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 1990 Federal Clean Air Act requires New York State to conduct an inspection program to help reduce harmful emissions from most 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.

scanning the barcodeOn-Board Diagnostics Generation II (OBDII) Inspection. Most 1996 or newer gasoline-powered vehicles and most 1997 or newer diesel-powered vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) less than 8,501 pounds are subject to the OBDII emissions inspection. 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 analyzer

Each emissions inspection for gasoline-powered vehicles 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 following emissions control devices are examined if the vehicle was originally manufactured with them:

You can help your vehicle pass an OBDII 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.

Diesel Emissions Inspection (smoke opacity test)

Most diesel-powered vehicles that have a GVWR greater than 8,500 pounds and are registered in the New York Metropolitan Area (one of the five counties with New York City or the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland or Westchester) are subject to a smoke opacity test.

Registration Based Enforcement (RBE)

You cannot renew a vehicle registration unless the DMV has a computer record that the vehicle passed the required emissions inspection within the last 12 months or you can provide proof of the inspection by providing a copy of the vehicle inspection report.

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:

Complaint Unit
Bureau of Consumer & Facility 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" (VS-35) to the DMV Complaint Unit. The complaint form, and copies of the "Motor Vehicle Inspection Regulations" (CR-79) and "Motor Vehicle Repair Shop Regulations" (CR-82), may be downloaded from the DMV web site at www.dmv.ny.gov.

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 6/14

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