Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) Programs

I/M programs have been adopted in over 30 states to address air quality and environmental concerns (leaves DEC website) by requiring mandatory motor vehicle emissions inspections to ensure vehicles are properly maintained. The federal Clean Air Act requires the implementation of approved I/M programs in areas with demonstrated poor ozone or carbon monoxide air quality issues (nonattainment areas). Light-duty vehicle I/M programs are very cost-effective in achieving carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbon reductions. Heavy-duty diesel vehicle (HDDV) I/M programs are designed to reduce smoke emissions.

I/M programs are jointly administered by DEC and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). As the result of different air quality designations across the state and federal I/M regulation, the State has been geographically divided into two "I/M areas." The downstate New York Metropolitan Area (NYMA) is comprised of nine counties: Suffolk, Nassau, Kings, Queens, Richmond, New York, Bronx, Westchester and Rockland. The Upstate I/M area is comprised of the remaining 53 counties of the State.

DEC is responsible for ensuring that inspection stations are in compliance with regulations under 6 NYCRR Part 217 (leaves DEC website) and that the equipment and software utilized for the tests are approved and certified. DEC monitors the program to achieve the emission reductions needed to fulfill the federal requirements. DEC may initiate changes to State regulations in response to changes in federal requirements, issues raised by the public, or at the direction of the State legislature.

New York Vehicle Inspection Program (NYVIP)

Statewide, most light-duty vehicles (passenger cars, vans, pick-up trucks) are required to have an emissions inspection (leaves DEC website) through NYVIP (leaves DEC website). NYVIP was initially phased into the Upstate I/M area in 2004 and later expanded into NYMA in 2005. NYVIP features on-board diagnostic (OBD II) inspections.

Annual Emissions Testing

Both NYVIP and HDDV I/M programs require annual inspections and when the vehicle changes ownership.

Exemptions

For HDDV and NYVIP:

a) Electric-powered vehicles, motorcycles, vehicles with historic and farm registrations;
b) Diesel-powered vehicles greater than 8,501 lbs. GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) registered Upstate;

For NYVIP Only:

c) Vehicles older than 25 model years (for example, during calendar year 2021, vehicles model year 1996 and older are exempt from emissions testing).
d) Vehicles less than 2 model years old (for example, during calendar year 2021, model years 2020 and 2021 are exempt from emissions testing)

Most vehicles exempt from emissions testing are still subject to the annual safety inspection requirements.

Emissions Test Types - NYMA

  • NYVIP OBD II:
    • Non-diesel and diesel vehicles, model year 1997 and newer, and 8,500 lbs. or less GVWR.
  • NYVIP Low Enhanced: Gas cap presence and anti-tampering visual checks for:
    • Non-exempt vehicles, model year 1997 and newer, between 8,501 lbs. and 18,000 lbs. GVWR.
  • Heavy-Duty Diesel Opacity Test: Diesel-powered vehicles greater than 8,500 lbs.
  • The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (leaves DEC website) requires safety and OBD II inspections of applicable taxicabs and for-hire vehicles.

Emissions Test Types - Upstate

  • NYVIP OBD II:
    • Non-diesel and diesel vehicles, model year 1997 and newer, and 8,500 lbs. or less GVWR.
  • NYVIP Low Enhanced: Gas cap presence and anti-tampering visual checks for:
    • Non-exempt vehicles, model year 1997 and newer, between 8,501 lbs. and 18,000 lbs. GVWR.

Emissions Test Fees (do not include safety inspection fees)

  • NYMA:
    • NYVIP OBD II - $27.00, NYVIP low enhanced - $11.00
    • Heavy-duty diesel - $25.00
  • Upstate:
    • NYVIP OBD II - $11.00, NYVIP low enhanced - $11.00

Additional reinspection fees may apply to vehicles that fail. These fees vary depending on the reinspection requirements.

Waivers

NYVIP allows for a repair expenditure waiver of the emissions inspection for failing OBD II inspections. Documented costs must exceed $450 for qualifying repairs following the initial failed inspection.

