4.04 Procedures for Inspection of Non-Commercial Motor Vehicles
(5) Muffler and Exhaust System. Accelerate motor to test for
prevention of unnecessary noise and emission of any unreasonable
amount of smoke. The exhaust system, exhaust manifold(s), exhaust
pipe(s), muffler(s), and tailpipe(s), if designed to be so equipped,
shall be tight and free of leaks. System components shall be
securely fastened with fasteners in place and undamaged. All motor
vehicle exhaust systems shall discharge the exhaust beyond operator,
passenger, and/or trunk compartment. Unnecessary noise is herein
defined as any noise which is louder than that emitted by the
vehicle when equipped with the original manufacturer's equipment. A
gas or diesel vehicle will be rejected if, at normal operating
temperature, at any constant speed over 15 MPH, (approximately 1,000
to 1,200 RPM's) visible black or blue exhaust emissions are
(6) Steering and Suspension.
(a) Check for free steering by turning the steering wheel
through a full right and left turn. Reject a vehicle if binding or
interference occurs during the procedure. With the front wheels in
the straight ahead position (and the engine running on vehicles
equipped with power steering) measure lash or lost movement at the
steering wheel rim.
(b) Lash or lost movement on passenger cars and station wagons,
as measured at the steering wheel rim, should not exceed two
inches if the vehicle is equipped with manual steering. Lash or
lost movement on antique motor vehicles will be measured by
steering wheel diameter in accordance with the following schedule:
Lash (shall not
Antique Motor Vehicles
Over 1/8 turn
(c) The front end (both sides) of all vehicles will be raised
by jacking or hoisting and visually examined. Vehicles equipped
with ball joints will be raised and checked in accordance with the
applicable instructions and specifications periodically provided
by the Registrar.
(d) Reject a vehicle with excessive wear or play in any part of
the steering mechanism or of the vehicle that would affect proper
(e) Reject a vehicle with broken, bent or missing shock
absorbers orsuspension springs.
(7) Horn. Sound horn to test for adequate signal. The horn must
be securely fastened to the vehicle.
(8) Glazing and Windshield Wiper(s).
(a) Windshield Critical Viewing Area is the area covered by the
sweep of the wiper(s) exclusive of the outer two inches within the
perimeter of the wiper(s) sweep, provided by the vehicle
(b) Windshields having any of the following defects will be
1. Any broken glass with sharp or jagged edges inside or
2. Any stone bruise, star break, or bulls eye,
damage in excess of one inch in diameter within the critical
viewing area or larger than two inches outside the critical
viewing area, or multiple such damage.
3. Single line
cracks which extend more than three inches into the critical
4. Multiple cracks, having one or more which
extends into the critical viewing area.
5. Wiper scrape(s)
in excess of 1/4 inch wide within the critical viewing
6. Clouding extending more than three inches within
the perimeter of the exposed glass.
7. No poster, sticker
decal or any other item shall be attached to the windshield in
such a manner so as to obstruct the vision of the
8. Any tinting or reflective material applied by
brush, spray, or adhesive which is below the uppermost six inches
of the windshield or which may encroach upon the drivers direct
forward viewing area. (All such tinting provided by the original
manufacturer in compliance with applicable Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standards is acceptable.)
(c) Rear Windows. Rear windows must allow an unobstructed view
to the rear, unless the vehicle is equipped with two outside rear
(d) Windshield Wiper(s). Test for proper operation. If the
vehicle was equipped with two wipers, as furnished by the
manufacturer, both must be maintained in good working order. Wiper
blades must properly contact the windshield and, be of the same
length as those furnished as original equipment. The rubber
elements shall be free from damage or tears.
(e) Windshield Cleaner. If the vehicle was equipped with
windshield cleaner equipment as furnished by the manufacturer,
units must be maintained in good working order.
(f) Window Tinting. Aftermarket tinting or alterations that do
not change the transparency beyond that of the standards set forth
in 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 571.205 is acceptable on
windows immediately adjacent to the operator and front passenger
seat and the windows immediately to the rear of the operator and
front passenger seat. The rear window may also be so tinted
provided the vehicle is equipped with two outside rear view
mirrors. The windshield may only be tinted down to the AS-1 line
usually located in the uppermost six inches of the windshield. 540
CMR 4.04(8)(f) shall not apply to the following:
1. All window tinting as provided by the original manufacturer
that is in compliance with applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety
2. Authorized vehicles used to transport K-9
3. Vehicles registered out of state.
Vehicles for which a medical exemption has been issued by the
Registry of Motor Vehicles.
5. All windows to the rear of
the operator's seat on vehicles used for public livery, except
(9) Lighting Devices.
