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Car Inspection in Tennessee

SUMMARY: Tennessee Vehicle Emissions Checks

Tennessee requires most vehicles in certain counties undergo emissions inspections prior to vehicle registration and registration renewal, including those of new residents. Emissions inspections cost $9 and multiple stations are located throughout the counties. Inspection exemptions are available for temporarily out-of-area or out-of-state vehicles.

Keep reading for information about which vehicles require emissions testing, how and where to complete an inspection, applying for inspection exemptions, and more.

New Tennessee Residents

If you've moved to a TN county that requires emissions inspections, you'll need to have it tested before you register it. An emissions certificate is required for vehicle registration.

Required counties and completion instructions are found below.

Inspection Requirements and Exemptions

Inspection Requirements

The following counties require emissions checks on qualifying vehicles:

  • Hamilton.
  • Davidson.
  • Rutherford.
  • Sumner.
  • Williamson.
  • Wilson.

Your vehicle qualifies for inspection within those counties if it is:

  • Model year 1975 and newer.
  • Powered by gasoline or diesel.
    AND
  • Weighs 10,500 lbs. or under.

Emissions tests are valid for 90 days.

Inspection Exemptions

The following vehicles are exempt from emissions inspections:

  • Motorcycles.
  • Vehicles powered solely by electricity.
    • Hybrids must typically be inspected, as they can run on gasoline. Check with your inspection station to confirm.

Completing a TN Vehicle Inspection

To complete your emissions check in your qualifying Tennessee county, visit your local emissions testing station. You'll likely need to bring one of the following:

  • Title or bill or sale.
  • Vehicle registration documents.
  • Any vehicle inspection packet(s) you received in the mail.

Also bring payment for the $9 fee. No bills or checks for more than $20 are accepted.

Once your vehicle passes, you'll receive an Emission Inspection Compliance Certificate. Present this document when you register your vehicle or renew its registration.

Failed Inspections & Exemptions

If your vehicle fails the emissions test, you must have it repaired and retested.

An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified technician will provide free diagnostic information to help you have your vehicle properly repaired.

Apply for a Vehicle Exemption

You can apply for an exemption if your vehicle is out-of-state or the out of the testing area when it's time to have your registration renewed.

To apply for an exemption, complete the Application for Vehicle Exemption (Form CN-1026) and submit it to Division of Air Pollution address listed on the form.

You must have your vehicle inspected once you return; failure to do so could lead to future exemption denials.

About the TN Vehicle Inspection Program

Most vehicles* model year 1996 and newer will undergo a catalytic converter test (if it was manufactured with one) and a gas cap check before the main on-board diagnostic (OBD) test.

OBD testing consists of:

  • Connecting a scan tool to the vehicle's on-board computer system, which searches for the system's status.
  • Checking the MIL light status with the key on but ignition off.

Learn more about testing at the state's On-Board Diagnostic Testing Program guide.

* Some vehicles older than model year 1996 might undergo traditional tampering and tailpipe testing instead of the gas cap leak check. Your technician will information you about which test your vehicle requires.

Tennessee Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving

As mentioned above, Tennessee doesn't require emissions testing for vehicles powered only by electricity.

There are other perks for green driving, too. For example, you might be eligible for:

  • A high occupancy vehicle (HOVE) lane anytime pass if you drive a hybrid vehicle.
  • Federal tax credits for operating an alternative-fuel vehicle (AFV).
  • Car insurance discounts for other fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

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

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