For HDDV inspections, minimum hardship waiver repair costs are established in 6 NYCRR Subpart 217-5 (leaves DEC website) based on vehicle GVWR.

Warranties and Emissions-Related Repairs

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.

Vehicles Registered Outside New York State

A New York State emissions inspection may be administered to vehicles registered in other states. We recommend you first confirm with the other state's applicable agency that they will accept a New York State safety/emissions inspection. To receive a NYVIP safety/emissions inspection without a New York State registration document, the inspector will be required to either scan the vehicle's "VIN plate" or to manually enter the 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) into the program. 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 VIR to document a "passing" New York State inspection.

New York State Registered Vehicles Outside New York State

New York State does not accept emissions tests conducted outside of the state. If your vehicle is registered in New York State, but you are living out-of-state (i.e. college), you may get an extension when you return to New York State by contacting DMV (leaves DEC website).

Onboard Diagnostics (OBD II)

OBD II is a computer-based system installed in vehicles manufactured after 1996 that monitors the performance of a vehicle's powertrain (engine, transmission) and emission control systems. It also alerts the driver of an engine management or emissions control issue by illuminating the malfunction indicator light (MIL) on the vehicle's dashboard. When lit, it may be red, amber, or yellow and may read "Check Engine," "Service Engine Soon," or simply be an image of an engine. Responding to the MIL in a timely fashion can improve fuel efficiency, enhance your vehicle's performance, and protect the environment by reducing vehicle emissions. OBD II can assist technicians identify and repair problems by storing a "trouble code" and "freeze frame" data for the malfunction. While newer OBD II vehicles are designed and manufactured to meet cleaner emissions standards, their emissions will only remain low if these vehicles are properly maintained.

Certain severe engine malfunctions may cause the MIL to blink or flash on and off. These conditions require a reduction in speed and immediate service. Consult your owner's manual for further guidance.

A loose gas cap may cause the MIL to turn on. Most OBD II vehicles complete a series of manufacturer-defined diagnostic checks for evaporative gas leaks. A broken gas cap, or a gas cap not completely tightened, can cause the MIL to light. If you believe the gas cap was not completely fastened, simply retighten the cap.

There may be cases where the MIL goes out before any repairs are made. If the condition that initially caused the MIL to light has been addressed (for instance, a loose gas cap was tightened), the OBD II system is capable of turning the MIL off. This sequence of MIL on/MIL off does not indicate a defective OBD II system. Your vehicle needs no special attention unless the MIL comes on again.

Do not disconnect the battery in an attempt to bypass the OBD II. This will lead to an inspection failure.

A vehicle presented for an official NYVIP OBD II inspection with an illuminated MIL will fail the emissions inspection. Do not wait until the end of your current inspection sticker to have your vehicle inspected. Your repair technician needs adequate time to diagnose and repair the vehicle.

NYVIP OBD II Inspection

New York State requires annual NYVIP OBD II emissions inspections for applicable non-diesel and non-electric vehicles under NYVIP. Model year 1997 and newer light-duty diesel vehicles are subject to OBD II. The OBD II inspection requires connecting approved inspection equipment to the vehicle's OBD connector to download emissions system information.

OBD II inspections take less time to complete than traditional tailpipe based inspections and are capable of evaluating evaporative emissions problems (i.e., leaks from hoses) that are not possible for older, pre-OBD II vehicles.

The complete NYVIP OBD II inspection includes:

  • Safety inspection;
  • Visual inspection of the emission control devices (including the gas cap); and
  • OBD II inspection.

The NYVIP inspection involves two visual inspections followed by retrieving the electronic data from the vehicle's on-board computer. The visual inspections include safety components and emission control devices, such as the gas cap and MIL. The OBD II pass/fail determination is based on the visual inspections and the data retrieved. The inspection equipment will print a VIR that details the results of the inspection. You can request this document from the inspector.

If your vehicle passes the inspection, you will receive an inspection sticker that is affixed to the vehicle's windshield. If your vehicle fails the inspection, the VIR will list the reason(s) for the failure. The VIR can also provide useful information to a qualified automotive repair technician if your vehicle requires a repair.

