Car Inspection in Tennessee
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.
What's the point of an emissions test?
There are a few, actually. Emissions testing improves air quality, cuts back on ground-level ozone pollution, and lets the owner know of any repairs that the 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.
Does everyone have to have an emissions test?
No. Electric vehicles do not have to undergo emissions tests.
However, any vehicle capable of running on gas (including hybrids), as well as diesel-fueled vehicles weighing up to 10,500 lbs, that will be registered in the following counties must undergo emissions and smog tests:
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 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.
Are there any other testing exemptions besides vehicles not registered in those counties?
Yes. Motorcycles are exempt, as are vehicles currently out of state or out of the testing area. Instructions and applications for temporary exemptions are available online.
When do I have to test?
You'll need to have your vehicle tested before you register it and before you renew your registration. The state advises drivers to come early in the month on Thursday or Friday afternoon, or on a Saturday.
Where do I test?
Each county has at least one testing station, and Tennessee provides an online list of all stations available in your county.
How much does emissions testing cost?
The test fee is$9, and can only be paid in cash with bills no larger than$20.
What happens during an emissions test?
Your catalytic converter and fuel gas cap will be checked. Estimated testing time is five minutes.
What happens if my vehicle fails the emissions test?
Well, 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.
What is the onboard diagnostic testing?
Onboard diagnostic testing only applies to certain vehicles.
The test checks for gas cap leaks, as well as whether the vehicle's malfunction indicator light is working. The vehicle's computer system will be checked, too.
How do I report a gross polluter?
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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- RV & Motorhome Registration
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- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
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- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Car Inspection
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