Car Inspection in Tennessee
Keep reading for information about which vehicles require emissions testing, how and where to complete an inspection, applying for inspection exemptions, and more.
New Tennessee Residents
Inspection Requirements and Exemptions
The following counties require emissions checks on qualifying vehicles:
Your vehicle qualifies for inspection within those counties if it is:
- Model year 1975 and newer.
- Powered by gasoline or diesel.
- Weighs 10,500 lbs. or under.
Emissions tests are valid for 90 days.
The following vehicles are exempt from emissions inspections:
- Vehicles powered solely by electricity.
- Hybrids must typically be inspected, as they can run on gasoline. Check with your inspection station to confirm.
Completing a TN Vehicle Inspection
To complete your emissions check in your qualifying Tennessee county, visit your local emissions testing station. You'll likely need to bring one of the following:
- Title or bill or sale.
- Vehicle registration documents.
- Any vehicle inspection packet(s) you received in the mail.
Also bring payment for the $9 fee. No bills or checks for more than $20 are accepted.
Failed Inspections & Exemptions
If your vehicle fails the emissions test, you must have it repaired and retested.
An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified technician will provide free diagnostic information to help you have your vehicle properly repaired.
Apply for a Vehicle Exemption
You can apply for an exemption if your vehicle is out-of-state or the out of the testing area when it's time to have your registration renewed.
To apply for an exemption, complete the Application for Vehicle Exemption (Form CN-1026) and submit it to Division of Air Pollution Control address listed on the form.
You must have your vehicle inspected once you return; failure to do so could lead to future exemption denials.
About the TN Vehicle Inspection Program
Most vehicles* model year 1996 and newer will undergo a catalytic converter test (if it was manufactured with one) and a gas cap check before the main on-board diagnostic (OBD) test.
OBD testing consists of:
- Connecting a scan tool to the vehicle's on-board computer system, which searches for the system's status.
- Checking the MIL light status with the key on but ignition off.
Learn more about testing at the state's On-Board Diagnostic Testing Program guide.
* Some vehicles older than model year 1996 might undergo traditional tampering and tailpipe testing instead of the gas cap leak check. Your technician will information you about which test your vehicle requires.
Tennessee Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving
As mentioned above, Tennessee doesn't require emissions testing for vehicles powered only by electricity.
There are other perks for green driving, too. For example, you might be eligible for:
- A high occupancy vehicle (HOVE) lane anytime pass if you drive a hybrid vehicle.
- Federal tax credits for operating an alternative-fuel vehicle (AFV).
- Car insurance discounts for other fuel-efficient cars and trucks.
For more information about eco-friendly driving perks, visit our page on green driver incentives.
Application for Vehicle Exemption - CN-1026
Apply for an emissions testing exemption if your vehicle is registered out-of-state OR in a region of Tennessee that does not require testing.