I took my car to my dealer to get inspected and they tried to pressure me into buying some new wiper blades from them for ~$40. The blades are only 6 months old, and the car is otherwise in great shape (only 5 years old). They refused to pass my car unless I bought the new blades from them. I get the sense they were just looking to make some extra money.

Is wiper blade quality a real issue during inspections, or am I correct that I'm getting hustled?

  • 6
    If you have not already had them changed, take them to your local DMV (if that's who regulates it in your state) let them inspect the blades and if they tell you they are okay file a complaint about the shop that did the inspection. The system here in North Carolina doesn't take it lightly when shops use the threat of not passing inspection to upsell unneeded parts. Jul 20, 2011 at 15:13
  • Thanks Larry, great idea. I also was under the impression that once an inspection started, it could not be stopped without either passing or rejecting the car. It seemed suspicious to me that I got my car back as if the inspection never happened. Jul 20, 2011 at 15:33
  • Not sure how it works where you are, but in NY we have stickers on the windshield to indicate the car has passed inspection. The only time they can remove this sticker is to put a new one on, so they cannot remove the old sticker and force you to pay for extra work. So if a vehicle fails inspection you'll get it back the same way it came in, and you'll likely be out the cost of the inspection.
    – Tester101
    Jul 20, 2011 at 16:37
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    @Tester101 also note that in NY if a car is presented for inspection with an expired inspection sticker, a shop MUST remove it before beginning the inspection, providing further coersion to either get overpriced repairs or drive an uninspected vehicle.
    – Ed Griebel
    Jun 7, 2016 at 18:36
  • @KenPespisa I know plenty of people from MA. They were supposed to fail you if you were unable to pass the inspection. I'd give them an second chance. Go back with new wipers in a box and talk to the same person again. If they say anything other than "ALL-SET" than go and report them, as the other user(s) suggested. They might have been doing you a solid by not failing you. ...Of course they also might not have wanted a record that you were there, but it's worth giving them a second chance. Also, why inspect at the dealer? There are tons of Independent, Honest, mechanics that do Inspections.
    – NitrusInc
    Apr 23, 2018 at 11:23

3 Answers 3


It sounds to me like you're being conned. While I don't know MA law, over here the wiper blades will only fail if they are perished or otherwise damaged so as to not effectively clear the screen - either of which should be obvious to you from a visual inspection or simply running your finger along the blade.

  • was going to answer from a UK perspective then realised you are in the UK too. +1 from me
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 20, 2011 at 15:13

This appears to be the relevant section of your motor vehicles inspection requirements. Scroll down to point 8 and you'll see "Glazing and Windshield Wiper(s)." The following appear to be the critical requirements:

540 CMR 4.00
4.04 Procedures for Inspection of Non-Commercial Motor Vehicles (continued)


(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 manufacturer.

(b) Windshields having any of the following defects will be rejected:

[... snip ...]

Wiper scrape(s) in excess of 1/4 inch wide within the critical viewing area.

[... snip ...]

(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.

It's perfectly reasonable to ask why they're failing the windshield wipers; i.e., which point are they failing?

From reading those requirements, I have to say that they sound like a good idea: your wipers should wipe enough of the windshield to see out. If they're legitimately bad, go to Walmart (or equivalent) and get some new blades. Quite often, they have the rubber cut-to-length inserts that you can slide on for cheap. I can say with near certainty that that option will be cheaper than dealer blades.


Sounds like a con! 6 month old wiper blades shouldn't fail unless they have something on them like grease. You can wipe them with a tissue or a paper towel, or better yet saturate part of a paper towel in rubbing alcohol & wipe the blade. Inspect for any ripping of the rubber. Best time to change blades/refills is the fall, say October, as the summer heat damages the "rubber" and you need it to be supple so that it works when the windshield is cold.

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