Car Inspection in TennesseePage Overview
Tennessee Vehicle Inspection Program
Tennessee has a vehicles emissions testing program to improve air quality in the state. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about testing in Tennessee.
The main thing you need to know, is that emissions testing improves air quality, cuts back on ground-level ozone pollution, and lets you know of any repairs that your vehicle may need.
Plus, you are also saving yourself some money. Your vehicle's engine will burn fuel more efficiently if maintained, and making the most of fuel will help you save money on skyrocketing gas prices.
If you live in one of the designated emissions testing areas, you'll need to have your vehicle tested before you register it and before you renew your registration.
Any vehicle capable of running on gas (including hybrids), as well as diesel-fueled vehicles weighing up to 10,500 lbs with a model year of 1975 or newer, that will be registered in the following counties must undergo emissions and smog tests:
Each county has at least one testing station, and the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) provides an online list of all stations available in your county.
The state advises drivers to come early in the month on Thursday or Friday afternoon, or on a Saturday.
The test fee is $9, and can only be paid in cash with bills no larger than $20.
Your emissions test results are valid for up to 90 days. Be sure not to get your vehicle tested too soon or you may be required to have it tested again.
NOTE: If your vehicle is new and has never been titled, an emissions test isn't required to apply for a new title. Instead, take the manufacturer's certificate of origin (MCO) to your local Tennessee county clerk's office. Emissions tests will be required every year after that , if applicable.
For more information about the perks of driving green vehicles (such as avoiding smog tests), visit our section on green driver incentives.
The estimated waiting time to begin your emissions testing is about 5 minutes.
During the test, your catalytic converter and fuel gas cap will be checked. Certain vehicles will also undergo onboard diagnostic testing, which also checks for gas cap leaks and whether or not the vehicle's malfunction indicator light is working. The vehicle's computer system will be checked, too.
Exemptions to Emissions Testing in Tennessee
The following vehicles are exempt from emissions testing in Tennessee:
- Vehicles that are temporarily out of state or out of the testing area during the registration renewal period. (Instructions and applications for temporary exemptions are available online on the Tennessee DEC website.)
- Electric vehicles.
Failing the Emissions Test
If your vehicle fails its emissions test, there is some good news―you'll be set up with free diagnostic help by an ASE certified mechanic who can help determine why your vehicle won't pass and what needs to be done to repair the problem.
Keeping Tennessee's air clean is important. If you suspect a gross polluter, contact the Division of Air Pollution Control at (615) 532-0554.Local Smog Check Stations
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Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Car Inspection