NYS Vehicle Safety/Emissions Inspection Program For Cars and Light TrucksNew York State
Vehicle Safety/Emissions
Inspection Program

For Cars and Light Trucks

The New York State vehicle safety inspection program helps make sure every vehicle registered in this state meets the minimum standards for safe operation on public streets and highways. In addition, most vehicles are subject to an emissions inspection to help reduce air pollution.

A properly maintained vehicle is safer, performs better, uses fuel more efficiently and saves the owner money. You can help by doing your own equipment safety checks between annual inspections, and by following a program of regular vehicle maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer.

This publication highlights the safety and emissions inspection requirements for cars and light trucks. Other motor vehicles, including motorcycles and trailers, must meet different requirements for annual inspection.


engineMotor vehicles are required, by law, to be in safe operating condition whenever they are driven on a public street or roadway in New York State.

Each vehicle registered in New York State must be inspected at least every 12 months. The inspection must be done before the expiration date of the current inspection sticker, and whenever the vehicle becomes registered in a different name.

When a vehicle inspection is requested, an inspection station must inspect any vehicle it is licensed to inspect or must provide, in writing, an appointment date that is within eight working days. If an appointment is made, the station may require a deposit that cannot exceed the inspection fee.

The inspection must be done in a licensed inspection station displaying an official sign, and must be performed by a certified motor vehicle inspector.

If your vehicle fails the safety and/or emissions inspection, the inspection station must have your permission before beginning any repairs.

You are not required to have your vehicle repaired or re-inspected at the station that performed the initial inspection. Your vehicle may be taken to any registered repair shop, or you may make the required repairs yourself. Your vehicle must then pass a new inspection, at an inspection station of your choice, before an inspection sticker will be issued.

It is a misdemeanor for an inspector to knowingly issue, or a motorist to knowingly accept, an inspection sticker unless a full and proper inspection has been performed.


Seat Belts

Inspect for proper operation and anchorage.

Your vehicle's Air Bag Warning Lamp will be checked for proper operation. You will be informed if the vehicle's air bag warning lamp is on or is not working. This is an advisement only and not cause for rejection.


At least one front wheel must be removed to inspect the brakes.

Steering, Front End, Suspension, Chassis, Frame and Wheel Fasteners

wheelFront end assembly - check condition


(Except spare)


All lighting must be of an approved type and inspected for operation, proper mounting, and broken or missing lenses. Side marker lamps, parking lamps, and additional flashing turning lamps mounted on the side of the vehicle are not inspected.

Windshield and Other Glass

No crack of 11 inches long or longer is allowed if any part of the crack is within the area cleared by the windshield wiper.

Windshield Wipers and Blades

(Not including rear window or headlamp wipers)


Check mounting and operation


Check mirror locations for proper mounting, cracks, breaks, and/or discoloration.

Note:  Any vehicle that has a permanent obstruction of the view through the rear window (Example: a truck or van) must have both a left and a right outside mirror.

Fuel Leaks

Any fuel leak that causes dripping or pooling is not acceptable.

The Emissions Inspection - Drive New York Clean

The 1990 Federal Clean Air Act requires New York State to conduct an inspection program to help reduce harmful emissions from most gasoline-powered passenger cars and light-duty trucks. The emissions inspection is done at the same time as the annual safety inspection. Vehicles that fail the emissions inspection may not be able to become registered or, if already registered, the registration may not be renewed.

Registration Based Enforcement (RBE)

Inspection records are transmitted electronically to DMV from the inspection stations. Vehicles subject to emissions inspection must have a valid inspection record on file with DMV before a registration may be renewed. Registration renewal invitations mailed to motorists contain a warning message if there is no record of a valid inspection on file for the vehicle when the invitation is issued. If the vehicle has passed inspection but DMV does not have the record, the motorist may bring the inspection receipt issued by the inspection station as proof of passing the inspection, if renewing in a DMV office; if renewing by mail, a copy of this receipt may be included as proof of inspection.

Drive NY CleanSome vehicles are exempt from the emissions inspection program. Your passenger car or light truck does not have to be inspected for emissions if it is:

Most vehicles with diesel engines are also exempt. However, diesel-powered vehicles that are registered at more than 8,500 lbs. and are registered in the New York Metropolitan Area (NYMA) counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester, or one of the five counties within New York City, are subject to annual emissions inspection. All diesel-powered vehicles over 8,500 lbs. maximum gross weight (MGW) operated in New York State, even if registered elsewhere, are subject to roadside inspections. These safety and equipment inspections are conducted randomly statewide by the New York State Police and the New York State Department of Transportation.

scanning the barcodeOn-Board Diagnostics - Version II (OBDII) Inspection. The emissions inspection for vehicles registered anywhere in New York State includes an "OBDII" (on-board diagnostics) test for vehicles that weigh 8,500 lbs. or less, and are model year 1996 or newer. Part of this test examines the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), also known as the "check engine" light, for operation/illumination, and verifies the test results of the vehicle's "on-board emissions diagnostic" system.

Low Enhanced Inspection. A "Low Enhanced" emissions inspection is required for most other vehicles, unless they are subject to the OBDII test or are exempt from all emissions inspections. This inspection is required for all vehicles from and including model year 1995 and older, through and including vehicles that are up to 25 model years old, and that weigh 18,000 lbs. or less.

inspection analyzerWhat the Emissions Inspection Includes

Each emissions inspection confirms the presence and connection of the vehicle's required emissions control devices. This includes making sure that the vehicle's gas cap is present, is in good condition, and fits properly.

The emissions control devices are examined if the vehicle was originally manufactured with them. The vehicle model years affected are indicated below.

You can help your vehicle pass an emissions inspection by keeping it properly maintained. If the vehicle's Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL, or "check engine" light) indicates there may be a malfunction or other problem, have the vehicle properly repaired. A well maintained, properly functioning vehicle uses less fuel and creates less exhaust emissions.

Consumer Help

If you are not satisfied with the quality of a vehicle inspection or repair, or the service provided by a motor vehicle dealer, first discuss it with the management of the business. Many misunderstandings can be resolved through calm, honest discussion.

Keep a written record of all contacts with the management, and details about the inspection, repair, or sale. The copies of work orders and invoices are proof of your attempts to resolve the problem. If your complaint remains unresolved, please contact:

Consumer Services Section
Division of Vehicle Safety Services
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 2700-ESP, Albany, NY 12220-0700
Phone: 1-518-474-8943 (between 8:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., Monday - Friday)

You may also submit a completed "Vehicle Safety Complaint Form" (form VS-35) to the DMV Consumer Services Section, above. This complaint form, and copies of the "Motor Vehicle Inspection Regulations" (CR-79) and "Motor Vehicle Repair Shop Regulations" (CR-82), are available from the DMV Consumer Services Section.

Forms, addresses of certified inspection stations in your area, and "Frequently Asked Questions," also are available from the DMV web site.

Note:  Your complaint against a vehicle repair shop must be filed within 90 days or 3,000 miles of the repair, whichever comes first. If your complaint is within the jurisdiction of another agency, and not DMV, you will be referred to the proper agency for assistance.


DMV Logo


Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Barbara J. Fiala, Commissioner

For additional information, see Inspection Requirements

C-50 (2/11) Edited for the internet 1/14

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