Car Inspection in WashingtonPage OverviewWashington's Department of Ecology reports that cars and other vehicles are the state's worst source of air pollution. Therefore, Washington tests vehicle emission control systems in some counties to ensure registered cars and trucks are running properly and are not polluting unnecessarily. Before you can register a vehicle in these counties, the auto will need to pass an emissions inspection.
Hybrid vehicles that get 50 mpg or better in the city are exempt from emissions testing. But emissions testing is required for some other gasoline and diesel vehicles registered in the following Washington counties:
Your car will need to be retested every 2 years. If it's your turn, your registration renewal notice will indicate that you need an emissions inspection in order to renew.
In addition to registration, Washington vehicles also need to be tested for emissions when either of the following happens:
- Title transfer and change of ownership of the vehicle, unless the transfer is within the immediate family or among co-owners listed on the title.
- You bring a vehicle from another state to one of the Washington emissions-requirement counties listed above.
As mentioned above, some hybrids and other vehicles are exempt from emissions testing. Below is a complete list with further details.
Each of the following vehicles is exempt from emissions testing:
- Electric vehicles.
- Hybrid vehicles that have a city driving miles-per-gallon rating of 50 mpg or more (as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)).
- Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
- Propane-powered vehicles.
- Diesel vehicles older than 2007 (weighing 6,000 lbs or fewer).
- Diesel vehicles model-year 2007 and newer (no weight limit).
Washington's Department of Ecology administers the state's Emission Check Program. The department can help you find out whether you need an emissions test and where to go to get one. The fee is $15, which you can pay by cash, personal check, or credit card.
If Washington motorists are out of the state at the time an emissions test is required, they may submit an Application for Out-of-Area Temporary Exemption from Emission Testing (Form ECY 020-09).
Emissions tests from other states are not valid in Washington. Drivers who do get an exemption from smog check requirements must have their vehicles tested upon returning the vehicle to the state.
If your vehicle fails its emissions inspection, you will be required to have the vehicle repaired to bring it into compliance. However, there's a limit to how much money you have to spend on this. If you've spent more than $150 on repairs and you car still fails a retest, you might be eligible for a repair waiver.
Repair Waiver Qualifications
Your car can qualify for a waiver if:
- You spent $150 or more on emission-related repairs done by an authorized emission specialist.
- You can provide the test station manager with the repair receipts signed by an authorized emission specialist.
- It's proven that none of your vehicle's emission-related equipment has been altered.
- Your vehicle flunks a second emission test after repairs.
The waiver allows you to still register your vehicle for the upcoming year.Other Topics in This Section