YOUR RESOURCE

for Georgia's Vehicle Emissions Inspection & Maintenance (I/M) Program.

motorists

See Frequently Asked Questions

Which vehicles have to be tested?

For 2016 vehicle registration, if your vehicle is a 1992 – 2013 model year gasoline-powered car or light-duty truck (8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight rating or less) registered in Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding or Rockdale County, it must be emissions tested.

The three most recent model year vehicles are exempt from emissions testing each year. For registration in 2016, this includes all 2014 and newer model year vehicles.

Additionally, vehicles that are 25 model years or older are exempt from emissions testing. This includes 1991 or older model year vehicles. View a list of all vehicles that are exempt from emissions testing.

New! View the 2017 Registration Renewal Insert.

Things to remember:

  • A vehicle’s model year is the year the vehicle was built as designated by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Certain exemptions and extensions may apply to your vehicle (see below).
  • Motorcycles, recreational vehicles (RVs) and motor homes do not require emissions testing for registration.
  • Diesel vehicles do not require emissions testing for registration

View the 2016 registration renewal insert for more details.

What types of exemptions and extensions are available?

Aside from Repair Waivers, you may qualify for certain extensions or exemptions from testing, such as:

  • Senior Exemption – Seniors 65 years old or older whose vehicle meet certain additional requirements may be eligible for a Senior Exemption.
  • Out-of Area-Extension- If you and your vehicle are temporarily located well outside of the metro Atlanta area because you are a student, in the military or have business obligations, you may qualify for an Out-of-Area Extension.
  • Antique Collector Vehicles – Vehicles 25 model years old or older are exempt from emissions testing. For registration in 2016, this includes vehicle model years 1991 and older.

Do alternative fueled vehicles require an emissions inspection?

Dedicated alternative fueled vehicles are vehicles that can only operate on alternative fuel and are not capable of operating on gasoline. These vehicles do not require an emissions inspection.

The following vehicles are considered alternative fuel vehicles and do not require an emissions inspection:

  • Dedicated vehicle types that operate only on:
    • Natural Gas
    • Propane
    • Battery Electricity
    • Hydrogen

The following vehicles are not alternative fuel vehicles and therefore require an emissions inspection (Note: this is not a complete list):

  • Hybrids
    • Ford Escape
    • Honda Insight
    • Honda Civic
    • Honda Accord
    • Lexus RX
    • Mercury Mariner
    • Toyota Highlander
    • Toyota Prius

Bi-Fueled and Flexible Fuel Vehicles

Flexible fuel vehicles that are capable of operating on blends of ethanol up to 85 percent must be tested on 100 percent gasoline. Bi-fueled vehicles that are capable of running on either the alternative fuel (propane or natural gas) or gasoline must be tested on gasoline, even if the vehicle is always operated on the alternative fuel.

Note: Any vehicle that is capable of using gasoline to operate requires an emissions inspection. 

DOR is now exclusively handling the determination of which vehicles are eligible for the alternative fuel tag. For more information on this subject, contact the Motor Vehicle Division at 1-855-406-5221 or with respect to the income tax credits, contact the Taxpayer Services Division at 1-877-423-6711, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

For forms and other information, visit their website at www.dor.georgia.gov.

When do I need to have my vehicle inspected?

Your vehicle must be tested every year prior to its registration date (the vehicle owner’s birthday). For registration in 2016, the three most recent model years are exempt from emissions testing, which includes 2014 or newer model year vehicles.

Vehicles 25 model years old or older are exempt. For registration in 2016, this includes model years 1991 or older. The registration renewal insert provides information regarding registration renewal.

Test early. GCAF recommends having your vehicle inspected four to six weeks prior to the registration renewal date. Vehicles can be tested well in advance if the owner of the vehicle will be out of the area at the time of registration. As a reminder, an emissions inspection is valid for 12 months or one registration renewal, by the same owner. GCAF recommends contacting your tag office to determine if they will allow a registration renewal prior to the normal renewal period (more than 60 days prior to the motorist’s registration renewal date, which is the owner’s birthday).

