Are inspections more about the safety of the driver or the safety of the government and the mechanic’s revenue? Studies have come down on both sides, but the jury’s out. Maybe that’s why some states have no inspections at all.
No matter where you live, a quick read could help you skip the headache and keep as much of your hard-earned cash as you can.
Speaking of your wallet, why not pay for your inspection with the cheap car insurance savings you’ll find in a few minutes after comparing car insurance quotes with Insurify?
How to Find State Vehicle Inspection Near Me
Many states allow local repair shops to work as vehicle inspection stations. Some states require you to go to a department of motor vehicles (DMV) or another government-run facility. The DMV website is the best place to start, but a Google search for the nearest inspection place will also help.
Some state laws mandate that you must pass your vehicle check before you can renew your registration. The secret is to go when others don’t: most state government inspection stickers, license plates, permits, and tags expire near the end of the month, so expect that time to be busier.
Vehicle Inspection Requirements by State
Here’s the general paperwork you’ll need for most inspections:
- Driver’s license
- Proof of Insurance
- Bill of Sale or other sales documents, if applicable
- VIN Inspection form, if applicable
- In the table below, vehicle emissions testing, emissions inspection, and smog inspection are used interchangeably.
- VIN inspections are part of the registration process for out-of-state vehicles.
- The term “all vehicles” refers to gas, diesel, and hybrid private passenger vehicles, but not alternative fuel, full electric, trailers, motorcycles, mopeds, buses, motor homes, etc.
- Requirements focus on private passenger vehicles and don’t list all vehicle exemptions, such as commercial vehicles, gross vehicle weight (above 8,500 or 10,000 lbs depending on the state), etc.
- Note: Data sourced from federal, state, and local governments.
Vehicle Inspection Requirements By State
|State||Safety Inspection||Emission Inspection||VIN Inspection||Frequency||Requirements||Cost||Other|
|Alabama||N/A||N/A||Sale or transfer of ownership||N/A||Take the vehicle to the county vehicle licensing office||Part of $15–$23 registration fee||N/A|
|Arizona||N/A||Yes||N/A||Every 2 years||All vehicles in Phoenix and Tucson metros||Phoenix: $17, Tucson: $12.25||Timing: Phoenix: 2 years for vehicles year 1980 or newer, yearly otherwise, Tucson: 2 years for vehicles year 1996 or newer, yearly otherwise|
|California||N/A||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years or upon registration renewal||Emission: in most counties, gas vehicles more than 4 years old for year 1976 or newer; diesel vehicles year 1998 or newer; VIN: may require before registration||Emission: depends on inspector; VIN: part of $62 fee||check your county|
|Colorado||N/A||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years||Emission: gas vehicles at least 7 years old in the most populated counties||Emission: $25; VIN: $20||Emission: check your county|
|Connecticut||N/A||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years||Emission: gas and hybrid vehicles at least 3 years old for year 1996 or newer; VIN: out-of-state vehicle before registration otherwise done on emissions test||Emission: $20; VIN: $10||N/A|
|Delaware||Yes||Yes||N/A||Every 2 years||Safety and Emission: All vehicles at least 7 years old before registration/renewal||Part of $40 registration fee||Safety: pay special attention to your brakes and tires|
|Florida||N/A||N/A||VIN and odometer verification||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Georgia||N/A||Yes||N/A||Every year||All vehicles 3–25 years old in some Atlanta metro counties||$25||check your county|
|Hawaii||Yes||N/A||N/A||Every year||Brand-new vehicles exempt for the first 2 years; all others the stations inspect yearly||Depends on inspector||N/A|
|Idaho||N/A||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years||Emission: all gas and diesel vehicles at least 5 years old for year 1981 or newer in Ada and Canyon Counties and Kuna City||Emission: $14; VIN: part of $45–$69 registration fee||N/A|
|Illinois||N/A||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years||Emission: all gas vehicles at least 4 years old for year 1997 or newer in Chicago and St. Louis Metro East||Emission: $20; VIN: part of emissions testing||N/A|
|Indiana||N/A||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years||Emission: all gas vehicles at least 4 years old for year 1976 or newer in Lake and Porter Counties||Emission: free; VIN: free||N/A|
|Louisiana||Yes||Yes||N/A||Safety: every 1 year or 2 years Emission: every year||Safety: all vehicles; Emission: all gas vehicles year 1980 or newer in the 5 Baton Rouge parishes||Safety: $10 for 1 year, $20 for 2 years; Emission and Safety: $18 for 1 year||N/A|
|Maine||Yes||Yes||N/A||Safety: every 1 year||Safety: all vehicles; Emission: vehicles registered in Cumberland County||Safety: $12.50; Emission and Safety: $18.50||N/A|
|Maryland||Yes||Yes||N/A||Every 2 years||Safety: used vehicles before sale or transfer; Emission: all vehicles year 1996 or newer in 13 counties and Baltimore city||Safety: depends on inspector; Emission: $14||Emission: check your county|
|Massachusetts||Yes||Yes||N/A||Every year||Safety: all vehicles; Emission: all vehicles less than 15 years old||Safety and Emission: $35||N/A|
|Missouri||Yes||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years||Safety: all vehicles at least 11 years old or with 150,000 miles; Emission: all vehicles 4 years old with over 40,000 miles in Franklin County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, St. Louis County, and St. Louis City||Safety: $12; Emission: $24; VIN: part of $14.50 title fee||N/A|
|Nevada||N/A||Yes||Yes||Every year||Emission: All vehicles in Las Vegas and Reno metros, year 1968 or newer, that are at least 3 years old for gas or diesel, or at least 5 years old for hybrids||Emission: $50–$79 in Clark County, $50–$59 in Washoe County; VIN: part of $33 registration fee||N/A|
|New Hampshire||Yes||Yes||N/A||Every year||Safety: all vehicles; Emission: all vehicles less than 20 years old||Safety and Emission: depends on inspector||N/A|
|New Jersey||N/A||Yes||N/A||Every 2 years||Emission: all gas vehicles year 1996 or newer or diesel vehicles year 1997 or newer||Free or $2.50 from a private inspection facility||N/A|
|New Mexico||N/A||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years||Emission: all gas vehicles at least 4 years old for year 1986 and newer in Bernalillo County||Emission: depends on inspector, range is $15–$25 plus tax; VIN: part of $26–$140 registration fee||N/A|
|New York||Yes||Yes||N/A||Every year||Safety: all vehicles; Emission: all vehicles 2–25 years old that use gas year 1996 or newer or diesel year 1997 or newer||Safety: $10; Emission: $11 for vehicles year 1995 and older or outside NY metro, $27 in NY metro||both inspections are done at the same time|
|North Carolina||Yes||Yes||N/A||Every year||Safety: all vehicles less than 35 years old; Emission: all gas vehicles in 22 counties 3–20 years old or with over 70,000 miles||Safety: $13.60; Safety and Emission: $30||check your county|
|Ohio||N/A||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years||Emission: all vehicles 4–25 years old in 7 counties and the Cleveland/Akron metro||Emission: free; VIN: $3.50||check your county|
|Oregon||N/A||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years||Emission: all vehicles at least 3 years old for year 1975 or newer in Medford and Portland metros||Emission: Portland: $25, Medford: $15; VIN and Emission: $7 for out-of-state vehicle plus Portland or Medford fee||N/A|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||Yes||Yes||Every year||Safety: all vehicles; Emission: all gas vehicles that are at least a year old, with over 5,000 miles, year 1975 or newer in Norther, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, South Central, and other counties||Safety, Emission: depends on inspector; VIN: part of safety inspection||Emission: check your county|
|Rhode Island||Yes||Yes||Yes||Every 2 years||Safety and Emission: all vehicles at least 2 years old||Safety and Emission: $55; VIN: depends on the police department||VIN: state police departments perform inspections|
