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  • Smog Check and Car Inspection in Maryland

    SUMMARY: Maryland Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program

    Maryland requires that all vehicles undergo emissions testing every 2 years. Certain extensions and waivers are available for some residents. Some motorists, such as new residents, must also bring their vehicles for safety inspections.

    The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) governs the state's Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) to monitor vehicle emissions output in Maryland. Continue reading for testing requirements, fees, and special extension and waiver information.

    New Maryland Residents

    If you've recently moved to Maryland, your vehicle must undergo both an emissions test AND a safety inspection.

    You'll need to complete your safety inspection BEFORE you can transfer your title and registration. Safety inspections must be conducted at licensed Maryland safety inspection locations, which include most service stations, auto dealers, and specialized service centers. Your inspection certificate is valid for 90 days.

    You have within 60 days of moving to Maryland to register your vehicle. Once you do so, your MVA agent will explain emissions testing procedures. Typically after registration, you'll receive a notice providing instructions on when and how to complete the emissions inspection.

    Check Completing a MD Vehicle Inspection below for more details.

    Inspection Requirements & Exemptions

    Inspection Requirements

    All vehicles* registered in Maryland are subject to emissions testing every 2 years. This coincides with your registration renewal, but you'll receive an emissions test notice approximately 8 weeks before your vehicle's test deadline.

    All used vehicles and new resident vehicles registered in Maryland must undergo initial safety inspections upon titling and registering the vehicles. Learn more at Completing a MD Vehicle Inspection below.

    * NOTE: As of October 1, 2012, hybrid vehicles aren't considered exempt from emissions testing; they must be scheduled for an emissions test when the vehicle becomes 3 years old.

    Inspection Exemptions

    Currently, no vehicles are exempt from emissions testing; however, there are senior and disabled citizen waivers.

    Senior Citizen Waivers

    You can apply for a senior citizen waiver if:

    • You and ALL other vehicle owners are at least 70 years old.
    • You drive fewer than 5,000 miles annually.

    To apply, indicate on the back of your emissions test notice:

    • That you and each owner on the vehicle's title are at least 70 years old.
    • Your vehicle's current mileage.
    • Your signature and the date.

    Mail the completed emissions test notice to the VEIP address listed on the form.

    Disabled Citizen Waivers

    You can apply for a disabled citizen waiver if:

    To apply, indicate on the back of your emissions test notice:

    • That all vehicle owners are disabled.
    • The current mileage of your vehicle.
    • Your signature and the date.

    Mail your notice to the VEIP address listed on your form.

    Completing a MD Vehicle Inspection

    Emissions Tests

    To have your vehicle checked for emissions, choose from among the Maryland vehicle emissions stations and bring:

    • Your MVA emissions test notice.
      • Your registration card can act as a substitute.
    • Identification if you're paying by check*.
    • The $14 fee.
      • $15 penalty fee if you arrive after the due date; additional $15 penalty fee every 28 days thereafter.

    Once your vehicle passes its emissions check, you'll receive a Vehicle Emissions Inspection Certificate and a diagnostics report. Your certificate or MD emissions testing technician will advise you on how to move forward.

    * Maryland emissions testing locations accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express, money orders, personal checks, traveler's checks, and cash.

    Applying for an Extension

    Under certain circumstances (such as being out of state), your vehicle might be eligible for a Maryland emissions test extension.

    To apply visit the VEIP online extension page, or contact VEIP at (410) 768-7000.

    Safety Inspections for Used Vehicles

    Most used vehicles and new resident vehicles must undergo safety inspections before initial titling and registration. These vehicles include:

    • Cars.
    • Trucks.
    • Motorcycles.
    • Tractors.
    • Trailers.
    • Special equipment.
    • Class B “for hire" vehicles.

    Vehicles must be inspected at licensed Maryland safety inspection locations, which include most auto dealers, service stations, and specialized service centers.

    When applicable, the inspection location will require:

    • Proof of the vehicle's value.
    • A lease agreement and proof of your monthly lease payments.
    • Any lien information, including lien release documents.
    • Power of attorney documentation.

    Generally, safety inspections involve testing the vehicle's basic safety components, such as the:

    • Steering wheel.
    • Brakes.
    • Wheels, tires, and rims.
    • Mirrors.
    • Glass.
    • Horn.
    • Lights and signals.

    Safety inspection certificates are valid for 90 days, meaning you must title and register your vehicle before that time period is up.

    NOTE: If your vehicle fails the safety inspection, you must have it repaired and retested.

    Failed Emissions Inspections

    If your vehicle fails its Maryland emissions tests, you must have it repaired and retested. Maryland provides a list of VEIP Certified Emissions Repair Facilities (CERFs), but you may choose your own mechanic or do the repairs yourself. If your vehicle is still under warranty, a dealership might need to make the repairs.

    You get 1 retest for free if you complete the test by the “valid through" date; each test after that costs the original fee.

    Repair Waivers

    You can apply for a repair waiver with the VEIP if you meet EACH of the following requirements:

    • Your vehicle failed the initial emissions test, you made the necessary repairs, and the vehicle failed again.
    • Your repairs cost a minimum of $450 and you can provide receipts or invoices documenting the cost.
    • Any emissions-related repairs were made up to 30 days before the initial inspection and up to 120 days after the last inspection.

    Complete and submit to the testing technician the back of your emissions test notice. If granted, your repair waiver is valid for 2 years from your original test date.

    About the MD Inspection Program

    MD emissions testing consists of a gas cap test, an on-board diagnostics (OBD) test, or an idle tailpipe test.

    Gas Cap Test

    All vehicles are subject to a gas cap test unless the OBD test is used to determine fuel emissions output.

    On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) Test

    OBD tests connect emissions testing equipment to the vehicle's computer system to determine whether the vehicle's emissions components are working properly.

    The following vehicles undergo OBD testing:

    • Passenger cars and light-duty trucks model year 1996 and newer.
    • Heavy-duty trucks that:
      • Are model year 2008 and newer.
        AND
      • Weigh up to 14,000 lbs.

    Idle Tailpipe Test

    The idle tailpipe test checks for emissions output while the vehicle is running at idle (after having driven at highway speeds for at least 20 minutes).

    The following vehicles undergo idle tailpipe testing:

    • Passenger cars and light-duty trucks model year 1977 to 1995.
    • Heavy-duty vehicles:
      • Model year 1977 to 2007 weighing up to 14,000 lbs.
      • Model year 1977 and newer weighing 14,000 to 26,000 lbs.

    Maryland Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving

    Currently, no vehicles are exempt from emissions testing; however, motorists can still benefit from eco-friendly driving.

    Visit our page on green driver incentives to learn more about saving some time—and money—by going green!


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