Do Antique Cars Need Inspection In VA?

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If you live in the land of Old Dominion and own an antique vehicle, you might wonder do antique cars need inspections in Virginia?

Every state has rules and regulations regarding what needs to happen to get a car properly registered and tagged. The last thing you want to do is get pulled over by a Virginia law enforcement member for not having your antique displaying the correct info on the tag. Failure to register an antique properly or using it as a daily driver can result in fines and penalties that you probably don’t want to pay. Don’t just assume that because you got away with a free pass from another state, the VA will give a pass in theirs.

The state of Virginia requires all vehicles to be registered appropriately. According to VA statutes, if you own a vehicle over 25 years old from the preceding January 1 of a calendar year, it does not need to pass a safety inspection as long as it is not your daily driver.

If you own and operate an antique vehicle, you know what a source of pleasure and pride it can be. But there is more to owning and maintaining a precious beauty than just enjoying the wind whipping through your hair as you cruise down the highway. It is essential to know the rules for registering your antique car so that it doesn’t cost you the money you shouldn’t have spent in the first place.

What qualifies a car as a daily driver? Is there a mileage stipulation for driving antique cars? What kinds of plates do you need to drive your classic? Does it need a safety inspection? There are lots of questions, and we have the answers.

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Do Antique Cars Need Inspections in Virginia?

According to the Virginia DMV fact sheet, if the vehicle you own is more than 25 years old from January 1st of the calendar year, and you are NOT using the car as a daily driver, it does not need a safety inspection. However, suppose you drive the car to and from your place of employment or drive it reasonably often (like every other day). In that case, you must register the car as a regular vehicle and have it pass a safety inspection, even if you plan on putting your unique plate on it. (Virginia will not issue an antique plate to any car that is a daily driver but will allow you to use a vintage plate that may have come with the car). Vehicles that drive more than 250 miles from home or are daily modes of transportation are treated with the same registration policies as any standard car brought in or purchased.

What are the Limits to my Car if I Register it as an Antique?

Registering your classic vehicle with the state as an antique will mean some limitations are placed on when and where you can drive it.

  • Any car, truck, or trailer deemed a collector's item (antique) can be driven for participation in clubs, car shows, parades, tours, or similar events.
  • You may test the vehicle's operation for maintenance purposes or travel to or from the participation of any event listed above, as long as you do not travel more than 250 miles from your place of residence.
  • You are allowed to carry passengers, equipment, or even transport a classic vehicle for the show the car is involved in.
  • You cannot use your car as general, daily transportation. (This means more than just driving back and forth to work - no errands, no school dropoffs, etc.)
  • You cannot use your antique car or truck to haul cargo of any kind.

Are There Stipulations About Antiques I Need to Know Before Registering it?

Yes. Virginia state law requires all vehicles to be insured by a reputable company before registering. Many insurance companies will insure classic and antique cars or trucks with mileage restrictions.

In addition, every car on the road must have the following equipment in proper working order on them to be allowed to drive on Virginia’s roads.

  • Mirrors, horns, lights, suspension, tires, and steering must work properly.
  • You can receive a ticket for driving an antique or vintage car without essential safety features. Your registration can be revoked for five years, and you might have to pay a fine. The state has the right to tow your classic beauty. (The lesson here is that if you think something is wrong with your car, it is best to fix it before driving it.)
  • Both front and back license tags must be displayed if your vehicle has a front license display area. A single plate from the rear is accepted if your car does not have a front place. (However, many antique owners improvise and figure out a way to tack a front tag somewhere, so there is no question).

What is Involved with the Safety Inspection Should I Wish to Drive my Car Daily?

There are over 20 items that the state of Virginia requires a vehicle to pass before it issues an inspection sticker. They will inspect the usual things like lights, horns, and parking brakes, but you might not have thought about some things. For example, if your windshield cracks, your vehicle will not pass. If there is an exhaust leak, or any fluids leaking from your car, chances are you’ll be getting that fixed. The inspection process is thorough, checking everything from wiper blades to a working defroster. Check out this website from the Virginia State Police Safety Division to see what the list entails. (Please note that some counties require an emissions test as part of the inspection procedure. Those counties are listed on the DMV website). The state will allow you to drive for up to 15 days on a failed inspection test, which allows you to seek out another mechanic should you wish someone else to repair the item your vehicle needs.

Every vehicle registered in Virginia must be reinspected annually to qualify for updated registration and tag sticker. (Emissions testing is good for two years).

New vehicles purchased or brought into the state have 30 days to register their vehicle in the State of Virginia. The registration can be one or two years spent on the resident’s preference.

How Long Does an Antique Tag Last in VA?

In Virginia, the antique tag will last as long as you own the vehicle. However, you must re-register your vehicle every one or two years, depending on which registration period you purchased before.

What forms Do I Need to Register My Antique Car in VA?

You will need several things to properly register your antique car in the state of Virginia.

  • A Drivers License
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Various forms are needed. The (VSA 14) is a Vehicle Registration pdf. You will need that, or a License Plate Application (VSA 10) filled out if you bring in your vintage plate.
  • The Antique Vehicle Applicant Certification (VSA 10B). The form VSA10 B will require you to stipulate that you have another vehicle you use as a daily driver, so be prepared to record that when you approach the counter.
  • $50 one-time antique registration fee

If you have vintage plates that you want to use with the car, you will need to bring them and allow for an inspection of the condition. The state reserves the right to deny your request should the tags you provide be damaged, rusty, or challenging to read.