting January 1, 2018, the annual car inspection sticker will be placed on the driver-side corner of the windshield, instead of on the bottom-center.

What Does This Mean for Me?

You don’t need to do anything differently. Inspection stickers issued in 2017 should stay in the center of the windshieldso don’t try to move your sticker! Just take your car in for its annual inspection like your normally would in 2018. The technician who clears your car for inspection will remove your old sticker from the center and place the new sticker to the side of the windshield.

Want a refresher on the overall state inspection process? Head over to our post “What to Expect When Your Car is Inspected in Virginia.” If you want to make sure your car is in good shape before you bring it in for the inspection, run through the visual checks in our Virginia State Inspection Check List and both you and your car will be prepared.

Why is This Change Necessary?

While the location of a sticker may seem like a trivial issue, the change is rooted in important safety considerations. Some of the crash-avoidance technology in newer cars requires an unobstructed view through the center of the windshield in order to function properly. For example, automatic emergency braking systems use cameras, lasers, and radar to monitor what is happening around the vehicle, and are usually installed in the center of the vehicle on the dash.

In its nascent years, this collision avoidance technology was exclusive to luxury cars, but it has gradually become more common and is now often available as an optional add-on feature. Within the past two years, the number of new model year vehicles that have this technology available has reached 50%, and that number will certainly continue to climb. In 2016, 20 automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agreed that nearly all new cars must have automatic emergency braking as a standard feature by September 2022.

This technology isn’t merely for vanity. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that this industry-wide shift will lead to a 40% decrease in rear-end collisions and a 30% decrease in bodily injury claims with the auto-braking and forward collision warning systems by 2022.

In the Virginia State Police press release regarding the change, Capt. R.C. Maxey Jr. stated that the core mission of the Virginia Safety Inspection Program is to promote highway safety. “The crash avoidance technology is another tool provided by manufacturers to ensure vehicles operated on the roadways are safe at all times. Therefore, we immediately began evaluating the situation and set forth to make the necessary changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual, which governs the placement of the safety inspection sticker on all vehicles.”

Virginia State Inspection Experts

Virginia Tire & Auto prides itself on being a true expert in Virginia vehicle laws and regulations. If you bring your car in for its inspection at any of our 15 locations in Virginia, you can be sure your technician will hit all 24 points of the state inspection list.

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