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  • Smog Check and Car Inspection in Rhode Island

    Rhode Island Emissions Testing & Safety Inspections

    Rather than wait for federal action, Rhode Island has decided to combat its thickening ground ozone problem by making emission checks mandatory for most vehicles and light trucks under 8,500 lbs.

    On this page you'll find a general overview of the Rhode Island emissions and safety inspection program.

    Rhode Island Emissions & Safety Inspections

    Emission checks must done every 2 years at any state-certified inspection station. To save you time, tests are jointly conducted during your vehicle's biannual safety inspection. When arriving, be sure to have your car's registration.

    Emissions and safety inspections cost $55.

    The following vehicles are required to pass both inspections biannually:

    • All vehicles weighing 8,500 lbs. or less.
    • New vehicles within 2 years of purchase or before they reach 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.
    • Used vehicles being newly registered within 5 days of the registration date.
    • Diesel vehicles weighing 8,500 lbs. or less.

    Exemptions

    The following vehicles are exempt from the emissions test only:

    • Electric vehicles.
    • Vehicles that are 25 years old or older. (Both tests will be administered, but the vehicle will not fail if it does not meet emissions standards.)
    • Vehicles insured as classic cars.
    • Vehicles that are temporarily out of state (See "Rhode Island Extensions for Vehicles Out of State" below).

    NOTE: Your vehicle is exempt from completing both the safety and emissions tests if it is registered as an antique.

    If Your Car Passes

    If your car meets the state's emission standards, you will receive an inspection report and a validation sticker that must be displayed on your vehicle's windshield. Failure to do so is an invitation to getting pulled over by the police.

    If Your Car Fails

    Failing your emissions check means your vehicle is releasing an inordinate amount of pollution. The examining technician will supply you with a detailed inspection report indicating what needs to be fixed on your vehicle.

    In addition, you will receive a Repair Data Form that needs to be completed and signed by the mechanic who repairs your vehicle. You then must present this Repair Data Form when you return for another emissions check.

    You'll be able to get a free re-inspection if you return to the same testing facility within 30 days of your first test.

    If your vehicle fails the re-inspection, you will need to file a waiver through the RI Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A diagnostic waiver stipulates that your vehicle couldn't be repaired because the necessary parts are no longer available.

    If you disagree with your vehicle's failing grade, you may request a challenge inspection.

    RI Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving

    Electric vehicles (EV) are exempt from the emissions portion of the biennial inspection; however, you still must bring your EV in for safety inspections in order to maintain valid vehicle registration.

    NOTE: If you own an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 lbs or fewer (including hybrids that can operate on gasoline), you must bring it in for the biennial safety and emissions inspection.

    For more information about eco-friendly driving perks, visit our section on green driver incentives.

    Extensions for Vehicles Out of State

    If you and your vehicle are out of the state for an extended period when your inspection sticker expires, it might be possible to get an inspection in another state. Check with an inspection station in that state to determine its testing procedures, and then contact the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Safety and Emissions office at (401) 462-5890.

    If the inspections are similar, you may have your vehicle inspected in the other state and then have it inspected in Rhode Island when you return.

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