- Location: Connecticut
Smog & Emission Checks in ConnecticutPage Overview
If you have a vehicle registered in Connecticut that is more than four and less than 25 years old, you are required to submit it for a state emissions inspection every other year. It's an extra burden on the vehicle owner, no question. But the idea behind the program is to reduce air pollution from motor vehicles by making sure each vehicle meets state emission standards.
Your Connecticut-registered vehicle must be tested every two years if it is:
- Powered by gas, hybrid electric, natural gas, propane, or diesel fuel
- Weighs less than 10,000 pounds
- Is more than four and less than 25 years old
The following vehicles are exempt from Connecticut's emissions testing requirements:
- Vehicles newer than four years old
- Vehicles older than 25 years old
- Vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds
- Farm vehicles
Any owner of a vehicle that needs to get tested should receive a notice in the mail within 60 days of the testing deadline. You can also find out when your vehicle is due to be tested by going to the Department of Motor Vehicles special emissions program website and typing in your vehicle's VIN number.
You need to take your vehicle to be tested at a licensed Connecticut testing station. There is a list of licensed inspection stations on the special emissions program website. Most inspection stations are at auto dealers and garages across the state. You can make an appointment or drive in without an appointment to any state inspection station.
An emissions inspection costs $20, payable directly to the inspector. Each inspector sets their own rules for accepting cash, checks, or credit cards, so you may want to call ahead. If you miss your due date for inspection, the Connecticut DMV will also issue a $20 fine that will be paid to the DMV.
If you don't submit your eligible motor vehicle for inspection, you will first be fined a $20 late fee by the DMV. If you still do not submit the vehicle for inspection, the DMV will refuse to process a registration renewal until it has been notified the vehicle has passed inspection. If you don't pay the $20 late fee, the DMV will refuse to allow you to register any vehicle until the fine is paid.
The emissions inspection includes the following tests:
- Gas cap leakage
- An onboard diagnostics exam for vehicles 1996 or newer
- An acceleration exam for vehicles 1995 or older
- An idling test for some vehicles
- Special tests for diesel-powered vehicles
If your vehicle fails the emissions inspection, you can do any of the following:
- Request a free retest at the same inspection center within 30 days.
- Attempt to make repairs that will allow the vehicle to pass its next test. You are not required to have the inspection station make the repairs. But if you think you might want to eventually apply for an inspection waiver, the repairs need to be conducted by a certified emissions repair facility.
- To apply for an inspection waiver, you need to show proof that you spent at least $787 to repair your vehicle at a certified emissions repair facility, so keep your receipts. To qualify for a waiver, you will also need to prove the vehicle has twice failed inspection and has a complete emission-control system. To obtain a waiver application form, call (203) 271-5427.
Other Waiver Options
To apply for this waiver you must:
- Provide the DMV with documentation proving that your current income is at or below state and federal level guidelines
- Attest that you have no other assets that could pay for your car's repairs
You may apply for a diagnostic waiver if diagnosis fails to reveal any problems, or there is no proof to suggest emissions repairs are needed. You'll then need the DMV to perform a diagnostic inspection. If the DMV agent determines no repairs are required, you'll be granted a waiver.
If Your Waiver Claim Is Denied
If your waiver claim is denied, tough luck. You will either need to continue to perform repairs on the vehicle until it can pass the emissions inspection process, or decide not to drive it anymore on Connecticut roads.
If you buy a new car, you're exempt from inspections for the first four years. However, if you buy a used car more than four and less than 25 years old, and the car does not have a current inspection sticker, you will need to have the car inspected within 30 days. If you have the VIN number, you can go to the special emissions program website to check the status of the vehicle before you purchase it or contact a private company that can provide vehicle history report.
Important: The seller is not required in Connecticut to make sure the vehicle can pass inspection. It's up to you, the buyer, to check.
Drivers can request a deadline extension for vehicle inspections. The DMV grants the extension for special circumstances:
- Military service out of state
- Owner's serious illness or hospitalization
- Vehicle out of service and in storage
- Vehicle out of state for more than 30 days at time of inspection
Send your written request, including documentation, to the following address:
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Emissions Division Suite 400
- Rowland State Government Center
- 55 West Main St.
- Waterbury, CT 06702-2004
You cannot have a vehicle registered in Connecticut inspected at an out-of-state facility.
If you see a vehicle belching excessive smoke, call the Connecticut Emissions Program Hotline at (888) 828-8399. You also can dial the nonemergency number for the local or state police to make a complaint.Local Smog Check Stations
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks