Car Inspection in Georgia

SUMMARY: Georgia Vehicle Emissions inspections

The Georgia Clean Air Force (GCAF) manages the Georgia Vehicle Emissions Inspection & Maintenance (I/M) Program, which consists of several emissions testing processes. You must complete your inspection in order to renew your registration, while new state residents have 30 days after moving to have their vehicles inspected.

Continue reading for more on emissions testing in Georgia, including information about fees, testing locations, and how to handle failed emissions tests.

New Georgia Residents

Georgia emissions tests are required of all vehicles new to any of the 13 counties that require an emissions test. This requirement includes residents new to the state who have moved to a qualifying county. Proof of emissions testing from your former state doesn't apply.

You must have your vehicle inspected and registered within 30 days of moving to the qualifying county.

Smog Check Requirements

The following 13 counties require emissions testing on vehicles registered in:

  • Cherokee.
  • Clayton.
  • Cobb.
  • Coweta.
  • DeKalb.
  • Douglas.
  • Fayette.
  • Forsyth.
  • Fulton.
  • Gwinnett.
  • Henry.
  • Paulding.
  • Rockdale.

You must have your vehicle tested annually, before your registration renewal. It's wise to have your vehicle tested several weeks prior to renewal to leave time for any necessary repairs. Emissions tests are valid for 12 months.

Typically, your vehicle must be smog checked if it is:

  • A gasoline-powered vehicle with a 2000 model year and newer.
  • A light-duty truck at least 8,500 lbs. or heavier.

Your vehicle doesn't require emissions testing if it is 3 model years old or newer (see “Inspection Exemptions & Extensions" below). 

Emissions Test Exemptions

The following vehicles are exempt from emissions testing in Georgia:

  • Vehicles 3 model years old or newer.
  • Alternative fuel vehicles (see below).
  • Vehicles that are 25 model years old or older.
  • Motorcycles.
  • Recreational vehicles (RVs).
  • Motor homes.
  • Newly purchased used vehicles with a valid Georgia Vehicle Emission Inspection Report (VIR).
  • Vehicles that qualify for senior exemptions.
    • These exemptions apply to seniors 65 years old and older who meet each of the senior exemptions requirements. Please refer to the state's Senior Exemptions webpage for more information, including how to apply for a senior exemption.

Out-of-Area Extension

Additionally, some vehicles qualify for out-of-area extensions. Generally, these extensions apply to vehicle owners who are outside of the testing area for school, business, or military purposes.

Please refer to the state's Out-of-Area Extensions list for specific exemption information related to the reason you're out of the area.

Completing a Vehicle Inspection

Bring your vehicle to the station applicable to its model year:

  • Model years 2000 to 2021 go to stations marked “All Vehicles Welcome."
  • Model years 2000 to newer go to stations marked “All Vehicles Welcome" OR “1996 or Newer Vehicles Welcome."

The GCAF provides a list of emissions testing locations by ZIP code. You don't have to have your vehicle inspected in the same county in which it is registered.

Each station sets its own emissions testing fee; however, fees do not exceed $25.

Once your vehicle passes, you'll receive a Georgia Vehicle Emission Inspection Report (VIR). The VIR is also entered electronically into the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) system.

NOTE: The state provides a helpful document on How to Prepare for Your Test.

Failed Vehicle Inspections

If your vehicle fails the emissions inspection, you must have it repaired and retested. The GCAF provides the RepairWatch Public Report to help you find qualified repair stations.

You are allotted 1 retest for free if you return to the same inspection station within 30 days of the first test; if your vehicle fails again, you must pay for another retest.

Georgia Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving

Certain eco-friendly vehicles are exempt from smog and emissions testing. These vehicles include alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) that run solely on alternative fuel*, such as:

  • Battery electricity.
  • Propane.
  • Natural gas.
  • Hydrogen.

*AFVs do not include hybrid vehicles. Hybrid vehicles must undergo smog and emissions checks.

For more specific information about exempt vehicles and other eco-friendly driving perks such as possible auto insurance discounts, visit our section on green driver incentives.

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