Commercial Driver's License

Vehicle Inspections

Vehicle Inspection Requirements

  1. Vehicle Inspection Requirements Any truck that is used in commerce and that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 lbs. must be inspected. "In commerce" means the truck is used in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise. Trucks used in a commerce that have a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less are not required to be inspected, unless they are used in combination with a trailer. If they are used in combination with a trailer, you have to consider the combined GVWR for the truck and trailer and whether the combined vehicle will be used only in Iowa or in Iowa and other states:

    Used in Iowa only: If the combined vehicle is used only in Iowa (only in intrastate commerce), and the gross vehicle weight rating of the towing unit is 10,000 pounds or less and the gross combination weight rating is 26,000 lbs. or less, the truck is exempt from the annual inspection requirements. This exception would include most pick-up trucks and trailers operating only in Iowa. Please check the GVWR of the truck and trailer to be sure.
    If the combined GVWR of the truck and trailer is more than 26,000 pounds, the truck must be inspected annually, even though it is only used in Iowa and the GVWR of the truck alone is 10,000 pounds or less.

    Used in other states: If the combined vehicle is used in other states (used In interstate commerce), the truck must be inspected annually if the combined GVWR of the truck and trailer is more than 10,000 pounds, even though the GVWR of the truck alone is 10,000 pounds or less.

  2. How often must I inspect my truck? Once a truck is inspected, the inspection is valid for 12 months from the date of the inspection.
  3. Where can I get my truck inspected? Most truck dealers and many major truck stops may be contacted.
  4. Is there a charge for the inspection? The rule requiring the inspection does not establish a fee nor does it prohibit a fee. You should check with your inspection facility prior to having the vehicle inspected.
  5. Can I do my own inspections? There is nothing to prohibit you or your employee from conducting the inspection as long as you or your employee meets the qualifications.
    If you would like more information on inspector qualifications and a sample copy of an inspection certificate, click here.
  6. What safety equipment must be inspected? The inspection must be performed according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations found in Chapter 3, Subchapter B, Appendix G Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations.
    For a printable copy of that information please, click here.  
  7. Does anything need to be carried in the truck to prove the vehicle has been inspected? The driver must have a copy of the actual inspection carried in the vehicle or a decal with similar information attached to the vehicle. 
  8. Who can I contact for further information regarding annual inspections? For further information you may contact the Iowa DOT’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement Information Line at 800-925-6469 or you may contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at 515-233-7400. 

Inspection report copies

Inspection report

A motor carrier may request a copy of a single inspection report by submitting a faxed request to the Iowa DOT's Motor Vehicle Enforcement at 515-237-3387.  The faxed request must be made on company letterhead, include the driver's name and the inspection report number, and must be signed by a company official responsible for the maintenance or accuracy of carrier records. The requested inspection report will be sent to the carrier by return fax or e-mail if provided.

A motor vehicle carrier seeking copies of more than one inspection report must submit the request by U.S. mail on company letterhead and include all of the above mentioned information for each inspection requested. The fee for multiple inspection copies is $1 per report. Payment in the form of a check payable to the Iowa Department of Transportation is required with the request letter. No other form of payment will be accepted. Do not send cash.

Due to the inspection reports containing personal information, a motor carrier will be required to have filed a Privacy Act Agreement for Request of  Motor Vehicle Record(s) with the Iowa DOT's Motor Vehicle Enforcement. No inspection reports will be provided unless the form is on file. If the carrier changes its names, a new privacy form will need to be filed.

The form can be filled out online, printed and faxed; or the form may be printed, filled out by hand and faxed; to Motor Vehicle Enforcement's fax number 515-237-3387.

Inspection challenge

A motor carrier may challenge information contained on an inspection report by submitting a request through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's DataQ website.

Carriers are encouraged to utilize the DataQ website to obtain answers to questions on violations and regulatory issues that may need clarification. In addition, violations involving a citation will not be changed through a DataQ challenge until the courts have issued disposition of the citation or a supervisory review of the citation has been made. A carrier who believes a supervisory review of a citation is necessary should contact the Iowa DOT's Motor Vehicle Enforcement.

DataQs Protocol brochure


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