What if I am buying a new vehicle?

The three most recent model year vehicles are exempt from emissions testing. For registration in 2016, this includes all 2014 and newer model year vehicles (2014, 2015 and 2016).

What if I am buying a used vehicle?

If you buy a used vehicle that will be registered in a covered county,* sellers located within the 13-county testing area must ensure the vehicle has a passing Georgia vehicle emissions inspection at the time of sale. A Georgia Vehicle Emission Inspection Report (VIR) can be used for the initial registration and one registration renewal if still valid.

*Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale.

Sellers are not required to provide the buyer with a hard copy of the VIR. The VIR will be on record electronically at the tag office. If the buyer would like a hard copy of the VIR, a free copy can be downloaded here.

To file a complaint against a seller (located within the 13-county testing area) for failing to have a passing emissions test at the time of sale, go to the Forms and Applications section and complete the “Used Vehicle Sale Complaint Form.”

If you purchased a vehicle that received a failed emissions test, significant costs may be incurred to correct the cause of the failure or to qualify for a waiver.

Within 12 months, a vehicle may be sold numerous times using the same valid VIR.

What if I purchased a vehicle from out of the area?

If you are registering your vehicle for the first time in a covered county,* please contact your county tag office for the registration requirements.

*Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale.

Note: Keep a copy of your passing Georgia Vehicle Emission Inspection Report (VIR) for future reference.

Can I use a Georgia Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) twice in one year?

No. The test results are valid for 12 months or one registration renewal, but only by the same owner.

Newly-purchased used vehicle registrations: If a motorist purchases a used vehicle with a valid passing VIR, that VIR (from the previous owner) can be used for the initial registration and can be used for the new owner’s registration renewal, as long as the test is still valid (must not exceed 12 months). Only the most recent VIR is considered.

What if I am registering my vehicle late?

If your vehicle has not been registered for several years and you are registering late for the previous year, 2015, the vehicle will need to be tested now for the late renewal and again for the current renewal, 2016.

If the vehicle has not been registered for several years and you are registering for the current year, 2016, the vehicle will only need to be tested once to return it to the regular testing cycle. 

It is the tag office’s discretion as to what is required for late registration. Please contact your tag office for specific information regarding your vehicle’s registration.

What if I am registering my vehicle early?

GCAF recommends the vehicle be tested four to six weeks prior to the registration renewal date; however the vehicle may be tested earlier if needed. A Georgia Vehicle Emission Inspection Report (VIR) is valid for 12 months or one registration renewal, by the same owner. GCAF recommends contacting your tag office to determine if they will allow a registration renewal prior to the normal renewal period (more than 60 days prior to the motorist’s registration renewal date, which is the owner’s birthday).

How much does it cost to have my vehicle inspected?

An emissions inspection costs up to $25 and the fee is posted on the station’s emissions inspection sign.

Where can I have my vehicle inspected?

Newer vehicles (1996 – 2013) can be tested at any station. Look for an inspection station sign that reads “1996 or Newer Vehicles Welcome” or “All Vehicles Welcome.”

Vehicles 1995 and older (1992 – 1995) must be tested at stations marked “All Vehicles Welcome.”

For a complete listing of all vehicle testing locations, view the Testing Locations section, or click on the link. Testing tips:

  • You are not required to have your vehicle inspected in the county where your vehicle is registered.
  • Warm up your engine to make sure the emissions control equipment is working properly prior to inspection.
  • You have the right to observe the inspection as it is performed.

What tests will be performed?

All subject vehicles will receive a three-part inspection:

  • An OBD test to check the vehicle’s emissions control performance history.
  • A fuel cap inspection to check for adequate seal.
  • A visual inspection of the catalytic converter to check for tampering or removal.

All 1995 and older model year vehicles will receive:

  • A TSI test or an Accelerated Simulation Mode (ASM2) test – This dual-mode test includes a 25/25 test (25 percent load at 25 MPH) and a 50/15 test (50 percent load at 15 MPH).
  • A fuel cap inspection to check for adequate seal.
  • A visual inspection of the catalytic converter to check for tampering or removal.

