Smog Check and Car Inspection in Rhode Island

SUMMARY: Rhode Island Vehicle Inspections

The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires most vehicles to undergo safety and emissions tests within 5 days of registration and again every 2 years. Repairs and re-inspections are required for failing vehicles, though waivers are available for vehicles that fail the emissions portion. Similar requirements apply to new residents.

Continue reading for information on required safety and emissions testing, how to complete a test and handle a failure, and what to do if you need to apply for an emissions waiver.

New Rhode Island Residents

You must register your vehicle within 30 days of moving to Rhode Island and, if applicable, your vehicle must undergo a safety and emissions test within 5 days of registration.

Keep reading for information on inspection requirements and how to complete inspections when applicable.

Inspection Requirements & Exemptions

Inspection Requirements

Safety AND emissions inspections are required every 2 years for:

  • All gasoline-powered passenger vehicles.
    • Vehicles 25 model years old and older will not receive failing status if they don't pass the emissions portion of the test.
  • Light-duty vehicles 8,500 lbs. and under.

Newly- registered vehicles must inspection within 5 days of registration.

Other vehicle types require only one kind of test or have different inspection time frames; these vehicles include:

  • Heavy-duty vehicles and trucks.
  • Trailers and semi-trailers.
  • Livestock trailers.
  • Motorcycles.
  • Vehicles purchased from licensed dealers.

Visit the DMV's Inspection Requirements page for details about these vehicle types.

Vehicles insured as Classic Vehicles may undergo alternative forms of inspection. Contact the DMV at (401) 462-5890 for details.

Inspection Exemptions

The following vehicles are exempt from safety and/or emissions testing:

  • New vehicles:
    • Exempt for 2 years from the purchase date OR until the vehicle reaches 24,000 miles (whichever happens first).
  • Vehicles registered exclusively with Antique Plates.
  • Electric vehicles:
    • Exempt from emissions testing BUT NOT safety testing.

Completing a RI Vehicle Inspection

Bring your vehicle to any Rhode Island Emissions and Safety Testing certified inspection station UNLESS you operate a light-duty diesel vehicle weighing 8,500 lbs. or fewer. Light-duty diesel vehicles must be inspected at select inspection stations throughout the state.

A safety and emissions inspection costs $55; call ahead for information on required paperwork such as registration and insurance documentation or driver's license requirements.

Once your vehicle passes the safety and emissions inspection, you'll receive an inspection sticker valid until it's time for a new inspection; again, these time frames can vary by vehicle type.

Failed RI Vehicle Inspections

Regardless of which portion of the test your vehicle fails, you must have your vehicle repaired and retested. You can have your vehicle repaired at the facility of your choosing, though Rhode Island does provide a list of Certified Inspection Repair Technicians (CIRTs) from which to choose.

After having your vehicle repaired, you can have it retested for free if you bring it within 30 days to the same inspection facility that performed the initial inspection; if you bring it to another location, you'll have to pay the $55 inspection fee.

Emissions Waivers

If you've made the necessary repairs and your vehicle still fails, you might be eligible for one of the following emissions test waivers:

Learn more about these waiver requirements at the failed inspection information page.

About RI Safety & Emissions Testing

Safety Inspections

Safety inspections check general safety components of vehicles including, but not limited to:

  • Braking systems.
  • Head, tail, and brake lights.
  • Steering components.
  • Wheels, tires, and rims.
  • All glass and mirrors.
  • Horns.
  • Seatbelts.

The DMV provides a full list of safety inspection components and processes.

Emissions Inspections

Emissions inspection procedures vary by vehicle type.

Tests include:

  • On-Board Diagnostic (OBD or OBD II): Uses your vehicle's onboard computer system to check emissions components.
  • Dynamometer: Measures exhaust contaminants during simulated driving conditions.
  • Two-Speed Idle: Measures exhaust contaminants while running the vehicle at two engine speeds.
  • Loaded Opacity: Also uses a dynamometer; reserved for diesel vehicles not equipped for OBD or OBD II testing.

Get full details on each type of test at the emissions inspection process page.

Rhode Island Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving

As mentioned above, electric vehicles are exempt from the emissions portion of safety and emissions inspections.

For more information about eco-friendly driving perks, such as state and federal tax incentives and possible auto insurance discounts, visit our section on green driving incentives.

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