Fuel System-In addition to leaks and proper line installation, inspectors check that the tank is located in the rear of the vehicle, contains a sealed filler pipe, and is vented to the outside of the car.

Exhaust-Two specific criteria are no leaks and that the system extends past the front door and exits away from the car. Dennis told us that mufflers aren't specifically mentioned in the rules but are a subjective call. "There are always the guys with weed burners showing off," he admitted, "but we don't usually find them coming through the safety inspection."

Self-Aligning Rod Ends-Inspectors examine for cracks, binding, wear, and sloppiness. Tie rods are also checked for fractures and excessive play.

Shock Absorbers-Highboys and T-buckets are sometimes missing front shocks, but inspectors are looking for one at each wheel. They also check the position of the shocks and the condition of the mounts. If a car has airbags, they make sure they're installed correctly, check the hardware, and look for any misalignment or rubbing.

Brakes-Four-wheel brakes are required. Safety crews inspect the lines for proper mounting and routing. They look for flexible lines at the wheels and check for leaks. Brake pedal travel is also checked. Copper lines are not allowed.

Scrub Line-Inspectors stretch a taut string from the bottom of each of the wheel rims to the bottom of the adjacent tires. No steering, suspension, or chassis components should descend below that line, since they would come in contact with the ground in the event of tire failure.

Seven Recommended ItemsIn addition to these sixteen items, the NSRA safety inspectors also evaluate the following seven items. These are not required to pass the inspection but are recommended.

Windshield-The glass must be safety plate, AS-1 glass (double sheet of tempered glass laminated with plastic film in between) being preferred.

Shift Pattern-"This goes back to when you had manual valve bodies that sometimes had the opposite shift pattern of a regular automatic-so you're not backing up when you think you're going forward," Dennis explained. "Now that there are so many different types of automatics, this is still important." The car should have a visible, preferably permanent, display of the shift pattern. Cars with three-speed manual transmissions are exempt. "We're generally fairly lenient, as long as there is some indication of shift positions."

Fuel Lines-Lines should be securely mounted and there should be no leaking. Inspectors look for rubber lines that won't fatigue. Lines should be mounted every few feet against the frame or crossmembers with no contact with the exhaust or any moving part. Copper lines are allowed on carbureted motors. Clear plastic lines are not allowed. New fuel-injection systems now in use must have factory or better high-pressure-type fuel lines (no screw clamps allowed).

Parking Brake-A lot of rods don't have them, and Dennis identified this as one of the main reasons for not earning a "Safety 23" pin. Basically, if the car doesn't move when idling in Drive with the independent parking brake on, it passes. A line-lock setup doesn't qualify as a parking brake.

Self-Aligning Rod Ends- This involves a more thorough check than in the 16-point inspection. Inspectors check for binding and want to see a good-condition outer washer between the tie rod end and the bolt head, in case the ball separates from the outer race.

Brake Lines-Lines must not be leaking, crushed, or mounted in contact with the exhaust system or moving parts. Routing and secure mounting is checked. As stated earlier, flexible lines are required at the wheels, and copper tubing is not allowed.

Chassis Fasteners-Inspectors make sure that all fasteners have locking devices, such as lock washers, cotter pins, self-locking nuts, or safety wire. Nylon locking nuts must have a few bolt threads exposed. Loctite does not qualify because inspectors can't verify its use.