The most recent clarification is that any metal protruding from the surface of a vehicle in an outward, downward, upward or inward manner shall be considered a hazard and for the safety inspection procedure is rejectable.

A body rust hole of any substance, no matter how small or large, will have a protrusion of some degree either outward, downward, upward or inward. It would be a rare condition to be able to rub ones hand over a rust hole- outward, downward, upward or inward- without some degree of injury, making the condition rejectable for PA Safety Inspection. 

There may well be some vehicle rust holes that in previous years did not exhibit a protrusion as previously defined but under the new clarification will be a rejection. 

To further reinforce the understanding of body rust, the training material for Safety Inspection Certification and Recertification indicates there are three reasons that rusted rocker panels or any body rust holes may be rejected. 

Holes into the interior compartment of a vehicle that would allow exhaust gasses to reach the ** occupants. Remember, the trunk area of a vehicle is also considered to be part of the occupant compartment. 

Jagged corrosive edges protruding from the vehicle body that present a hazard. Unibody panels (including the rocker panels) are an integral part of the structural integrity and rigidity of the vehicle by design. If the rocker panel is rusted away to the point where it is no longer providing the structure as intended. 

Repairs of rust holes may not be made with tape, tar paper, cloth, foam or by any other temporary manner. Structural component repairs shall be made with a material equivalent to or heavier than original equipment strength, in a workmanship like manner and permanently secured by welding, bolting or riveting. Repairs to areas leading to the passenger compartments shall be sealed to prevent the entrance of exhaust gas. 

PennDOT Bulletin # BI 11-1, dated May 2011, the following would be cause for rejection under the passenger car and light truck inspection procedure: rust that permits exhaust gases to enter the passenger or cargo compartment, protruding metal (loose or dislocated parts protruding from the surface so as to create a hazard), bumpers that are rusted so they are not firmly attached or have broken or torn portions protruding so as to create a hazard, and frames that are not in solid condition. Inspectors should follow the specific inspection procedures for the type of vehicle being inspected (frame or unibody) to determine pass/ fail conditions.

Credits are to be given to : PAA association, Pa inspection bulletins for the information to make this possible.