What to do if your vehicle fails its inspection

Your vehicle must pass a reinspection or receive an emissions-related waiver (see below) in order to receive a valid inspection sticker. In most cases, the vehicle will need to be repaired. Failure to pass the inspection by the expiration of the current inspection sticker will leave you subject to fines and possibly registration denial.

If your vehicle failed for the readiness evaluation, it means that the inspection equipment communicated with the vehicle and the vehicle reported that it had not completed a sufficient number of on-board diagnostics. The vehicle will need to be driven until a sufficient number of diagnostics are run to completion. Motorists receiving a 10-day extension should be cautioned that this extension is for one time only. The vehicle should be driven for several days to set monitors and then be reinspected. NYVIP (leaves DEC website) has additional information on readiness failures.

NYVIP OBD II Inspection Emissions Waivers

Vehicles subject to the NYVIP OBD II inspection may qualify for a waiver if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the vehicle fails only the OBD II emissions test portion of the inspection (i.e., the vehicle must pass the safety, gas cap check, and emission control device visual checks);
  • the vehicle receives repairs related to the reason(s) for the OBD II emissions failure;
  • the vehicle fails the OBD II inspection at least twice during its current inspection cycle (i.e., an initial inspection and at least one reinspection); and
  • qualifying repairs must be documented and must total at least $450.

Emissions-related repair costs may be covered under the vehicle manufacturer's warranty. Warranty coverage varies depending on what components require repair, vehicle age, mileage, and the individual vehicle manufacturer's warranty provisions.

The federal Clean Air Act requires an 8-year or 80,000 mile warranty on the major emissions control components, such as the catalytic converter, and a 2-year or 24,000 mile warranty on other emissions control components. Owners are advised to read the warranty provisions within their owner's manual or warranty booklet.

HDDV I/M Program

HDDVs play a major role in commercial transportation and operate across the State, but diesel exhaust has the potential to cause serious health problems (leaves DEC website). In an effort to reduce potentially harmful diesel exhaust emissions, DEC has developed a program to inspect HDDVs and ensure their emission control systems are being properly maintained. DEC has two emission inspection programs for HDDVs:

  1. An annual emission inspection program for HDDVs registered in NYMA.
  2. A roadside emission inspection program for HDDVs operating on roadways in the State.

HDDVs are diesel engine powered vehicles with a GVWR exceeding 8,500 pounds. Some vehicles in this weight class are exempt, such as authorized emergency vehicles. Both the annual and roadside emission inspections are conducted by a certified inspector. The emission inspections can include a visual inspection to verify that the vehicle's emissions control equipment is functioning, a check for tampering, and an opacity (smoke) test using an approved opacity meter (smoke meter).

Annual Inspections

The annual HDDV emissions inspection is performed at the time of the vehicle's annual DMV safety inspection. This inspection applies only to HDDVs registered in NYMA and must be performed by a certified inspector. A vehicle safety inspection station that performs emissions inspections of HDDVs is authorized by DMV as an official diesel emissions inspection station (ODEIS).

Roadside Inspections and Standards

Roadside emissions inspections are performed at various times on roadways by State-certified staff. DEC staff who are certified emission inspectors have the authority to emissions test (smoke test) HDDVs. An HDDV can be roadside inspected regardless of the vehicle's registration location.

Smoke tests measure the opacity of exhaust smoke from the vehicle. Opacity is a measure of the amount of light that cannot pass through a substance, such as the amount of light obstructed as it passes through the exhaust. It is expressed as a percentage. These tests are conducted using an opacity meter, which samples the exhaust smoke at frequent intervals and calculates the smoke coming from the tailpipe. The exhaust smoke will be tested with an approved opacity smoke meter using a snap acceleration test.

  • The wheels will be chocked.
  • The transmission will be in neutral.
  • The brakes will be disengaged to activate all emission control equipment.
  • The sensor will be inserted at the end of the exhaust stack.
  • The accelerator is rapidly depressed and held for a few seconds, then released. This is repeated a minimum of five times.
  • The meter will average three consistent results and create a print-out for your records.

