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Vehicle Inspection Requirements by State (2022)

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Katie Powers

By: Katie Powers

Edited by John Leach

Updated September 2, 2022

Vehicle inspection requirements vary from state to state, making it essential to understand the inspections necessary in your state and ensure your car remains up to date. When discussing state inspection requirements, people tend to view them through the lens of driver and government safety.

Bringing your car in for required state inspections costs money on top of existing car insurance and maintenance payments. Purchasing a cheap car insurance policy helps save drivers money on the overall costs affiliated with owning or leasing a car.

Quick Facts

  • State vehicle inspection requirements vary from state to state.

  • Repair shops and certain other locations can conduct inspections for you.

  • Auto insurance rates vary based on the driver, vehicle type, and more.

How to Get a State Vehicle Inspection

What are state vehicle inspection requirements?

Every state has its own requirements when it comes to vehicle inspections.

Drivers can find a business to conduct a state vehicle inspection through the online services of their local department of motor vehicles (DMV) or by searching for a repair shop. In some states, drivers can get inspections at local repair shops. Other states dictate that drivers complete their inspections through a DMV office or another government-led location.

Drivers in some states must have a successful vehicle check before renewing their registration. If you’re hoping to skip long lines at the DMV, avoid heading there at the end of the month. That time is often busier than normal due to an influx of expirations of various stickers, inspections, license plates, permits, and tags.

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Vehicle Inspection Requirements by State

The information that is typically required to complete inspections includes the following: driver’s license, vehicle title, proof of insurance, bill of sale or other applicable sale documents, and VIN inspection form if registering an out-of-state vehicle. Data from local, state, and federal governments is represented in the state vehicle inspection listings below.

In the list below, the following phrases are used interchangeably: vehicle emissions testing, emission inspection, and smog inspection. Furthermore, the phrase “all vehicles” refers to private passenger gas, diesel, and hybrid vehicles and excludes alternative fuel, full electric, motorcycles, trailers, mopeds, motor homes, buses, or other vehicles.

The requirements below don’t factor in information about commercial vehicles, vehicles like snowmobiles or ATVs, or gross vehicle weight. Learn more about your particular state requirements below, with specifics for safety, emissions, and vehicle identification number (VIN) inspections; inspection frequency; requirements; cost; and more.

Alabama

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: Sale or transfer of ownership

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: Take the vehicle to the county vehicle licensing office

  • Cost: Part of $15–$23 registration fee

  • Other: N/A

Alaska

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

Arizona

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: All vehicles in Phoenix and Tucson metros

  • Cost: Phoenix: $17; Tucson: $12.25

  • Other: Timing for Phoenix is 2 years for vehicles year 1980 or newer, and yearly otherwise; timing for Tucson is 2 years for vehicles year 1996 or newer, and yearly otherwise

Arkansas

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

California

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years or upon registration renewal

  • Requirements: 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

  • Cost: Emission—depends on inspector; VIN—part of $62 fee

  • Other: Check your county

Colorado

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Emission tests for gas vehicles at least 7 years old in the most populated counties

  • Cost: $25 for Emission; $20 for VIN

  • Other: Emission—check your county

Connecticut

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: 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

  • Cost: $20 for Emission; $10 for VIN

  • Other: N/A

Delaware

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Safety and Emission—all vehicles at least 7 years old before registration/renewal

  • Cost: Part of $40 registration fee

  • Other: Safety—pay special attention to your brakes and tires

Florida

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: VIN and odometer verification

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

Georgia

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: All vehicles 3 to 25 years old in some Atlanta metro counties

  • Cost: $25

  • Other: Check your county

Hawaii

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: Brand-new vehicles exempt for the first 2 years; all others inspect yearly

  • Cost: Depends on inspector

  • Other: N/A

Idaho

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Emission—all gas and diesel vehicles at least 5 years old for year 1981 or newer in Ada and Canyon Counties and Kuna City

  • Cost: $14 for Emission; part of $45–$69 registration fee for VIN

  • Other: N/A

Illinois

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Emission—all gas vehicles at least 4 years old for 1997 or newer in Chicago and St. Louis Metro East

  • Cost: $20 for Emission; part of emissions testing for VIN

  • Other: N/A

Indiana

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Emission—all gas vehicles at least 4 years old for year 1976 or newer in Lake and Porter Counties

