What are Vehicle Inspection Laws?

 
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The United States government does not have regulations in place or a system for vehicle inspections. Vehicle inspections are regulated from the state level only. Some states have really strict policies, while others barely have any at all.

If you are looking to move to a new state, or just want to know the rules in your state, there are a few laws and regulations you should be aware of to make sure that you are following their rules and regulations. Each state has different requirements on how, when, and where vehicles need to be inspected and tested. There are several different kinds of inspections: vehicle emissions, safety, and vehicle identification number (“VIN”).

What States Don’t Require Vehicle Inspections?

  1. Alaska
  2. Arkansas
  3. Iowa
  4. Michigan
  5. Minnesota
  6. Mississippi
  7. Montana
  8. North Dakota
  9. South Carolina
  10. South Dakota

What Inspections Does Each State Require?

  • Alabama
    • Safety inspection-prior to the sale of a vehicle or transfer of ownership
  • Arizona
    • Emissions inspection-every 2 years in Phoenix and Tucson metro areas
  • California
    • Emissions inspection- every 2 years, excluding electric, hybrid, motorcycles, trailers, natural gas powered vehicles that weigh more than 14,000 lbs., diesel vehicles made before 1997, and vehicles less than 6 years old
    • VIN inspection- for any out of state vehicle
  • Colorado
    • Emissions inspection- every 2 years in Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, parts of Adams, parts of Larimer, parts of Weld, and parts of Arapahoe counties.
    • VIN inspection- for any out of state vehicle, not required for cars 7 years or younger, electric vehicles, motorcycles or collector vehicles.
  • Connecticut
    • Emissions inspection- every 2 years
    • VIN inspection- for any out of state vehicle
    • Safety inspection- only for commercial vehicles: taxis, trailers, etc.
  • Delaware
    • Emissions inspection-every 2 years, excluding cars made in 1967 or before, and cars 5 years old or newer
    • Safety inspection- every 2 years
  • Florida
    • VIN inspection-for any out of state vehicle
  • Georgia
    • Emissions inspection- every year, in some Atlanta metro areas, cars 3 years or newer/cars 25 years or older are exempt
  • Hawaii
    • Safety inspection- every year, new cars don’t need to be inspected again for 2 years
  • Idaho
    • Emissions inspection- every 2 years, in Ada and Canyon counties only
    • VIN inspection- for any out of state vehicle
  • Illinois
    • Emissions inspection- every 2 years, in Chicago and St. Louis metro areas, cars 4 years or newer, cars from 1967 or before, electric, or diesel powered are all exempt
    • VIN inspection- every 2 years
    • Safety inspection- every 2 years in some areas
  • Indiana
    • Emissions inspection-every 2 years, in Lake and Porter counties only, for cars manufactured after 1976
    • VIN inspection- for any out of state vehicle
  • Kansas
    • VIN inspection- only if registering the vehicle for the first time
  • Louisiana
    • Emissions inspection-every year, in Baton Rouge metro areas
    • Safety inspection-every year
  • Maine
    • Emissions inspection- every year, in Cumberland county
    • Safety inspection- every year
  • Maryland
    • Emissions inspection- every 2 years, 13 Baltimore metro areas
    • Safety inspection- only required before a sale or transfer of ownership
  • Massachusetts
    • Emissions inspection- every year
    • Safety inspection- every year
  • Missouri
    • Emissions inspection- every 2 years, in St. Louis, Franklin, St. Charles, and Jefferson counties
    • Safety inspection- every 2 years, except vehicles with historic plates and vehicles 5 years or newer
  • Nebraska
    • Safety inspection-for out of state vehicles
    • VIN inspection- for out of state vehicles
  • Nevada
    • Emissions inspection- every year, for Las Vegas and Reno, motorcycles, new hybrids, new vehicles, and vehicles made before 1968 are exempt
    • VIN inspection- for out of state vehicles
  • New Hampshire
    • Emissions inspection- every year, cars made after 1996
    • Safety inspection- every year
  • New Jersey
    • Emissions inspection- every 2 years, excluding cars 5 years old or newer
  • New Mexico
    • Emissions inspection- every 2 years, in Bernalillo county, diesel, electric, and vehicles from 1982 and before are excluded
    • VIN inspection- for out of state vehicles
  • New York
    • Emissions inspection-every year, vehicles 26 years or older and 2 years or younger are excluded
    • Safety inspection-every year
  • North Carolina
    • Emissions inspection-every year, in 48/100 counties, vehicles made before 1995, diesel, and farming vehicles are excluded
    • Safety inspection- every year
  • Ohio
    • Emissions inspection-based on even or odd number years, in Cleveland metro areas
  • Oklahoma
    • VIN inspection- for out of state vehicles
  • Oregon
    • Emissions inspection- every 2 years, in Portland and Medford metro areas, vehicles 1975 or before are excluded
    • VIN inspection- for out of state vehicles
  • Pennsylvania
    • Emissions inspection- every year, 25/67 counties between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia
    • Safety inspection-every year
    • VIN inspection-every year, part of the safety inspection
  • Rhode Island
    • Emissions inspection-every 2 years
    • Safety inspection-every 2 years, cars 2 years or newer are exempt
    • VIN inspection-for out of state vehicles
  • Tennessee
    • Emissions inspection-every year, in Davidson, Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties are required
  • Texas
    • Emissions inspection-every year, in Austin, Dallas, Houston and El Paso, motorcycles and diesel vehicles are excluded
  • Utah
    • Emissions inspection-every 2 years, in Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties
    • Safety inspection- done at 4, 8, 10 years for the life of the vehicle
  • Vermont
    • Emissions inspection- every year, for vehicles 1996 and newer
    • Safety inspection- every year
    • VIN inspection-for out of state vehicles
  • Virginia
    • Emissions inspection-every 2 years, for Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties
    • Safety inspection- every year
  • Washington
    • Emissions inspection- in Clark, King, Pierce, Spokane and Snohomish counties
    • VIN inspection- for out of state and rebuilt vehicles
  • West Virginia
    • Safety inspection- every year
  • Wisconsin
    • Emissions inspection-every 2 years, in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Waukesha, and Washington counties
  • Wyoming
    • VIN inspection-for out of state vehicles

As you can see, every state is different. If you plan to move, you need to be aware of these rules. Also, go online or go to your local Motor Vehicle Division to see what fees you need to pay for the appropriate tests your vehicle needs.

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