Car Inspection Requirements By State:
A Compendium

Are you a car owner wondering which states require car inspection stickers or how often they expire? Have you ever asked yourself, "Can I get my car inspected in another state?" or "Where can I get a car inspection near me that's approved across borders?" You wouldn't be alone.

Unfortunately, the United States doesn't have a simple, functional, or elegant federal system for vehicle inspections. Inspections are done at a state level and some have really intense state inspection requirements, demanding a multi-point process to test car safety and ensure their roads and highways stay clear. Others require testing to ensure that vehicle emissions aren't polluting their cities and towns. Some states may require both. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are states without vehicle inspection regulations at all! Each state also has their own frequency in which drivers need their vehicle inspected.

If you're scrambling to answer the question of "What are my state's requirements and where can I get a car state inspection near me?", use our list of state vehicle inspection requirements to figure out if you need an inspection, what it entails, how often they're needed, and where you can get them.

Red = Annual Inspection
Yellow = Biennial Inspection (Required Every Two Years)
Green = Another Frequency
Dotted outline = Inspection Only Required in Some Areas

Alabama

Alabamasafety inspection
  • Alabama only requires a safety inspection prior to sale or transfer of ownership.
  • Inspections must be done at the Motor Vehicle Title and Tag office before registration.

Alabama Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Division

Alaska

Alaskano inspection
  • Emissions inspections stopped being required as of March 2012.

Arizona

Arizonaemissions inspection
  • A biennial vehicle emissions inspection is only required for the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas.

Arizona Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP)

Arkansas

Arkansasno inspection
  • Arkansas strongly encourages residents to assess their own vehicle for pollutants.

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality

California

CaliforniaVIN inspectionemissions inspection
  • California's smog check program depends on the area you live in. Enter your ZIP code to see if it's required.
  • The smog check is required for all out-of-state vehicles, even if your previous state of residence also required emissions inspection.
  • A biennial emissions test is not required for the following: hybrids, electric vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, natural-gas-powered vehicles heavier than 14,000 pounds, diesel-powered vehicles made before 1997, any vehicle made in or prior to 1975, or any vehicle less than six years old.
  • A VIN inspection is required when registering a vehicle from out of state.

California Department of Motor Vehicles: Smog Information

Colorado

ColoradoVIN inspectionemissions inspection
  • The state car inspections for smog are only required for the following counties: Boulder, Denver, Broomfield, Douglas, and Jefferson, as well as parts of Adams, Larimer, Weld, and Arapahoe counties. See the map.
  • Inspections are not required for the following: newer cars (cars 7 years or older must be inspected), all-electric vehicles, farm vehicles, motorcycles, or "collector vehicles" (1975 model year or older).
  • When registering an out-of-state vehicle, VIN checks are required.

Colorado State Auto Inspection FAQ

Connecticut

ConnecticutVIN inspectionemissions inspection
  • Inspections are required throughout the state and must be done by an authorized facility. The type of tests done depend on the type of vehicle.
  • Avoid allowing your inspection to lapse; the state automatically issues late fees when the tests aren't completed on time.
  • Some safety inspections are done, but only on commercial types of vehicles, like taxis, trailers, and driver-education cars.
  • VIN checks are done when registering out-of-state vehicles.

Connecticut Emissions Program

Delaware

Delawaresafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • Cars five years old or newer are exempt from all testing.
  • Safety requirements are detailed, including everything from whether the hood latches function to whether the headlights are pointed properly, to whether the vehicle has air scoops mounted that are higher than three inches.
  • Cars models 1967 or older don't need an emissions test.
  • The age of the vehicle determines the type of emissions check done; the idle, two-speed, and on-board diagnostics test are used.

Delaware State Vehicle Inspection Details

Florida

FloridaVIN inspection
  • The state abolished any emissions testing program for all vehicles.
  • When registering an out-of-state vehicle, a VIN and odometer verification is required.

Florida VIN and Odometer Verification Form

Georgia

Georgiaemissions inspection
  • An annual vehicle emissions inspection is only required for some Atlanta metro counties.
  • New cars (3 years old or newer) and older cars (25 years old or older) are exempt, as well as motorcycles, RVs, diesel-powered vehicles, and motor homes.

Overview of Emissions Testing for Atlanta Area

Hawaii

Hawaiisafety inspection
  • Annual car safety inspections are to be done at authorized service stations.
  • Brand-new cars don't need to be inspected again for two years.
  • The safety inspection is detailed, and includes the headlamps, fuel system, seat belts, doors, and more.