The smoke opacity standards by engine model year are:

  • 1991 or newer - greater than 40%
  • 1974-1990 - greater than 55%
  • 1973 or older - greater than 70%

To help the inspection go quicker, make sure the following information is readily available:

  • Make and year of vehicle
  • Mileage
  • Engine manufacturer
  • Horsepower

Improving Smoke Opacity

It is important to maintain and repair a vehicle to ensure it passes the emissions test. Common causes of excessive smoke include:

  • Clogged or worn fuel filters
  • Restricted air filters
  • Contaminated fuel
  • The oil level is overfilled
  • Defective turbochargers
  • Defective or inoperable emissions control devices

Smoke opacity can be improved in several ways:

  • Adjusting emissions control equipment
  • Replacing air filter elements
  • Tuning up your engine
  • Adjusting engine timing
  • Ensuring correct operation of the cooling system
  • Repairing the restricted exhaust system

Penalties for Failing Inspections

No vehicle will be put out of service for failing a roadside opacity test. However, HDDVs found in violation are subject to penalties as noted in 6 NYCRR Subpart 217-5 (leaves DEC website). Penalties can be reduced if the violation is corrected within 30 days.

A retest, which may be done to seek a penalty reduction, must be conducted by an ODEIS. The roadside and/or annual inspection penalties do not apply to school buses or municipally owned HDDVs for a first violation, provided the vehicle is repaired and the violation corrected within 30 days of the cited violation.

DEC Approved Smoke Meters

The approved list of HDDV I/M smoke meters will be amended to comply with the implementation of NYVIP 3. This list of smoke meters will not be compatible with the upcoming NYVIP 3 system.

Robert H. Wager Co., Inc
570 Montroyal Rd.
Rural Hall, NC 27045
Phone: (336) 969-6909
Wager 7500*

Red Mountain Engineering
17767 Mitchell N.
Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: (949) 595-4475
Smoke Check 1667*

Previously-Approved Smoke Meters

The smoke meters listed below are no longer approved for new smoke meter purchases, but are considered valid under the HDDV I/M program if properly maintained and calibrated.

Cal Test Instruments, Inc.
126 Marine Ave.
Wilmington, CA 90744
Phone: (310) 835-6909
CalTest 1000-WIN-TR*

Robert Bosch Corporation
2800 South 25th Ave.
Broadview, IL 60153
Phone: (855) 426-7247
Bosch RTT 100*

Environmental Systems Products, Inc. (ESP)
11 Kripes Rd.
East Granby, CT. 06026
Phone: (860) 392-2162; (800) 695-4377
ESP Diesel-sense 1667*

SPX Corporation
8001 Angling Rd.
Portage, MI 49024
Phone: (800) 233-7055
SPX Dieseltune DX-240*

ProTech USA
No longer in business
Protech OPAX 2000-II*

*Note: The above smoke meters must come equipped with functioning engine oil temperature and engine RPM sensors

(updated March 26, 2020)

Enhanced I/M Program Reports

EPA Annual Reports

New York State has operated a statewide, enhanced OBDII I/M program since 2005. Data analysis and annual reporting provides for proper program monitoring and evaluation. The contents of the annual reports listed below are based on EPA regulations under 40 CFR Part 51.366, Data Analysis and Reporting and New York State Implementation Plan revisions. These reports are prepared annually through a coordinated effort between DEC and DMV. Entire reports are available in downloadable PDF format.

2020 Enhanced I/M Program Annual Report
2019 Enhanced I/M Program Annual Report

Biennial Program Evaluation Reports

New York State submits biennial program evaluation reports to EPA. These ongoing reviews meet federal reporting requirements under 40 CFR Part 51.353(c), Program Evaluation. Entire reports are available in downloadable PDF format.

Enhanced I/M Program Evaluation Report - June 2018 - June 2020
Enhanced I/M Program Evaluation Report - June 2016 - June 2018