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  • Car Inspection in Connecticut

    The state of Connecticut requires that certain cars pass state emissions inspection every 2 years. 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.

    Vehicles That Must Be Tested

    All Connecticut-registered vehicles must be tested EXCEPT:

    • Vehicles with model years 2012 and newer.
    • Vehicles with model year of 1989 or older.
    • Full electric vehicles. (See "Connecticut Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving" below.)
    • Vehicles weighing 10,001 lbs of more.
    • Farm vehicles.
    • Motorcycles.

    Connecticut Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving

    As mentioned above, fully electric vehicles are exempt from smog and emissions testing.

    To be clear, this means vehicles that run solely on electricity. Hybrids that partially run on electricity are not included.

    For more information about eco-friendly driving perks, such as auto insurance discounts and tax incentives, visit our page on green driver incentives.

    When to Get Tested

    Any owner of a vehicle that needs to get tested should receive a notice in the mail. 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.

    Where to Get Tested

    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.

    Cost of Testing

    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 Get Inspected

    If you don't submit your eligible motor vehicle for inspection, you will have to pay a $20 late fee to 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, the DMV will refuse to allow you to register any vehicle until the fine is paid.

    Parameters of the Inspection

    The emissions inspection includes the following tests:

    • Gas cap leakage
    • An onboard diagnostics exam.
    • Accelerated Simulation Mode.
    • Special tests for diesel-powered vehicles

    If Your Vehicle Fails

    If your vehicle fails the emissions inspection, you can do any of the following:

    • Have your car retested within 60 days of initial test.
    • 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 $855 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.

    Other Waiver Options

    Economic Hardship

    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

    Functional Diagnosis

    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.

    Inspection Extensions

    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

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