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  • Smog Check and Car Inspection in New Jersey

    Summary: New Jersey Emissions Inspection Program

    The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) requires most vehicles to undergo an emissions inspection upon vehicle registration and again every 2 years. Although the safety portion of testing has been eliminated in general, some vehicles still require safety inspections. Vehicles that fail must be repaired and retested within the time allotted on their Vehicle Inspection Report. Initially, new residents have different emissions inspection requirements.

    New Residents to New Jersey

    Once you move to New Jersey, you must have your vehicle inspected within 14 days of registration, unless it is listed as exempt.

    Note that you don't have to transfer your registration until either of the following happens first:

    • 60 days have passed since you moved to New Jersey.
      OR
    • Your out-of-state registration expires.

    See Completing a NJ Vehicle Inspection below for more information.

    NJ Inspection Requirements & Exemptions

    Inspection Requirements

    The following vehicles must undergo a New Jersey emissions inspection prior to vehicle registration and then again every 2 years*:

    • Vehicles 5 model years old and older that are:
      • Gasoline-powered, bi-fueled, or diesel-powered.
        AND
      • Plated as:
        • Passenger.
        • Not-for-profit.
        • Governmental.
        • Commuter vans.
    • Diesel-powered vehicles that:
      • Are model year 1997 and newer.
        AND
      • Weigh 8,500 lbs. or fewer.

    * Some vehicles, such as commercial motor vehicles, buses, and taxis, require safety AND emissions inspections annually. Refer to About the NJ Vehicle Inspection Program below for details.

    Inspection Exemptions

    The MVC exempts numerous vehicles from emissions inspections including, but not limited to:

    • Vehicles up to 5 model years old.
      • New vehicles will receive a New Car Dealer Inspection Decal, valid for 5 years.
      • Newly-purchased used vehicles that don't already have a valid inspection sticker will receive a Green Card (Form SS-19) upon registration; bring this to an inspection station for your sticker.
    • Vehicles powered solely by electricity.
    • Motorcycles and motorized bicycles.
    • Historic and collector vehicles.
    • Model year 1996 and older diesel-powered vehicles*.
    • Diesel-powered vehicles weighing 8,501 to 9,999 lbs.*

    * These diesel-powered vehicles must be plated passenger, not-for-profit, governmental, commuter vans, or farmer or farm trucks.

    For more details, visit the state's complete list of emissions test exemptions.

    New Vehicles Purchased Out of State

    When you lease or purchase a brand new vehicle from out of state, you could be eligible for an inspection exemption sticker, i.e. a New Car Dealer Inspection Decal, valid for 5 years.

    You must:

    • Title and register your vehicle with the MVC.
      • You will receive a Green Card (Form SS-19) to place in your windshield, valid for 14 days.
    • Bring your vehicle to a State-Operated Inspection Location to apply for the decal.

    Other requirements are listed on NJ's guide to out-of-state leasing and purchasing.

    Completing a Vehicle Inspection

    NJ Emissions Inspections

    Visit a New Jersey inspection station and bring your:

    • Driver's license.
    • Vehicle registration.
    • Proof of insurance issued in New Jersey.
    • Payment for any applicable fees.

    Have your vehicle inspected at a:

    • State-Operated Inspection Location.
      • Inspections are free.
    • Private Inspection Facility (PIF).
      • PIFs set their own fees.
    • Diesel Private Inspection Facility (Diesel PIF).
      • Diesel PIFs set their own fees.

    The state provides an inspection location tool to find your closest facility. You can also make an appointment online with an eligible New Jersey motor vehicle inspection station.

    Once your vehicle passes its emissions inspection, the NJ MVC inspection station will provide the following:

    • Vehicle Inspection Report, detailing the inspection results.
    • Inspection sticker, to be affixed to your windshield.
      • This sticker notifies you of when your next inspection is due. View an example at the state's FAQ page.

    Safety Inspections

    For vehicles that require safety inspections (commercial vehicles, buses, taxis, etc.) must undergo safety and emissions inspections annually. See About the NJ Vehicle Inspection Program for details.

    You can have your safety inspection completed at any of the same CIF or Private Inspection Facilities as your emissions check.

    Out-of-State Extensions

    Your vehicle is not subject to an emissions inspection until it returns to New Jersey; however, before you return to New Jersey, you must request a Form SS-33. This form notifies law enforcement you've been out of state should you be pulled over for an expired inspection sticker.

    Contact the MVC at (609) 633-9474 or (609) 633-9460 to request an out-of-state extension.

    Failed Vehicle Inspections

    You must have your vehicle repaired and retested within the time allotted on the Vehicle Inspection Report.

    In addition to the Vehicle Inspection Report, your inspector will give you an Emission Repair Form. This document also details your vehicle's problems and helps the repair technician make the necessary repairs.

    The MVC allows you to have your vehicle repaired at a state-approved Emission Repair Facility (ERF) or to make the repairs yourself.

    About the NJ Vehicle Inspection Program

    Emissions Inspections

    New Jersey uses the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) Test during the emissions inspection. OBD tests connect your vehicle to a computer system that checks for engine-related problems that could increase harmful emissions into the air. Your emissions inspection results are based on these findings.

    Safety Inspections

    If your vehicle is one that requires a safety inspection, the technician will check for mechanical defects that could impair your car's safety, such as its:

    • Brakes.
    • Horn.
    • Headlights and taillights.
    • Windshield wipers.
    • Airbags.

    New Jersey Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving

    Vehicles powered solely by electricity are exempt from emissions inspections.

    New Jersey offers additional green driving benefits, too. For more information about eco-friendly driving perks such as the Green Pass Discount, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane exemptions, and even tax exemptions, visit our page on green driver incentives.

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