When does my vehicle expire and is there a grace period if it fails inspection?

posted Jan 11, 2017, 6:28 PM by Jim Mack   [ updated Jan 11, 2017, 6:34 PM ]
Safety and Emissions Inspection Sticker

The inspection sticker displays the month and year that the inspection sticker expires.  The sticker is good up until the last day of that month.  In the above photo you can see a the sticker has a monthly indicator of 3 (March) and a yearly indicator of 17 (2017).  The above stickers are valid up to the last day of March 2017.  Starting April 1, 2017 this sticker would be expired and no longer valid. 
    There is no "grace period" when a vehicle fails inspection.  If a vehicle fails but still has a currently valid inspection sticker it can still be legally driven until that sticker expires.  (State inspection mechanics are taught that they should never scrape off an old sticker until the vehicle has passed inspection and has earned a new sticker.)  If the sticker on the vehicle has already expired and it fails inspection, it cannot be legally driven until it passes inspection.  The vehicle must sit until the necessary repairs are made, though there is no time limit on how long it can sit. 
    This is one of the reasons that it is a good idea to have your inspection performed early, before the old sticker expires.  Pennsylvania law allows inspections to be performed up to 3 months ahead of time.  For the above example of stickers that expire in March of 2017, the inspection could be performed as early of January of 2017 and if the vehicle passes it will be issued a 3 of 18 sticker. 
    Note:  Stickers may indicate the year on either side, left or right.  The two digit number represents the year and the number 1-12 represents the month.  Do not be alarmed if your sticker indicates the year on the left hand side, that can be normal as well.