What is the procedure for getting the inspection sticker replaced if I get a new windshield?

posted Mar 5, 2016, 1:44 PM by Jim Mack   [ updated Feb 17, 2019, 12:07 PM ]
There is a provision in the inspection law to provide for replacement stickers if a vehicle owner has to get a windshield replaced.  Provided the existing sticker has not yet expired, the law states that:

(1) A person replacing or repairing a windshield in a manner that requires removal of a certificate of inspection shall, at the option of the registrant of the vehicle, cut out the portion of the wind shield containing the certificate of inspection and deliver it to the registrant of the vehicle or destroy the certificate. The vehicle may be driven up to 5 days if it displays the portion of the old windshield containing the certificate. Within the 5-day period, an official inspection station may affix to the vehicle another certificate of inspection for the same period without reinspecting the vehicle, in exchange for the portion of the old windshield containing the certificate of inspection.

This basically provides for two scenarios:

1.  With a portion of window glass containing the old stickers, the vehicle owner can go to any PA safety inspection station have them replaced for a small fee. 

2.  Some glass companies are not returning the portion of window glass with the stickers when they replace the windshield.  (This is most likely due to safety concerns since it is probably not the best idea to have a portion of glass sitting unsecured on your dash where it could be throw into the path of the airbag during a collision.)  In this scenario the vehicle owner will not have the old stickers as proof of inspection and the only option is to go back to the original station that preformed the inspection.  The original station can use their records to verify the passing inspection and issue a replacement sticker for the same time period.

When issuing replacement stickers the law also states that: 

A fee of no more than $2 plus the fee paid to the Department for the certificate may be charged for exchanging the certificate of inspection.

This means that with the current annual sticker price of $7, an inspection station could only charge $9 for a replacement safety inspection sticker and $3.47 for an emissions sticker. 

Be aware that there are additional requirements before a replacement sticker can be issued: 

  • The inspection station must verify valid proof of insurance. 
  • The vehicle must not be in an obvious unsafe condition. 
  • The word "Replacement" must be written in permanent ink on the back of the new sticker. 

When filling out the replacement sticker the inspector should copy the following information over from the original sticker: the entire VIN, the mileage, the wheels pulled, the expiration date, and the date of the original inspection. 

The inspector will record the following updated information on the sticker to reflect the station that performed the replacement: inspection station #, signature and write replacement on the sticker. 

Also remember, it is never lawful to remove the stickers from one windshield and try to apply them to another.  This is a violation of the inspection regulations and could cause the sticker to appear to be fraudulent.  

If the customer presented the old portion of the windshield for sticker replacement the inspection station must also retain that portion of the windshield until audited and it must be kept under lock and key. 

PA Safety Inspection Bulletin BI18-01 warns stations of a scam where counterfeit stickers are presented and a windshield sticker replacement is requested.  The bulletin includes a fact sheet including a list of security features and markings found on inspection stickers and recommends the station contact the Inspection Division and Law Enforcement if they suspect the sticker that has been presented is counterfeit.