While not every state requires vehicle inspections to get a license plate, in Kentucky you are required to prove that vehicles purchased out of state are in safe operational condition, and must also verify the VIN number. These inspections are performed at the local sheriff’s office.
Upon a passing inspection, vehicle owners are provided with a sheriff’s inspection form, or Form TC 96-229, to submit when registering a car or truck and getting license plates.
The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that out-of-state vehicles can safely operate on the road and be able to transport people and possessions in a safe manner.
What is needed for a vehicle inspection in Kentucky
Compile the necessary items for a sheriff’s inspection form for your vehicle before arriving at the sheriff’s department, including:
- $5 fee
- Valid U.S. driver’s license
- Original vehicle title
- The corresponding vehicle
Bear in mind that paying by credit or debit card may incur an additional processing fee. No additional fees are associated with paying by cash, check, or money order. Some counties will come to you for an additional charge, but all of the same items are required.
What does the sheriff’s office inspect?
A sheriff’s department employee will physically inspect all documentation and the vehicle to confirm that the vehicle and documents match, as well as that the vehicle is in safe operational condition. Namely, the following items will be confirmed or inspected:
- The vehicle identification number (VIN) on the vehicle matches the number on the title
- The vehicle’s odometer reading
- Exhaust system
- Steering system
- Other features at the inspector’s discretion
If all items are deemed correct or in good working order, then the vehicle owner will be provided with a signed and dated sheriff’s inspection form. The form essentially states that the vehicle purchased outside the state of Kentucky is “road worthy.”
To best assist the inspector in locating the VIN number, remove all items from the dash, such as paperwork. This makes the number more visible. It is also advisable to check all of your lights and signals, so you can make any needed bulb changes before arrival.
Inclement weather, such as hail or rainstorms, may delay the performance of a sheriff’s inspection. Inspections also are not performed on federal holidays or outside of office hours.
What to do with a sheriff’s inspection form
Take the Sheriff’s Inspection Form, title, bill of sale, proof of Kentucky insurance effective within 45 days, and driver’s license to the County Clerk’s office. A completed TC 96-182 form is also required. If the name on the driver’s license does not match that on the title, an affidavit, such as a marriage license or divorce decree, is also needed.
Be aware that the County Clerk will collect a 6% usage tax. The amount of the tax is calculated from the actual purchase price or, when unavailable, the current trade-in value in the NADA guide. Additional fees are $9 for the Application of Title and a $21 annual license fee.
The Sheriff’s Inspection form can also be completed by state police or post provost.