An inspector can reject a vehicle for testing if it is considered unsafe to test. If the test has already begun when the safety problem is detected, the inspector may charge the full price of the test.

What if my vehicle fails?

Well-maintained vehicles usually pass the emissions test first time unless there is a component failure that has not been repaired or manufacturer’s defect. Standards have been set to take into consideration the age of your vehicle as well as the emissions control components available at the time your vehicle was manufactured. If your car does fail, it must be repaired and retested.

You will receive one free retest if you return to the original inspection station within 30 calendar days of your initial inspection (Note: 30 days includes the date and the time of your initial inspection).

If your vehicle fails the inspection, be sure to obtain a copy of the Question & Answer brochure from the testing station or click here to view the brochure for repair tips.

Also, you can review a copy of the RepairWatch Public Report, which lists qualified repair facilities with a proven track record of performing effective emissions-related repairs.

Please note: If your vehicle fails its annual emissions inspection, and you have already paid all related taxes and fees, contact your local county tag office for information about a possible non-renewable 30-day extension on your registration, per OCGA 40-2-20.

What if I just moved to one of the 13 covered counties?

Generally, you must have your vehicle tested and registered within 30 days after moving to one of the 13 covered counties.

If you have just moved to one of the 13 covered counties* from a Georgia county where emissions testing is not required and your vehicle has a current Georgia registration, a valid emission certificate will not be required until your next registration renewal due date.

*Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale.

What can I do to prepare my vehicle for inspection?

  • If the “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light is on, your vehicle should be checked by a repair technician as soon as possible. This light notifies motorists when something in the emissions control system fails or begins to deteriorate. Early diagnosis and repair can prevent more costly repairs in the future.
  • Keep in mind the most common reasons for emissions test failures include: a malfunction in the components of the vehicle that regulate the fuel/air ratio such as the oxygen sensor and the EGR valve; a dirty air filter; misfiring spark plugs; leaks in the vacuum system; or a poor-fitting fuel cap. Many of these components can be checked and repaired during routine tune-ups.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance and tune-up schedule.
  • Have the vehicle’s oil changed regularly.
  • Replace the fuel cap securely after filling up. A loose fuel cap allows water and foreign material to collect, causing rust and a poor seal.
  • Keep the sealing surfaces of the fuel cap clean and in good condition. When necessary, clean them with water and a damp cloth.
  • Keep the vehicle’s tires properly inflated.
  • Check belts and hoses for wear.
  • On 1996 and newer model year vehicles, the “Check Engine” light may illuminate as a result of a loose fuel cap. If the “Check Engine” light is illuminated, try tightening the fuel cap until it clicks, then drive the vehicle until the light turns itself off.

Note: Federal law requires that emissions control systems on 1995 and newer model year vehicles be warranted by the manufacturer for two years or 24,000 miles. Federal law also requires that the OBD computer and catalytic converter on 1995 and newer vehicles be warranted by the manufacturer for eight years or 80,000 miles. Many vehicle manufacturers provide extended warranty coverage beyond what is required by federal law. Consult your vehicle owner’s warranty manual for coverage information.

I’m temporarily visiting Georgia from another state, do I need to have my vehicle inspected?

Only vehicles registered in a Georgia county requiring emissions testing need an emissions test in order to renew their vehicle’s registration. Please contact your home state for emissions requirements.

I renewed my registration online and it did not ask for my emission certificate number, do I need to mail it in?

There is no need to mail the results of your emissions inspection because they are transmitted electronically to the tag office. When renewing online, the system will search for a current, valid inspection. If one is detected, you will be allowed to complete your renewal without having to enter the certificate number from the Georgia Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR). Should you have further questions regarding your registration, please contact your tag office for assistance.

Where can I find information about other states’ emissions testing programs?

