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Smog Check and Car Inspection in Delaware

The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires vehicles registered in the state to undergo regular safety inspections and emissions testing. DE vehicle inspections consist of two parts, which will be done at the same time when you appear:

  • The vehicle safety inspection ensures that your vehicle is not a danger to yourself and other drivers on the road.
  • The vehicle smog check and emissions test ensures that your vehicle's exhaust system works effectively.

DE Inspection Requirements & Exemptions

You must pass a Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) emissions test and safety inspection if:

  • You want to register your car for the first time in the state (must be completed within 60 days of establishing residency.
  • You need to renew your registration (may be completed up to 90 days before your registration expires).
  • You are ordered to submit your vehicle for inspection by law enforcement (must be completed within 5 days or risk having your registration suspended).

DE Inspection Exemptions

You do not have to complete a safety or emissions inspection if the vehicle meets all of the requirements below:

  • Was manufactured within the last 5 model years.
  • Weighs less than 10,000 lbs.
  • Is being titled in Delaware for the first time.

Even if your vehicle meets these requirements, you can be ordered by law enforcement to submit your vehicle for a safety inspection if it's deemed necessary.

If your vehicle meets these requirements, then you will only need to get a vehicle identification number (VIN) verification when you register your car.

The following vehicles must complete a safety inspection, but are not required to undergo an emissions test:

  • Vehicles with a model year of 1968 or older.
  • Diesel fueled vehicles with a model year of 1997 or older. (For more information about the perks of driving alternative fuel vehicles, visit our section on green driving incentives.)
  • Motorcycles.
  • Vehicles manufactured in the last 5 years.

Delaware Vehicle Inspection Locations

To complete your vehicle inspection, you must appear at a Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) testing facility and be ready to present:

  • Your out-of-state title or registration card (if registering for the first time in Delaware).
  • Your current DE registration card (if renewing your registration).
  • Your proof of insurance.
  • Your vehicle's odometer reading.

Vehicle inspection may be done at any of the Delaware DMV's four testing facilities:

New Castle County:

  • New Castle Division of Motor Vehicles
  • 2101 Mid County Drive
  • New Castle, Delaware 19720
  • (302) 326-5000

OR

  • Greater Wilmington Division of Motor Vehicles
  • 2230 Hessler Boulevard
  • New Castle, Delaware 19720
  • (302) 434-3200

Kent County:

  • Dover Division of Motor Vehicles
  • 303 Transportation Circle
  • P.O. Box 698
  • Dover, DE 19903
  • (302) 744-2500

Sussex County:

  • Georgetown Division of Motor Vehicles
  • 23737 DuPont Blvd.
  • Georgetown, Delaware 19947
  • (302) 853-1000

All locations have the same hours of operation:

Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday
12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Out-of-State Vehicle Inspection

If you are not in Delaware at the time of your vehicle inspection deadline, or your vehicle is out of state, you may apply for an Out-of-State Inspection Packet to complete the inspection requirements. You and/or your vehicle must be more than 250 miles from a DE DMV inspection station to be sent a packet.

Out-of-State Vehicles

If your vehicle is more than 250 miles from a DE DMV inspection station, and you will not be able to return it to the state before your registration expires, then you must contact the DMV to request an Out-of-State Inspection Packet.

The Out-of-State Inspection Packet contains completion requirements for both the safety and emissions inspections, including the Application for Out-of-State Inspection of a Delaware Registered Vehicle (Form MV210).

  • Take the packet and your vehicle to a local dealership or mechanic.
  • The person evaluating your vehicle must validate that it meets the requirements outlined in the packet.
  • Make a copy of your current DE driver's license and proof of insurance.
  • Include payment for your registration renewal fees.
  • Include a self-addressed envelope with your current out-of-state address.
  • Send everything to:

    • Division of Motor Vehicles
    • Vehicle Help Desk
    • P.O. Box 698
    • Dover, DE 19903

Absentee Owner

If you are out of state when you need to complete a DE DMV vehicle inspection but your vehicle is in state, a friend or family member may take the vehicle to be inspected for you.

They will need:

  • Your vehicle's current DE vehicle registration card.
  • Proof that your vehicle is insured.

DE Testing Fees

There is no charge for the vehicle inspection or for having your vehicle retested.

You will have to pay a $20 late fee plus your standard renewal fees if you fail to complete your inspection before your vehicle's registration renewal deadline.

DE Vehicle Inspection Failure

If your vehicle fails the safety or emissions testing for any reason, you will need to get repairs done to your vehicle and have it retested. You will receive your inspection sticker once the problems are fixed and the vehicle passes the tests.

Safety Inspection Failure

The Delaware DMV does not provide any waivers for failing the safety inspection. If your vehicle fails the safety test, you will not be able to register it or renew its registration until you fix whatever issues resulted in failure (e.g. new windshield, tires, brake lights, etc.).

The report given to you at the end of the inspection will indicate what you need to have corrected. You will have to reappear at a DMV testing station after fixing the problems.

Emissions Testing Failure

If you fail an emissions test and your registration is about to expire, you may be eligible to apply for a temporary registration tag from the DE DMV while your car is repaired. A temporary tag costs $20.

Common reasons for failing an emissions test are:

  • Dirty air filter.
  • Defective catalytic converter.
  • Defective ignition.
  • Defective spark plug(s) or spark plug wire.
  • Improper ignition timing.
  • Leaky vacuum.

Your vehicle inspection report will list the reasons your vehicle failed, and you will not be allowed to register or renew your vehicle until you make the necessary repairs and successfully pass a retest.

Delaware Temporary Tags

If you need to complete repairs on your vehicle but your registration is about to expire, you may be able to apply for a 30-day temporary tag from the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This will allow you to continue to drive while you get your vehicle repaired and retested.

Temporary tags will not be issued for vehicles classified as smoking excessively or as safety hazards. The decision to issue a temporary tag is entirely up to the DMV.

To apply, you must:

  • Go to your local DE DMV.
  • Present your vehicle inspection report.
  • Present your vehicle registration card or title.
  • Present your driver's license.
  • Pay a $20 fee.

Delaware Emissions Waiver

If you have failed to pass the emissions test, you may be able to get an emissions waiver.

To be eligible, you must meet ALL of the following requirements:

  • Your vehicle has failed the exhaust (tail pipe) emissions test 2 times or more.
  • Your engine parameters meet the specifications set by the manufacturer.
  • The cost of your repairs meets the required amount:
    $75 for vehicle models 1968―1980.
    $873 for vehicle models 1981 and newer in Kent or Newcastle County.
    $200 for vehicle models 1981 and newer in Sussex County.
  • Your vehicle has all emissions control equipment.
  • Visible smoke was not the reason for your vehicle's failure.
  • You are able to provide all repair receipts and your vehicle inspection report.
  • The vehicle did not have a fuel systems failure.
  • There is no safety failure.

DE Vehicle Inspection Retesting

Once you have completed the necessary repairs on your vehicle and you're ready to have it retested―be it for safety, emissions, or both―you must return to a DMV inspection facility and be ready to present:

There is no charge for having to retake the test, and if your vehicle fails the emissions test again, you may be eligible to apply for a waiver.

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