Hawaii Used Car Inspection Checklist for Inspectors

Idaho

IdahoVIN inspectionemissions inspection
  • Emissions testing is only required for Ada and Canyon counties; due every other year.
  • VIN checks are required only for out-of-state vehicle registration.

Idaho Treasure Valley Vehicle Emissions Testing

Illinois

IllinoisVIN inspectionemissions inspectionsafety inspection
  • The testing that happens every two years only applies to vehicles in specific zip codes, including Chicago and St. Louis metro areas.
  • Cars four years or newer, cars from 1967 or earlier, motorcycles, diesel-powered or all-electric vehicles, and cars that are exclusively for parades, shows, sports, or races are all exempt. There are also special rules about custom vehicles and "street rods."
  • If the VIN number is bad or the car is considered to be too unsafe to conduct the emissions testing, it will be rejected.

Illinois Car Testing FAQs

Indiana

IndianaVIN inspectionemissions inspection
  • Emissions testing applies only to Lake County and Porter County and is done every two years.
  • Residents must have their car inspected at a local, authorized station.
  • Inspection applies only to cars manufactured after 1976 and cars with a vehicle weight of 9,000 pounds or less.
  • VINs are inspected upon registering an out-of-state vehicle.

Indiana: State Inspections Near Me

Iowa

Iowano inspection
  • Iowa is one of the few states without vehicle inspection regulations at all. There are very few regulations, except for salvaged vehicles and the commercial trucking industry.

Inspections for Commercial Vehicles/CDL in Iowa

Kansas

KansasVIN inspection
  • Only when registering out-of-state vehicles are VIN inspections required.

Kentucky

KentuckyVIN inspection
  • Only when registering a vehicle for the first time is a VIN inspection required.

Louisiana

Louisianasafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • Louisianans have the unique option of getting a state inspection sticker that's good for two years, but they must pay double. Otherwise, it's an annual inspection.
  • Louisiana's vehicle safety inspection requires many items to be inspected, including the horn, the tail lamps, and the floor pan.
  • Annual emissions testing applies only to those in the Baton Rouge metro parishes.

Safety Inspection Requirements for Louisiana

Maine

Mainesafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • Referred to as the "enhanced vehicle inspection" program, annual emissions testing applies only to those in Cumberland County.
  • Annual safety inspections are required, detailed, and include stickers.

Maine Motor Vehicle Inspection Manual

Maryland

Marylandsafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • A safety inspection is required only prior to a sale or transfer of vehicle ownership. Emissions testing is required in 13 counties, including Baltimore metro areas. See if you need emissions testing.
  • Within those counties, you're exempt from emissions testing if you have a vehicle that is a make of 1976 or older, all-electric or diesel-powered, a farm vehicle, a motorcycle, a historic vehicle, or any of these other exemptions.

Maryland Car Emissions Inspection Requirements

Massachusetts

Massachusettssafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • The annual emissions testing includes an OBD11 scan for cars less than 15 years old, and, for older vehicles, a check to see if the tailpipe produces "visible smoke" (called the opacity test).
  • The annual safety test is also extensive, including brake tests, horn tests, and an inspection of many parts of the vehicle.

Massachusetts Basic State Inspection Sticker Requirements

Michigan

Michiganno inspection
  • Despite local battles over air pollution, Michigan does not require vehicles inspections.

Minnesota

Minnesotano inspection
  • Minnesota has discontinued their programs, though they still inspect commercial vehicles annually.

Mississippi

Mississippino inspection
  • For many years, a five-dollar sticker was required, but their safety inspections stopped in July 2015.
  • Today, inspections are needed only if the vehicle has tinted windows.

Missouri

Missourisafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • Newer cars (within 5 model years) are not required to have safety inspections.
  • Cars with historical plates are exempt from safety inspections.
  • Biennial safety inspections must be done at authorized locations, which check everything from airbags to windshields to horns to bumpers.
  • The biennial emissions testing is required only in the following counties: St. Louis City and County, Franklin County, St. Charles County, and Jefferson County.

Missouri Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Regulations Manual

Montana

Montanano inspection
  • It makes sense that the most rural state wouldn't require car inspection stickers.

Nebraska

Nebraskasafety inspectionVIN inspection
  • Only out-of-state vehicles are required to have both the safety and VIN inspections.
  • Trailers, motorboats, salvaged vehicles, and some other types of vehicles are exempt.

Nebraska Vehicle Inspections

Nevada

NevadaVIN inspectionemissions inspection
  • For those who own a car, state inspections for emissions are only required in Las Vegas and Reno.
  • Vehicles from 1968 or earlier are exempt, as are motorcycles, hybrids for the first five years, and new vehicles for the first two years of registration.
  • A VIN check is required when registering out-of-state vehicles.

Nevada Registration Requirements

New Hampshire

New Hampshiresafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • When you transfer or buy a new car, the next inspection will be due the month of your birthday. (Happy birthday to you! Now pay some taxes.)
  • Only cars manufactured in or after 1996 require an emissions inspection.

Inspections and Emissions for New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Jerseyemissions inspection
  • This state once required safety inspections for all vehicles, but, as of August 2010, they are only required for commercial vehicles, including taxis and buses. Commercial vehicles must also have annual emissions inspections.
  • Emissions tests are required of all vehicles every two years, with the exception of newer cars (the first five model years).
  • Motorcycles, farm vehicles, collector and historic vehicles, trailers, mopeds, and certain diesel vehicles based on size and model year are exempt.

Understanding New Jersey Inspections and the Emissions Test

New Mexico

New MexicoVIN inspectionemissions inspection
  • Biennial testing is only required for Bernalillo County (the area surrounding Albuquerque).
  • Exemptions include vehicles from 1982 or earlier, all-electric cars, and diesel cars.
  • VIN checks are required when registering out-of-state vehicles.

New Mexico Emissions Requirements

New York

New Yorksafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • Nicknamed "the nanny state," New York is one of the strictest states that require vehicle inspection. Its anti-smog program started in 1982.
  • What do they check in a car inspection? Luckily, both annual emissions and safety inspections are done all at once. Cars 1996 or newer need an OBDII test, and older cars get a visual check of components. There is a lengthy list of safety items to be checked.
  • Vehicles 26 years or older and two model years or younger do not require emissions checks.
  • If you're found without a valid inspection sticker, you will be fined or ticketed.

New York Car Inspection Requirements

North Carolina

North Carolinasafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • Car inspections for safety are not required for models 35 years or older.
  • Emissions testing is required in 48 out of the 100 counties.
  • Cars manufactured in or earlier than 1995, diesel-powered cars, and farming vehicles are exempt from emissions testing. Also, newer cars (within three model ears) that are fewer than 70,000 miles may be exempt.
  • No decals or stickers are issued to verify inspection; information is stored in an electronic database.

North Carolina Inspections

North Dakota

North Dakotano inspection
  • North Dakota doesn't even inspect salvaged vehicles.

North Dakota Vehicle Inspection Law Change

Ohio

Ohioemissions inspection
  • Only in Cleveland metro areas are emissions tests required.
  • Vehicles four years or newer are exempt, as are vehicles 25 years or older.
  • Frequency is based on even or odd model years.

Ohio E-Check Tests

Oklahoma

OklahomaVIN inspection
  • VIN checks are required for out-of-state vehicles.

Oregon

OregonVIN inspectionemission inspection
  • Emissions tests are only required in the Portland and Medford metro areas.
  • Cars manufactured in or prior to 1975 are not required to test.
  • VIN testing is required of out-of-state and new-to-Oregon vehicles.

Oregon Vehicle Inspection Program

Pennsylvania

PennsylvaniaVIN inspectionsafety inspectionemission inspection
  • The emissions testing only applies to 25 of the 67 counties, including the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia regions.
  • Diesel-powered vehicle are exempt from the emissions inspection.
  • VIN checks are part of the annual safety inspections.
  • Commercial vehicles over 17,000 pounds (for example: buses, taxis, and tractor trailers) are required to be inspected semiannually, but non-commercial passenger cars need only be inspected annually.
  • This is another one of the stricter states that require vehicle inspection, as only vehicles bearing the antique vehicle license plate (not the classic or collectible license plates) are exempt.
  • Safety inspections must take place at authorized stations, and include a huge, exhaustive list of checks, including the horn, mirrors, steering systems, and under-the-vehicle issues.

Pennsylvania State Car Inspection Information

Rhode Island

Rhode IslandVIN inspectionsafety inspectionemission inspection
  • Brand new cars (within 2 years of purchase) are exempt from safety inspection, after which it's required biennially.
  • Antique cars (with antique license plates) still need a safety inspection, but they don't need an emissions test. Also, they cannot be used on a public highway.
  • The long list of checks (which includes ABS brakes, reflectors, universal joints, and more) should be done by an authorized station.
  • VIN checks are required when registering an out-of-state vehicle.