  • Cost: free for Emission; free for VIN

  • Other: N/A

Iowa

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

Kansas

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: $20

  • Other: N/A

Kentucky

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: $5

  • Other: N/A

Louisiana

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every 1 year or 2 years for Safety; every year for Emission

  • Requirements: All vehicles for Safety; all gas vehicles year 1980 or newer in the 5 Baton Rouge parishes for Emission

  • Cost: $10 for 1 year, $20 for 2 years for Safety; $18 for 1 year for Emission and Safety

  • Other: N/A

Maine

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year for Safety

  • Requirements: All vehicles for Safety; vehicles registered in Cumberland County for Emission

  • Cost: $12.50 for Safety; $18.50 for Emission and Safety

  • Other: N/A

Maryland

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Safety—used vehicles before sale or transfer; Emission—all vehicles year 1996 or newer in 13 counties and Baltimore city

  • Cost: Depends on inspector for Safety; $14 for Emission

  • Other: Check your county for Emission

Massachusetts

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: Safety—all vehicles; Emission—all vehicles less than 15 years old

  • Cost: $35 for Safety and Emission

  • Other: N/A

Michigan

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

Minnesota

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

Mississippi

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

Missouri

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: 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, Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. Louis Counties, and St. Louis City

  • Cost: $12 for Safety; $24 for Emission; part of $14.50 title fee for VIN

  • Other: N/A

Montana

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

Nebraska

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: $20

  • Other: N/A

Nevada

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: 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

  • Cost: Emission—$50–$79 in Clark County, $50–$59 in Washoe County; VIN—part of $33 registration fee

  • Other: N/A

New Hampshire

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: Safety—all vehicles; Emission—all vehicles less than 20 years old

  • Cost: Depends on inspector for Safety and Emission

  • Other: N/A

New Jersey

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Emission—all gas vehicles year 1996 or newer or diesel vehicles year 1997 or newer

  • Cost: Free or $2.50 from a private inspection facility

  • Other: N/A

New Mexico

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Emission—all gas vehicles at least 4 years old for year 1986 and newer in Bernalillo County

  • Cost: Emission—depends on inspector, range is $15–$25 plus tax; VIN—part of $26–$140 registration fee

  • Other: N/A

New York

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: Safety—all vehicles; Emission—all vehicles 2 to 25 years old that use gas year 1996 or newer or diesel year 1997 or newer

  • Cost: $10 for Safety; $11 for vehicles year 1995 and older or outside NY metro, $27 in NY metro for Emission

  • Other: Both inspections are done at the same time

North Carolina

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: Safety—all vehicles less than 35 years old; Emission—all gas vehicles in 22 counties 3 to 20 years old or with over 70,000 miles

  • Cost: $13.60 for Safety; $30 for Safety and Emission

  • Other: Check your county

North Dakota

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

Ohio

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Emission—all vehicles 4 to 25 years old in 7 counties and the Cleveland/Akron metro

  • Cost: Free for Emission; $3.50 for VIN

  • Other: Check your county

Oklahoma

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

Oregon

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Emission—all vehicles at least 3 years old for year 1975 or newer in Medford and Portland metros

  • Cost: Emission—Portland: $25, Medford: $15; VIN and Emission—$7 for out-of-state vehicle plus Portland or Medford fee

  • Other: N/A

Pennsylvania

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: Safety—all vehicles; Emission—all gas vehicles that are at least 1 year old, with over 5,000 miles, year 1975 or newer in Norther, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, South Central, and other counties

  • Cost: Safety and Emission depends on inspector; VIN is part of safety inspection

  • Other: Check your county for Emission

Rhode Island

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Safety and Emission—all vehicles at least 2 years old

  • Cost: $55 for Safety and Emission; depends on the police department for VIN

  • Other: State police departments perform VIN inspections

South Carolina

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

South Dakota

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

Tennessee

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: All vehicles year 1975 or newer in Davidson, Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson Counties

  • Cost: $9

  • Other: N/A

Texas

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: Safety—all vehicles; Emission—all gas vehicles 2 to 24 years old in 17 counties

  • Cost: $7 for Safety; $18.50–$25.50, depending on county, for Safety and Emission; $11.50–$18.50, depending on county, for Emission

