Well-maintained vehicles usually pass the first time unless there’s an unrepaired component failure 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 not pass, it must be repaired and retested. Keep in mind that inspectors have no control over test results on properly performed inspections. Inspectors have no way of knowing why your vehicle failed based on test results alone. You will receive one free retest if you return to the original inspection station within 30 calendar days of your initial inspection. (30 days includes the date and time of your initial inspection). Note: Before a retest can be performed, you must provide the failed Georgia Vehicle Emissions Inspection Report (VIR) and a completed Emissions Repair Form, which should be filled out by your repair technician. For 1996 and newer model year vehicles; additional information is available online for OBD and OBD repairs:
For 1996 and older model year vehicles, you should have received a VIR showing which area(s) of the test your vehicle failed. Emissions test results are certified by the state. Inspectors have no control over these results. In addition, inspectors have no way of knowing why your vehicle failed based on test results alone.
A diagnostic analysis must be performed by a quality repair facility to find out why your 1996 and older model year vehicle failed one of the following areas:
You will need to have your vehicle repaired. But first it’s important that you:
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.
Before you go anywhere, check to see if your vehicle is still covered by a manufacturer’s emissions control warranty (all new vehicles generally have some type of emissions control warranty). If so, take it to an authorized dealer. If your vehicle is not under warranty, find a quality emissions repair shop to make the necessary repairs. Note: Your vehicle may fail due to factors other than a faulty emissions control device. Georgia’s Clean Air Force maintains a list of repair shops with a proven track record of emissions-related repairs. You can view this report: RepairWatch Public Report to see if your repair shop is included or to find a quality repair shop in your area. You can also visit any inspection station to view a copy of this report. Of course, you can take your vehicle to any garage, dealership or other service provider. You can even do the repairs yourself; however, if you do them yourself, labor costs will not count toward the Repair Waiver requirements. See our section on Repair Waivers for more information. When selecting a repair technician/mechanic, be sure to ask a few basic questions:
After your vehicle fails the initial test, the first step is to receive a comprehensive diagnostic analysis, which is required to identify what is wrong with your emissions control system or your engine before a repair recommendation can be made. (Your emissions test is not a diagnostic analysis.) You can expect to be charged for the diagnostic analysis. However, the fee will apply toward your Repair Waiver requirements, if needed.
You will receive one free retest if you return to the original inspection station within 30 calendar days of your initial inspection.
Additional repairs and retesting may be required. You may qualify for a Repair Waiver for that registration year if you meet the following requirements:
Take your vehicle to a Georgia’s Clean Air Force Service Center. Be sure to bring your vehicle and the following documentation with you:
To qualify for a Repair Waiver:
For more information, view our waivers information section.
If you question the test procedures, the accuracy of the inspection equipment or the validity of the results, you can ask for a referee test within 15 calendar days of the disputed inspection. The referee test will be observed by a Georgia’s Clean Air Force representative or other authorized representative at a mutually agreeable time at your original inspection site. This inspection will be performed by appointment only. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 1.800.449.2471. Also, please report offers to illegally pass a vehicle by calling the above referenced phone number or by submitting an e-mail to GCAF.
There are several ways to prepare for your next emissions test:
It should be noted that an inspector may reject a vehicle for testing if it is considered unsafe to test. And, if the test has already begun when the safety problem is detected, the inspector may charge the full price of the test.
Because your health depends on it.
High levels of smog can be bad for you, aggravating respiratory conditions like asthma. And the metro Atlanta area has failed to meet federal air quality standards since 1980, due in large part to vehicle emissions.
But through Georgia’s Enhanced Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program, we are identifying and repairing heavy polluters, making the air cleaner and healthier for you, your children and their children.
At the same time, the emissions testing program brings us closer to meeting the federal air quality standards established by the Clean Air Act.
Federal law allows engine switching in some instances. Generally it is illegal to install an engine in a vehicle if that vehicle was not manufactured to support the emissions controls of the replacement engine.
Please refer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website for complete information on engine switching.
Please refer to the EPA’s website for complete information on kit cars.
For a list of recalls, technical service bulletins (TSBs), warranties and diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), view the Repair Assistance Knowledge Base.
Click here for a list of GCAF recognized repair technicians.
RepairWatch is an emissions repair effectiveness program developed to meet requirements of the Clean Air Act and to assist vehicle owners with identifying effective emissions repair facilities. The RepairWatch Public Report can be used as a guide for locating emissions repair facilities meet the established criteria. All state-certified emissions inspection stations are required to have the current RepairWatch Public Report available for public review. The report is also available by clicking here where The RepairWatch Public Report will include repair facilities meeting all of the following criteria:
This report is developed by collecting and analyzing data related to emissions repairs and repair facilities. This information, taken from the Emissions Repair Form, is entered into a database by the emissions inspector at the time of the emissions retest. Repair and retest information is compiled according to the repair facility telephone number entered on the form; this determines which repair facility was associated with the vehicle repairs. To help ensure the accuracy of this report, it is vital that the repair facility telephone number and name are entered correctly.
Before having emissions-related repairs performed, it is important to determine the types of repairs a repair facility performs. If your vehicle is older (1991-1995), and was tested on the dynamometer, ask the prospective repair shop if they perform ASM related repairs. If your vehicle is a newer model (1996 and newer), ask your prospective repair shop if they perform OBD-related repairs.
The RepairWatch Public Report is not intended as a recommendation or endorsement by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) or their Management Contractor of the facilities included therein. The report is intended only a resource to help vehicle owners locate repair facilities that conduct emissions-related repairs. Inclusion in this report does not signify that these repair facilities possess particular repair skills or that they are the only such facilities qualified to make emissions-related repairs. Rather, the facilities included in the report are those facilities that have made emissions-related repairs within the six month reporting period on at least 12 vehicles that failed their initial emissions inspection, and those vehicles had all recommended emissions-related repairs made prior to the first retest. Additionally, because of the nature of the information included in the report and the manner in which it is compile the EPD and their Management Contractor make no representations as to and do not warrant its accuracy.
It is important to remember it remains your right and responsibility as a consumer to evaluate and choose a repair facility.
For more information, click on the following links:
Q&A brochure [PDF]
Readiness tips flyer [PDF]
Non-Communication flyer [PDF]
“Check Engine” light flyer [PDF]
1995 and older vehicle failure flyer [PDF]