Safety and Emissions Inspections Overview for Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Carolinano inspection
  • Yee-haw! There are no car state inspections, though there is a property tax on vehicles.

South Dakota

South Dakotano inspection
  • There's no emissions testing here, and yet South Dakota has great air quality!

Tennessee

Tenneseeemissions inspection
  • Emissions inspections are required of residents living in the following counties: Sumner, Hamilton, Rutherford, Davidson, Williamson, and Wilson counties. (Memphis no longer requires it.)
  • Inspections are done annually, along with registration, and can be done at a handful of authorized stations.
  • This excludes motorcycles, vehicles from 1975 or earlier, any vehicles registering for the first time, and heavy-duty vehicles (weighing more than 10,500 pounds).

Tennessee's Vehicle Inspection Program

Texas

Texassafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • The annual emissions test rules only apply in 17 counties, near the following major urban areas: Austin, Dallas (and Fort Worth), Houston, and El Paso. Testing requirements depends on your specific area.
  • New cars are good for two years, after which any applicable inspections are required annually.
  • Safety inspections must be done at authorized stations.
  • Vehicles more than 25 years old, motorcycles, and diesel-powered vehicles are exempt.

Texas Department of Public Safety Vehicle Inspection Information

Utah

Utahsafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • Emissions tests are required only in Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah, and Weber counties.
  • Statewide safety inspections are done in intervals: when a model is four, eight, and ten years old. After that, safety inspections are annual.
  • Emissions tests are done biennially until the vehicle model is six years old, after which they are required annually. This is different only in Cache County.
  • Vehicle models from 1967 or earlier and diesel-powered vehicles are exempt from emissions tests in those counties.

Utah State Vehicle Inspections

Vermont

VermontVIN inspectionsafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • Safety inspections are required annually; with car inspection stickers color-coded by year, and must be done at authorized stations.
  • Emissions inspections are required annually, but only for cars of the model year 1996 or newer, as it will test on-board diagnostics.
  • VIN inspections are required when registering out-of-state vehicles.
  • In Vermont, the state car inspection cost can be either an hourly fee or a flat rate. It must be posted in the licensed station.

Vermont's State Inspections: Detailed Information

Virginia

Virginiasafety inspectionemissions inspection
  • If you have a valid inspection sticker from another state, you're exempt from getting your car inspected in Virginia until it expires.
  • Emissions testing is required for the following counties and cities: Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford.
  • Motorcycles, vehicles 25 years or older, vehicles that weight 10,000 pounds or more, all-electric, -solar, or -natural gas vehicles, and qualified hybrids are exempt from the emissions testing.
  • Annual safety inspections cover everything from exhaust systems to seat belts to fuel systems.

Virginia State Vehicle Inspection Checklist

Washington

WashingtonVIN inspectionemissions inspection
  • Emissions testing is only applicable in parts of Clark, King, Pierce, Spokane, and Snohomish counties. Check your ZIP Code.
  • Testing should be done at authorized stations and the frequency is based on model number.
  • Motorcycles, some hybrids, diesel vehicles weighing less than 6,001 pounds or from 2007 or newer, and 2009 or newer vehicles are exempt.
  • A VIN check is required if the vehicle is rebuilt or if registering from out of state.

Washington Emissions FAQs

West Virginia

West Virginiasafety inspection
  • Only annual safety inspections are required.
  • If you have an inspection sticker with any of the following states, you won't need an inspection in West Virginia until it expires: New York, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Utah, Texas, and Wyoming.

Vehicle State Inspections in West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wisconsinemissions inspection
  • If you live in the following counties, an emissions inspection is required: Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Kenosha, Racine, Sheboygan, Waukesha, and Washington.
  • Only non-diesel-powered cars newer than 1996 that are OBDII compliant need to have an inspection.
  • It must be done at authorized facilities.

Wisconsin Emissions Test

Wyoming

WyomingVIN inspection
  • A VIN car inspection is required when registering an out-of-state vehicle.
Other Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_inspection_in_the_United_States dmv.org
http://cvsa.org/inspections/inspections/
https://blog.ryderfleetproducts.com/2013/03/26/guide-to-roadside-inspection-levels/



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