I don't know how many other states do this --I know we had to when we lived in Texas-- but I do know Alabama (where I grew up) isn't one of them. So I don't have a lot of experience with the process.
I just recently had to get the van inspected, and then had to replace a lightbulb in order to get it to pass. But that's our "good" car.
(image from http://www.roadtrucker.com)
Getting my husband's car to pass is a whole other ball game. His car is...special.
One of its main problems is the fact that the windows don't go down. Well, actually, the mechanism is broken so that the windows have to be permanently stuck closed.
This an annoyance on a regular basis, since we live on a gated military post, requiring a checkpoint stop every time you come in. And he works on a separate post. So that's at least two times a day to have to open the door a little and snake your hand out of the crack for an MP gate guard to look at your ID. And hope nobody thinks you're going for a weapon when you unexpectedly open the door instead of the window.
Worse than the everyday annoyance was the time when his air conditioner broke, turning the car into an unventilated death-trap of a sweatbox if you parked in the the sun.
That was a bad bad scene.
Anyways, last year when my husband had his car inspected the guy wanted him to put the window down.
My Husband: Sorry. The window doesn't go down.
Inspector Guy: It has to go down for the car to
My Husband: Okay. Hold on.
He got out a screwdriver and took the door panel off, loosening the mechanism holding the window in place so that the pane fell down inside the door. He put the panel back on and showed it to the inspector.
(image from http://www.buickforums.com)
My Husband: Okay. The window is down.
Inspector Guy: (making a mark on the inspection sheet) Check. You pass!
So when the time came to have the car inspected again this year, the plan was to have the windows already down when we brought the car in, therefore avoiding the whole problem.
I volunteered to take the car in for him. Which meant my husband took my car and I spent the whole day driving a car with the windows permanently open.
I'll let you take a guess as to whether it rained that day.
Yes. Yes it did.
But did the car pass inspection? Yep. On the first try!