Arizona
Phoenix and Tucson
Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP)

California
Statewide
SmogCheck

California DMV Smog Check

Colorado
Denver (metro area)
AirCareColorado

Connecticut
Statewide
Connecticut Emissions Program

Delaware
Wilmington, New Castle, Dover and Georgetown
Vehicle Emission Testing (PDF)
Delaware Emission FAQs

District of Columbia
District Wide
Vehicle Inspections – Clean Air, Safe Cars

Georgia
Atlanta (metro area)
Georgia’s Clean Air Force

Idaho
Ada County
Vehicle Emission and Air Quality

Illinois
Chicago (metro area) and St. Louis, MO-IL (metro area)
Air Team Vehicle Emission Testing

Indiana
Lake and Porter Counties
Clean Air Car Check

Louisiana
Baton Rouge (metro area) and Iberville Parish
Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program

Maine
Cumberland County
Enhanced Auto Inspection Program

Maryland
Baltimore and District of Columbia (suburban area)
Vehicle Emission Inspection Program

Massachusetts
Statewide
Massachusetts Vehicle Check

Missouri
St. Louis, MO-IL (metro area)
Gateway Vehicle Inspection Program (GVIP)

Nevada
Las Vegas, NV-AZ (metro area) and Reno (metro area)
Nevada Emissions Control Program

New Hampshire
Statewide
New Hampshire OBD & Safety Testing Program (NHOST)

New Jersey
Statewide
NJ Inspections

New Mexico
Albuquerque (metro area)
Albuquerque Emissions Testing

New York
NYC (metro area)
New York City Metropolitan Area Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program

North Carolina
Alamance, Brunswick Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Carteret, Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Craven, Cumberland, Davidson, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Granville, Guilford, Harnett, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pitt, Randolph, Robeson, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Wake, Wayne, Wilkes, Wilson and Union counties
Emission and Inspection Program

Ohio
OH-KY-IN (metro area), Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria (metro area), Dayton-Springfield (metro area) and Hamilton-Middletown (metro area)
Ohio E-Check Vehicle Emissions Testing Program

Oregon
Medford-Ashland (metro area) and Portland-Vancouver, OR-WA (metro area)
Vehicle Inspection Program (VIP)

Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Region: Allegheny
Beaver
Washington 
Westmoreland. South Central Region:
Berks, Cumberland
Dauphin, Lancaster 
Lebanon, Lehigh
Northampton, York. Northern Region:Blair, Cambria
Centre, Erie
Lackawanna, Luzerne
Lycoming, Mercer. Philadelphia Region:
Bucks
Chester
Delaware
Montgomery
Philadelphia. Other Counties:
Adams, Armstrong, Bedford, Bradford, Butler, Cameron, Carbon, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Elk, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lawrence, McKean, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Wayne, Wyoming
Drive Clean Pennsylvania Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program

Rhode Island
Statewide
Rhode Island Emissions & Safety Testing Program

Tennessee
Memphis, TN-AR-MS (metro area) Program
Information on Vehicle Inspection Programs in Tennessee

Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Vehicle Inspection Program

Texas
DFW (metro area) and Houston (metro area)
AirCheckTexas

Utah
Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber
Emission Inspections

Vermont
Statewide
Vehicle Inspection in Vermont

Virginia
Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford; or the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park
Emissions Inspections

Washington
Urban areas of Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties
Emission Check Program

Wisconsin
Counties of Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Washington and Waukesha
Vehicle Emission Testing

Does Georgia accept out of state emissions inspections?

No, an emissions inspection from another state is not transferable and is not acceptable for Georgia registration. While Georgia does not accept other states’ emissions tests for registration purposes, GCAF does accept them as a proof that the vehicle is out of area.

How early can I test my vehicle?

GCAF recommends having your vehicle inspected four to six weeks prior to the registration renewal date. Vehicles can be tested well in advance if the owner of the vehicle will be out of the area at the time of registration. As a reminder, an emissions inspection is valid for 12 months or one registration renewal, by the same owner. GCAF recommends contacting your tag office to determine if they will allow a registration renewal prior to the normal renewal period (more than 60 days prior to the motorist’s registration renewal date, which is the owner’s birthday).