YOUR RESOURCE

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

motorists

See Frequently Asked Questions

 

What if my vehicle does not pass?

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 1995 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:

  • Excessive carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) or hydrocarbon (HC) levels in your exhaust emissions, which can be caused by a variety of vehicle problems.
  • A damaged or missing catalytic converter (if originally equipped, an operating converter is required by law).
  • A leak in the fuel cap, allowing harmful vapors to escape.

 

Ok, my vehicle did not pass. What do I do now?

You will need to have your vehicle repaired. But first it’s important that you:

  • Check for warranty coverage.
  • Have a diagnostic analysis performed on your vehicle – these tests can range from $60-$100.
  • Know where to go for repairs. Information on choosing a repair facility can be found in the RepairWatch Public Report or at any emissions testing location.
  • Know what questions to ask before you select a repair facility. Understand the repair process.

 

Where do I go for repairs?

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:

  • Has your mechanic recently completed a state certified emissions repair or factory training program and/or are they ASE-certified (Automotive Service Excellence) in A6 and A8 and L1 (preferred) categories? Ask to see their certification.
  • Do they have the necessary diagnostic tools to identify the emissions-related problem(s)?
  • Do they have a 5-gas exhaust analyzer (for vehicles 1995 or older) to measure the emissions?
  • Do they have an OBD generic scan tool (for vehicles 1996 and newer) to read and analyze diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs)?
  • Do they have an engine analyzer, to monitor the vehicle’s ignition and overall engine performance?
  • Will they stand behind their work?
  • Will they complete the required Emissions Repair Form for you?

 

What is the repair process?

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.

  • Keep in mind that repairing one problem may reveal additional problems that were previously hidden. Sometimes a series of repairs are needed to pass the re-inspection. (This is less likely to happen if your vehicle is properly maintained.)
  • We recommend you get an estimate for any work before authorizing your mechanic to proceed.
  • Make sure your mechanic completes the Emissions Repair Form that was given to you when your vehicle did not pass. You will need it to have your vehicle re-inspected after the repairs are done. The completed form must include:
    • Date of repair
    • Repair facility phone number
    • Total cost for emissions-related repairs
    • Signature of repair technician
    • Note: Make sure you keep all receipts.

 

When can my vehicle be retested?

You will receive one free retest if you return to the original inspection station within 30 calendar days of your initial inspection.

  • Thirty (30) days includes your date and time of initial inspection.
  • No re-inspection, whether paid or unpaid, will be performed until the vehicle has been repaired and the Emissions Repair Form has been completed.

 

And if my vehicle does not pass again?

Additional repairs and retesting may be required. You may qualify for a Repair Waiver for that registration year if you meet the following requirements:

  • The costs for emissions-related repairs must meet or exceed $872. This amount is adjusted annually to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index.
  • The retested vehicle must show some improvement in all the areas it did not pass in the initial test.
  • The retested vehicle must still pass the areas it passed in the initial test.

 

How do I apply for a Repair Waiver?

Take your vehicle to a Georgia’s Clean Air Force Service Center. Be sure to bring your vehicle and the following documentation with you:

  • The original Georgia Vehicle Emissions Inspection Report showing failure.
  • Original repair receipts for all emissions-related work done.
  • All Georgia Vehicle Emission Inspection Reports.

To qualify for a Repair Waiver:

  • The vehicle did not pass the first inspection and the after-repairs inspection. The initial inspection cannot be more than one year old (12 months) or associated with a previous Repair Waiver. Motorists may make multiple repairs and retest attempts over a period of months. However, the application must be dated within 60 days of any failed test (the failed test cannot be more than one year old or associated with a previous Repair Waiver or registration renewal).
  • The cost for emissions-related repairs must meet or exceed $872.
  • The retested vehicle must show some improvement in all the areas it did not pass in the initial test.
  • The retested vehicle must still pass the areas it passed in the initial test.

For more information, view our waivers information section.

 

What if I think the inspection or the test equipment was faulty?

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 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.

 

How do I keep my vehicle properly maintained for inspection?

There are several ways to prepare for your next emissions test:

  • If your “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light is on, your vehicle will need to be checked by a repair technician immediately.
  • Get your oil changed regularly.
  • Follow the manufacturers recommended maintenance and tune-up schedule.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated.
  • Check belts and hoses for wear.
  • Keep the sealing surfaces of your gas cap clean and in good condition. When necessary, clean them with water and a damp cloth.
  • Replace your gas cap securely after filling up. A loose gas cap allows water and foreign material to collect, causing rust and a poor seal.

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.

 

Why is the emission test so important?

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.

 

What if I replaced my engine?

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.

My 1995 or older model year vehicle failed the emissions inspection; what should I do?

What does Non-Communication mean and how does it affect my emissions inspection?

What does the “Check Engine” light mean and how does it affect my emissions inspection?

What is “Readiness” and how does it affect my emissions inspection?
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.

Repair Effectiveness Program & RepairWatch Public Report

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:

  • Completed 12 or more emissions-related repairs within the designated six month reporting period;
  • First vehicle emissions retest passage rates are 80 percent or better; and
  • Vehicles received all recommended emissions-related repairs.
  • Note: Stations will not be included in this report if they are suspended or revoked at the time of printing.

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.

  • Repair facilities are listed in alphabetical order by city and business name and numerically by zip code.
  • Data for this report reflects the period of April 1, 2015 – September 30, 2015, expiring January 31, 2016.

Vehicle Repair Information

Before having emissions-related repairs performed, it is important to determine the types of repairs a repair facility performs. If your vehicle is older (1992 – 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.

Disclaimer

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]