Smog Check and Car Inspection in Maryland

SUMMARY: Maryland Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program

Maryland requires that most vehicles registered in specific counties undergo emissions testing every 2 years. Certain extensions and waivers are available for some residents. Some motorists, such as new residents, must also bring their vehicles for safety inspections.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) governs the state's Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) to monitor vehicle emissions output in Maryland. Continue reading for testing requirements, fees, and special extension and waiver information.

VEIP-Required Counties

Vehicles registered in certain Maryland counties must adhere to the VEIP inspection requirements. Those counties are:

  • Anne Arundel County
  • Baltimore County (and Baltimore City)
  • Calvert County
  • Carroll County
  • Cecil County
  • Charles County
  • Frederick County
  • Harford County
  • Howard County
  • Montgomery County
  • Prince George's County
  • Queen Anne's County
  • Washington County

Certain vehicles within these counties may be exempt from emissions testing. See Exemptions from Inspection below for a list.

New Maryland Residents

If you've recently moved to Maryland, your vehicle must a safety inspection. If it's registered in one of the above applicable counties, it may also require an emissions test.

You'll need to complete your safety inspection BEFORE you can transfer your title and registration. Safety inspections must be conducted at licensed Maryland safety inspection locations, which include most service stations, auto dealers, and specialized service centers. Your inspection certificate is valid for 90 days.

You have within 60 days of moving to Maryland to register your vehicle. Once you do so, your MVA agent will explain emissions testing procedures. Typically after registration, you'll receive a notice providing instructions on when and how to complete the emissions inspection.

Check Completing a MD Vehicle Inspection below for more details.

MD Vehicle Inspection Requirements

Most vehicles registered in applicable Maryland counties are subject to emissions testing every 2 years. See Exemptions below for a list of cars that don't require testing. This coincides with your registration renewal, but you'll receive an emissions test notice before your vehicle's test deadline.

Brand new vehicles and hybrid vehicles do NOT need to get their first emissions inspection until 3 years after their initial registration.

All used vehicles and new resident vehicles registered in Maryland must undergo initial safety inspections upon titling and registering the vehicles. Learn more at Completing a MD Vehicle Inspection below.

Exemptions from Inspection

Vehicles exempt from emissions testing in Maryland are:

  • Motorcycles.
  • Diesel- and electric-powered vehicles.
  • Deployed active-duty military members.
  • Vehicles model year 1996 or older that weigh under 8,500 lbs. gross vehicle weight.
  • Those that are heavier than 26,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight.
  • Farm vehicles (registered as a farm tractor, truck, or area vehicle).
  • Antique and history vehicles.
  • Fire vehicles.
  • Military vehicles.
  • Street rods (registered as Class N).
  • School vehicles and passenger buses.
  • Those NOT registered in the counties listed above.

Senior Citizen Waivers

You can apply for a senior citizen waiver if:

  • You and ALL other vehicle owners are at least 70 years old.
  • You drive fewer than 5,000 miles annually.

To apply, indicate on the back of your emissions test notice:

  • That you and each owner on the vehicle's title are at least 70 years old.
  • Your vehicle's current mileage.
  • Your signature and the date.

Mail the completed emissions test notice to the VEIP address listed on the form.

Disabled Citizen Waivers

You can apply for a disabled citizen waiver if:

To apply, indicate on the back of your emissions test notice:

  • That all vehicle owners are disabled.
  • The current mileage of your vehicle.
  • Your signature and the date.

Mail your notice to the VEIP address listed on your form.

How to Get a MD Vehicle Inspection

Emissions Tests

To have your vehicle checked for emissions, choose from among the Maryland vehicle emissions stations and bring:

  • Your MVA emissions test notice.
    • Your registration card can act as a substitute.
  • Identification if you're paying by check*.
  • The $14 fee.
    • $15 penalty fee if you arrive after the due date; additional $15 penalty fee every 28 days thereafter.

Once your vehicle passes its emissions check, you'll receive a Vehicle Emissions Inspection Certificate and a diagnostics report. Your certificate or MD emissions testing technician will advise you on how to move forward.

* Maryland emissions testing locations accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express, money orders, personal checks, traveler's checks, and cash.

Applying for an Extension

Under certain circumstances (such as being out of state), your vehicle might be eligible for a Maryland emissions test extension.

To apply visit the VEIP online extension page, or contact VEIP at (410) 768-7000.

Safety Inspections for Used Vehicles

Most used vehicles and new resident vehicles must undergo safety inspections before initial titling and registration. These vehicles include:

  • Cars.
  • Trucks.
  • Motorcycles.
  • Tractors.
  • Trailers.
  • Special equipment.
  • Class B “for hire" vehicles.

Vehicles must be inspected at licensed Maryland safety inspection locations, which include most auto dealers, service stations, and specialized service centers.

When applicable, the inspection location will require:

  • Proof of the vehicle's value.
  • A lease agreement and proof of your monthly lease payments.
  • Any lien information, including lien release documents.
  • Power of attorney documentation.

Generally, safety inspections involve testing the vehicle's basic safety components, such as the:

  • Steering wheel.
  • Brakes.
  • Wheels, tires, and rims.
  • Mirrors.
  • Glass.
  • Horn.
  • Lights and signals.

Safety inspection certificates are valid for 90 days, meaning you must title and register your vehicle before that time period is up.

NOTE: If your vehicle fails the safety inspection, you must have it repaired and retested.

What if You Fail the Emissions Inspection?

If your vehicle fails its Maryland emissions tests, you must have it repaired and retested. Maryland provides a list of VEIP Certified Emissions Repair Facilities (CERFs), but you may choose your own mechanic or do the repairs yourself. If your vehicle is still under warranty, a dealership might need to make the repairs.

You get 1 retest for free if you complete the test by the “valid through" date; each test after that costs the original fee.

Repair Waivers

You can apply for a repair waiver with the VEIP if you meet EACH of the following requirements:

  • Your vehicle failed the initial emissions test, you made the necessary repairs, and the vehicle failed again.
  • Your repairs cost a minimum of $450 and you can provide receipts or invoices documenting the cost.
  • Any emissions-related repairs were made up to 30 days before the initial inspection and up to 120 days after the last inspection.

Complete and submit to the testing technician the back of your emissions test notice. If granted, your repair waiver is valid for 2 years from your original test date.

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