(a) Tail Lights. Every motor vehicle, except a two wheeled
motorcycle, an antique motor car, and a farm tractor, shall be
equipped with two red lights (tail lamps) mounted one at each side
of the rear of the vehicle so as to show two red lights from
behind and equipped with two stop lights (stop lamps) mounted and
displayed in a like manner. A single lamp may combine both of the
above functions. Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a
white light so arranged as to illuminate the rear number plate so
that it is plainly visible at 60 feet.
(b) Directional. Front and rear directional signals will be
operable on every vehicle originally equipped with such signals.
Every motor vehicle registered in the Commonwealth, which was
manufactured for the model year 1967 and for subsequent model
years, shall be equipped with a device to permit the front and
rear directional signals to flash simultaneously.
(c) Headlamps. Headlamp aim shall be checked in accordance with
the specifications as most recently provided by the Registrar.
(d) Lighting Devices and Reflectors. All lighting devices and
reflectors required by applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety
Standards or part 393. of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
for all commercial motor vehicles when the particular vehicle was
originally manufactured and such devices required by Massachusetts
General Law or Rules and Regulations applicable to the particular
vehicle inspected shall be securely attached to the vehicle and
capable of performing their design functions. Lenses must be
intact, clean, unobstructed, and free from cracks.
(a) A certificate of rejection shall be issued to any vehicle
submitted for inspection with a tire mounted which exhibits any of
the following conditions:
1. Febric break or cut in excess of one inch; bump or knot
evidencing deterioration of the tire structure; or any ply or cord
2. For tires without tread wear
indicators: Measurement taken with tread depth gauge reveals that
2/32 inch or less of tread depth is present in any re-cut,
regrooved, sized or original tread groove.
3. For tires
with tread depth indicators: Tire is worn so that any tread wear
indicator contacts the road.
4. Studded tires between May 1
and November 1 unless approved by the Registrar.
Restricted markings indicating usage limited to any condition
other than permanent highway use.
6. Radial ply tire(s) on
the same axle with non radial tire(s); Radial tire(s) on the front
axle with non-radial tire(s) on the rear axle (Exception: Vehicles
equipped with dual rear wheels may have radial and non radial
tires on any axle provided they are not intermixed on the same
(b) Wheels, Wheel Bolts, Nuts or Lugs. A certificate of
rejection shall be issued to any vehicle submitted for inspection
which exhibits any of the following conditions:
1. Any part of any mounted wheel is bent, cracked, rewelded,
damaged or has elongated bolt holes which may affect safe
operation of the vehicle.
2. wheel bolts, nuts, studs or
lugs are loose, missing, damaged or are not compatible for use
with wheel design.
(11) Bumpers, Fenders, External Sheet Metal and Fuel Tank. A
Certificate of Rejection shall be issued if any of the following
conditions are evident:
(a) Bumpers. Broken or bent bumpers, fenders, exterior sheet
metal or moldings, having sharp edges or abnormal protrusions
extending beyond normal vehicle extremities so as to constitute a
danger to pedestrians and other motor vehicle traffic. If bumper
face plates are removed, bumper brackets must also be removed. The
vehicle hood, door(s), luggage compartment lid, and battery or
engine compartment doors or lids, if so equipped, must be capable
of being firmly latched.
(b) Fenders. Front and rear fenders must be in place on all
vehicles manufactured after model year 1949 if such vehicles were
designed and manufactured to be operated with front and rear
fenders. Every passenger motor vehicle which is equipped with
tires which extend beyond the fenders or body of such vehicle
shall be equipped with flaps or suitable guards to reduce such
spray or splash to the rear and side.
(c) Floor Pans. Holes or cracks, due to rust or otherwise, in
the floor pans or other body panels which would permit the passage
of exhaust gases into the passenger or trunk compartments.
(d) Fuel Tanks. Fuel tanks which are not securely attached to
the vehicles body or chassis, or that are leaking.
(12) Altered Vehicle Heights. The original manufacturers
specified height of motor vehicles with an original manufacturers
gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less shall not be
altered by elevating or lowering the chassis or body by more than
two inches, except that fourwheel drive motor vehicles with a
original manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds
or less may be altered in accordance with the provisions of 540 CMR
6.00. The Registrar may periodically provide approved altered
vehicle height specifications for said fourwheel drive vehicles. Any
motor vehicle altered, modified, or changed beyond the
aforementioned two inches, or the Registrar's approved altered
height specifications, shall be rejected.
(13) Safety Belts,
Lap Belts and Shoulder Restraints. originally installed in motor
vehicles manufactured after July 1, 1966 shall be inspected to
assure that all are maintained in good order. It shall be the
responsibility of the motorist that the safety belts are readily
accessible for inspection.
(14) Air Bags. Vehicles so
equipped must comply with 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 571
(15) Fuel Tank Cap Visual Check. The vehicle shall fail the gas
cap visual check if the cap is missing, defective, or does not
properly fit the vehicle.
540 CMR 4.00:
M.G.L. c. 90 § 7A, 7V (a), (b) and (c),7W and 31