|Tennessee||N/A||Yes||N/A||Every year||all vehicles year 1975 or newer in Davidson, Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson Counties||$9||N/A|
|Texas||Yes||Yes||N/A||Every year||Safety: all vehicles; Emission: all gas vehicles 2–24 years old in 17 counties||Safety: $7; Safety and Emission: $18.50–$25.50 depends on county; Emission: $11.50–$18.50 depends on county||Emission: check your county|
|Utah||N/A||Yes||N/A||Every 2 years||Emission: all vehicles at least 6 years old, that are gas year 1968 or newer or diesel year 1998 or newer, in Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah, and Weber Counties||Cache: $20, Davis: depends on inspector, Salt Lake and Utah: depends on inspector but averages $25, Weber: $30||N/A|
|Vermont||Yes||Yes||Yes||Every year||Safety: all vehicles; Emission: all vehicles 16 years old or newer||Safety and Emission: depends on inspector; VIN: part of $76–$132 registration fee||N/A|
|Virginia||Yes||Yes||N/A||Every year||Safety: all vehicles; Emission: all gas vehicles 4–25 years old, and all diesel vehicles at least 4 years old year 1997 or newer, in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford, and 5 northern Virginia cities||Safety: $20; Emission: $28||N/A|
|West Virginia||Yes||N/A||N/A||Every year||All vehicles||$14.66||N/A|
|Wisconsin||N/A||Yes||N/A||Every 2 years||All 3 years or older, gas vehicles year 1996 or newer, all diesel vehicles year 2007 or newer, in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Washington, and Waukesha Counties||Free||N/A|
How does vehicle inspection work when I’m out of state?
Depending on the state, the government may require you to register your vehicle within 10–60 days of becoming a resident. You’ll need the general paperwork mentioned above. The inspection will be part of your vehicle registration process, which may include a VIN inspection.
Usually, VIN inspections can be completed by a law enforcement officer, DMV worker, or repair facility, or it’ll be part of your safety or emissions inspection. Sometimes, there’s a separate form and small fee.
Common Elements of a Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection
States usually have safety inspection facilities check the whole vehicle. Facilities that do valid inspections often give motorists 10 to 30 days to fix a problem and repeat the test at no added cost.
Here’s what they’ll check in a typical Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection (using New York as an example):
- Front end
- Fuel leaks
- Seat belts
- Wheel fasteners
- Windshield and other glass
- Windshield wiper and blades
- On-board diagnostic II (OBDII) to check vehicles model years 1996 or newer
- Check engine light off
- Air injection system (AIS)
- Catalytic converter (CAT)
- Exhaust gas recirculation valve (EGR)
- Evaporative emissions control (EVAP)
- Fuel inlet restrictor (FIR)
- Positive crankcase ventilation system (PCV)
- Thermostatic air cleaner (TAC)
State Vehicle Inspection FA
How can I save on my car insurance costs?
Check out a website that collects quotes from the auto insurance companies available in your area. Use a car insurance comparison tool like Insurify to provide you with dozens of real quotes in just a few minutes, unlocking savings and car insurance discounts.
How much does a Missouri state vehicle inspection cost?
Missouri has three types of state inspection: Safety inspections cost $12. Emissions inspections cost $24. VIN inspections are part of the $14.50 title fee.
How much does a North Carolina state vehicle inspection cost?
North Carolina’s safety inspection costs $13.60, and its joint safety and emissions inspection costs $30.
How much does a New York state vehicle inspection cost?
A New York motor vehicle safety inspection costs $10. Emissions inspections cost $11 for vehicles year 1995 or older or those outside of the NY metro; otherwise, they’re $27.
Conclusion: How to get the best and cheapest car insurance
It’s important for your vehicle to run safely, efficiently, and economically. A quick scan of your state’s vehicle inspection requirements should give you a grasp on the processes and fees. Why not help yourself to savings from Insurify with tailored car insurance quotes for your precise driving profile and price point in just a few minutes?