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Inspection/Maintenance Programs in NYS - Frequently Asked Questions

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) prepared this document based on inquires received from the general public. Additional information is also provided at the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website (see link in right hand column).

Q: What are Inspection/Maintenance (I/M) programs?

A: I/M programs have been adopted in over 30 states to address both air quality and environmental concerns. I/M programs, by design, require mandatory motor vehicle emissions inspections to insure that applicable vehicles are properly maintained. The federal Clean Air Act or state law requires the implementation of approved I/M programs in those areas with demonstrated poor ozone or carbon monoxide air quality issues (nonattainment areas). Additional requirements apply to those areas located within the Ozone Transport Region, which includes NYS.

There are several I/M programs in operation within NYS. These programs are defined by regulations promulgated by DMV and DEC.

Q: Are all areas of New York State required to have emissions testing?

A: Emissions inspections of most light-duty vehicles (passenger cars, vans, pick-up trucks) are required statewide through the New York Vehicle Inspection Program (NYVIP). Vehicle applicability and emissions "test types" can be found on the NYS Motor Vehicle I/M Programs page.

Heavy-duty diesel vehicles (HDDVs) include on-road diesel-powered buses and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 8,500 pounds. HDDVs registered within the 9-county Diesel Emissions Metropolitan Area are subject to an annual emissions inspection, which includes a smoke opacity test. Any HDDV operating on New York State public roadways are also subject to a roadside emissions inspection.

Certain medallion taxi cabs and for-hire vehicles are subject to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission I/M requirements.

Q. How do I/M programs reduce motor vehicle emissions?

A. I/M programs, through mandatory periodic testing, insure that motor vehicles are properly maintained. Light-duty vehicle I/M programs are very cost-effective in achieving carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbon reductions, while HDDV I/M programs are designed to reduce smoke emissions.

During the NYS emissions inspection, motorists are provided with pass/fail information specific to their vehicle. In addition, light-duty vehicles equipped with onboard diagnostic systems (OBD II) are capable of alerting motorists that an emission related fault has been encountered by the illumination of the malfunction indicator light (see Onboard Diagnostics)

Q: What kind of emissions test must my vehicle receive, and how much will it cost?

A: The type of emissions test will depend on your vehicle's age (model year), registration class, fuel type, and county of registration. Additional information on emission test type is provided within the NYS Motor Vehicle I/M Programs page.

New York State inspection fees are established within DMV regulation. See the NYS DMV - Inspection Fees link in the right hand column.

Q: How do "the 2 new model years" and "older than 25 model years old" emissions exemptions work?

A: These exemptions are provided by DMV regulation and apply only to NYVIP emissions inspections (OBD II and low enhanced). The vehicle model years affected by these exemptions change each year, beginning on January 1st. For example,

  • From January 1 - December 31, 2012: model years 2011, 2012, and all 1987 and older vehicles are exempt from NYVIP emissions inspections
  • From January 1 - December 31, 2013: model years 2012, 2013, and all 1988 and older vehicles are exempt from NYVIP emissions inspections.

These vehicles are still subject to the annual safety inspection requirement.

Q: Will my vehicle's warranty cover any of emissions related repairs?

A: The best source of information related to warranty coverage is the vehicle's owner's manual or warranty booklet. Emissions related repairs are covered under a federal emissions warranty for the first 2 years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first). Additional warranty coverage is required for the major emissions components, including the powertrain control module (computer) and catalytic converter, for up to 8 years or 80,000 miles (whichever comes first). Extended warranties may also apply.

Q: What are "Onboard Diagnostics" and "NYVIP?"

A: Onboard diagnostics, or OBD II, is the second generation of a diagnostic system that allows the vehicle's on-board computer to monitor the operation of a vehicle's engine and the emissions control systems. Model year 1996 and newer cars and light-duty trucks are required to be manufactured with OBD II. The statewide New York Vehicle Inspection Program (NYVIP) requires an OBD II inspection for applicable vehicles.

Q: My vehicle is registered outside of NYS. Can I receive a NYS emissions inspection to comply with another state's emissions inspection requirement?

A: Yes, it is possible to receive a NYS emissions inspection. We recommend that you first confirm with the other state's applicable agency that they will accept a NYS safety/emissions inspection.

To receive a NYVIP safety/emissions inspection without a NYS registration document, the inspector will be required by inspection software to either scan the vehicle's "VIN plate" or to manually enter the 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The NYS certified inspector will also need to select "Out of State Vehicle" from the menu as a reason for the manual VIN entry.

If your vehicle passes the NYVIP safety/emissions inspection (low enhanced, OBD II), you should request the Vehicle Inspection Receipt (VIR) from the inspector. You will be required to provide the other state agency with the NYVIP VIR to document a "passing" NYS inspection.

Q: My vehicle is registered in NYS, but I'm currently living out-of-state (i.e., college) and my safety/emissions sticker is going to expire. Can I get an extension when I return to NYS?

A: DMV has addressed this question. See link in the right hand column.

Q: Where can I find a licensed emissions inspection station?

A: DMV maintains a listing. See link in the right hand column.

Q: Do diesel-powered vehicles require an annual emissions inspection?

A: Depending on the vehicle weight, model year, and county of registration, some diesel vehicles are required to receive an annual emissions inspection.

HDDVs (>8,500 lbs) registered within the 9-county New York Metropolitan Area (NYMA) are required to receive an annual I/M "opacity test" inspection. (NYMA includes New York City, Long Island, and Westchester and Rockland Counties).

Effective July 1, 2012, light-duty diesel vehicles (cars, pick-up trucks, and SUVs ≤ 8,500 lbs GVWR) model year 1997 and newer are subject to statewide NYVIP OBD II inspections.

Q: Are heavy duty diesel vehicles subject to a roadside emissions inspection?

A: On a statewide basis, HDDVs are subject to roadside emissions inspections. Certified officials from the DEC may conduct these inspections. If the vehicle fails the roadside inspection, the driver can receive a summons and a fine. The driver can reduce the fine if the vehicle is repaired and passes a re-inspection at a DMV licensed facility within 30 days of the violation.

Q: Are there any additional inspection requirements for taxicabs?

A: The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission requires mandatory safety and emissions inspections of certain medallion taxicabs and for-hire vehicles. Taxicabs in the remainder of NYS are inspected through the NYVIP program.