Virginia State Emissions

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has implemented a Virginia State Emissions program whereby motorists are required to take their vehicles in for an emissions inspection in order to renew their vehicle's registration. Below are some key points of information regarding the Virginia emissions inspection program, so that you can ensure that your vehicle is meeting all of the requirements necessary for legal operation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

* It can be difficult at times to keep up with various legislation changes affecting emissions testing requirements, so if you are unsure whether or not your vehicle will require an emissions inspection in order to renew your vehicle's registration in Virginia, you can use the online tools available at [http://www.dmvnow.com/]. Under the "Online Services" tab, select "Vehicle Registration Renewal" and then follow the prompts. You will need to have your vehicle title number as well as the last four digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in order to use the online lookup tool; this information is printed on your current registration card. 

* Vehicles that require an emissions inspection before the DMV can complete the registration process are as follows: (1) Gasoline-powered vehicles (passenger and property-carrying) that are newer than 25 model years old from January 1st of the current calendar year, and with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 10,000 pounds or less, and (2) Diesel-powered vehicles (passenger or property-carrying) that have a model year of 1997 or newer, with a GVW of 8,500 pounds or less. It should be noted that all government vehicles operated in the Northern Virginia area are subject to emissions inspection requirements as well.

* Hybrid vehicles are exempt from the emissions inspection requirement, but only if they have obtained a rating from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifying that the vehicle has a fuel efficiency of at least 50 miles per gallon in city fuel economy tests. To find out which specific hybrid vehicles have been exempted from emissions inspection requirements, visit the Virginia DMV website at [http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/vehicles/#emissions.asp] for an updated list. 

* To apply for a 2-year vehicle registration, you must have your emissions inspection performed no earlier than 90 days before the expiration date of your current vehicle registration. If you choose to get your emissions inspection performed earlier than this 90-day window, you will only be able to qualify for a 1-year vehicle registration.

* The three types of emissions tests performed on gasoline-powered vehicles are (1) Acceleration simulation mode test (2) Two-speed idle test and (3) On-board diagnostic system test. For diesel-powered vehicles (1997 and newer with a GVW of 8,500 pounds or less), an on-board diagnostic computer system test will be performed. 

* Before the emissions inspection can be performed, the inspector is required to conduct what is known as a "Pre-Inspection Safety Check", in which the inspector examines the vehicle ahead of time for safety hazards including fluid leaks, a missing gas cap, visible smoke, mechanical/engine problems, or any other defects or issues that could potentially pose a safety risk during the inspection. If the vehicle does not pass this preliminary safety inspection, it will be rejected from vehicle emissions testing, and the owner of the vehicle must correct the problem areas before they will be able to bring their vehicle back again for emissions testing. 

* Although inspection fees may vary, the maximum fee amount for an emissions inspection is $28. Should your vehicle fail the initial inspection, you are allowed to have one free retest within 14 calendar days of the initial inspection. 

* When you bring your vehicle in for an emissions inspection, make sure to have your DMV-issued Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice on hand, so that the inspector can scan the bar code on the notice to ensure accuracy of data. 

* Once your vehicle passes inspection, the results are automatically sent to the Vehicle Inspection Database, which is then transmitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles within a 24-hour period. Upon passing the emissions inspection, you have a two-year time window in which you can renew your registration without having to get another inspection.

Learn how to read your Virginia State Emission report here and learn more about your VA State Inspection here.

Visit the Department of Motor Vehicle for more information on your Virginia Safety Inspection here.

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