  • Other: Check your county for Emission

Utah

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: Emission—all vehicles at least 6 years old that are gas (year 1968 or newer) and diesel (year 1998 or newer) in Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah, and Weber Counties

  • Cost: $20 in Cache; depends on inspector in Davis; depends on inspector but averages $25 in Salt Lake and Utah Counties; $30 in Weber

  • Other: N/A

Vermont

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: Safety—all vehicles; Emission—all vehicles 16 years old or newer

  • Cost: Safety and Emission depends on inspector; VIN is part of $76–$132 registration fee

  • Other: N/A

Virginia

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: Safety—all vehicles; Emission—all gas vehicles 4 to 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

  • Cost: $20 for Safety; $28 for Emission

  • Other: N/A

Washington

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: N/A

  • Other: N/A

West Virginia

  • Safety Inspection: Yes

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every year

  • Requirements: All vehicles

  • Cost: $14.66

  • Other: N/A

Wisconsin

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: Yes

  • VIN Inspection: N/A

  • Frequency: Every 2 years

  • Requirements: 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

  • Cost: Free

  • Other: N/A

Wyoming

  • Safety Inspection: N/A

  • Emission Inspection: N/A

  • VIN Inspection: Yes

  • Frequency: N/A

  • Requirements: N/A

  • Cost: $10

  • Other: N/A

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Interstate Moves

Guidelines vary by state, but vehicles are typically supposed to be registered within 10 to 60 days of a person moving to a new state. To comply, drivers need a driver’s license, certificate of title, proof of insurance, VIN inspection form, and bill of sale or other applicable sale documents. The inspection may coincide with the vehicle registration process.

VIN inspections, which may be part of vehicle registration requirements, can be completed by someone at a repair facility, a DMV worker, or a law enforcement officer. In some instances, the VIN inspection is actually included as a portion of a vehicle’s safety or emissions inspection. The VIN inspection may also have an additional fee and a form to complete.

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Common Elements of a Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection

States typically require inspection facilities to inspect the entire vehicle. After a valid inspection at a facility, drivers typically have 10 to 30 days to rectify any problems. Within that period, most facilities repeat the inspection for drivers at no additional cost. A typical Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection includes checking a number of car features. Using New York state as an example, here are the things they look for:

Safety

Safety inspection reports typically factor in the status of a car’s brakes, chassis, frame, front end, fuel lines, horn, lights, mirrors, seat belts, steering, suspension, tires, wheel fasteners, windshield and other glass, and windshield wipers and blades.

Emissions

Emissions inspections typically look at onboard diagnostics (OBD-II) to check the model years of vehicles from 1996 or newer, engine light, 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), and thermostatic air cleaner (TAC).

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How to Get the Best and Cheapest Car Insurance

Rates from car insurance fluctuate over time, making shopping around for car insurance crucial in finding the best, most affordable insurance prices—whether you are a first-time insurance customer or looking for a better deal.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Vehicle inspection costs typically vary by the state a driver lives in, as well as the inspection station or service center the vehicle is taken to. The costs associated with inspections for personally owned vehicles typically fall within the range of $10 to $65. Some states may offer these services for free to further encourage car maintenance and safety.

  • Depending on the state you live in, you can find information on the website of your local DMV or contact a nearby repair shop to determine which locations complete the required inspections. Some states will require that inspections take place at government-run locations, while others will be more lenient. Generally, your vehicle may need safety, emissions, and VIN inspections.

  • For most of the required state vehicle inspections—including safety, emissions, and VIN inspections—vehicle owners must bring specific paperwork. In most cases, drivers should bring the following documentation: their driver’s license, vehicle title, proof of car insurance, VIN inspection form, and bill of sale or other applicable sale documents.

  • Considering several insurer options is important for finding an affordable car insurance policy that matches your specific driving profile and insurance needs. When drivers compare quotes from the nation’s top insurance providers, they can find personalized rates that save them money and give them the coverage they need.

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  • Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.

Katie Powers
Katie Powers
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Insurance Writer

Katie Powers is an insurance writer at Insurify with expertise in personal finance and auto insurance topics. She strives to help consumers make better financial decisions. Prior to joining Insurify, she completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Emerson College. Her work has been published in St. Louis Magazine, the Boston Globe, and elsewhere. Connect with Katie on LinkedIn.

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