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Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) Programs

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 ensure 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). Light-duty vehicle I/M programs are very cost-effective in achieving carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbon reductions, while Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicle (HDDV) I/M programs are designed to reduce smoke emissions.

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

DEC Regulations

DEC is responsible for ensuring that inspection stations are in compliance with Regulations under Part 217 and that the equipment and software utilized for the tests are approved and certified. DEC monitors the program to ensure proper standards to achieve the emission reductions needed to fulfill the federal requirements, and initiates changes to state regulations in response to changes in the federal requirements or issues raised by the public or the legislature.

New York Vehicle Inspection Program (NYVIP)

Emissions inspections of most light-duty vehicles (passenger cars, vans, pick-up trucks) are required statewide through NYVIP (leaves DEC website). NYVIP is a statewide program that was initially phased into the Upstate I/M area during 2004 and later expanded into NYMA in 2005. NYVIP features on-board diagnostic (OBD II) inspections. OBD II is a computer system designed by vehicle manufacturers to monitor the operation of the vehicle's power train and associated emissions control systems.

Most light-duty non-diesel vehicles (passenger cars, and most SUVs, vans, and light-duty pick-up trucks) beginning with the 1996 model year are equipped with standardized OBD II computer systems. Diesel vehicles beginning with the 1997 model year are also equipped with standardized OBD II computer systems. If the OBD II system detects a problem that could result in excessive emissions, the malfunction indicator light ("MIL" or "Check Engine light") located on the dashboard will illuminate to inform the driver of a detected fault code. The NYVIP OBD II inspection pass/fail criteria are based on proper MIL function and on electronic data collected from the vehicle's on-board computer.

Certain medallion taxi cabs and for-hire vehicles are subject to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission I/M requirements. Taxicabs in the remainder of NYS are inspected through the NYVIP program.

Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicle Program (HDDV)

Heavy duty diesel vehicles (HDDVs) are those on-road diesel-powered vehicles greater than 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). HDDVs registered within NYMA are required to have an annual emissions inspection, which includes a tailpipe opacity test. HDDVs operating on any NYS public roadway are also subject to a roadside emissions inspection. 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.

Test Frequency

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

Annual Emissions Testing Exemptions

For HDDV and NYVIP:

a) Electric powered vehicles, motorcycles, vehicles with historic and farm registrations;
b) Diesel-powered vehicles ≥8,501 lbs GVWR registered Upstate;

For NYVIP Only:

c) Vehicles older than 25 model years old (For example, during calendar year 2019, vehicles model year 1994 and older are exempt from emissions testing).
d) Vehicles less than 2 model years old (For example, during calendar year 2019, model years 2018 and 2019 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 vehicles model year 1996 and newer and ≤8,500 lbs GVWR.
    • Diesel vehicles model year 1997 and newer and ≤8,500 lbs GVWR.
  • NYVIP Low Enhanced: Gas cap presence and Anti-tampering visual checks for:
    • Non-exempt vehicles, 25 model years old to Model Year 1995, up to 18,000 lbs. GVWR.
    • Non-exempt vehicles, model year 1996 and newer, between 8,501 pounds 18,000 pounds GVWR.
  • Heavy-Duty Diesel Opacity Test: Diesel-powered vehicles >8,500 lbs.
  • The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission requires safety and OBD II inspections of applicable yellow medallion taxicabs and for-hire vehicles.

Emissions Test Types/Upstate

  • NYVIP OBD II:
    • Non-diesel vehicles model year 1996 and newer and ≤8,500 lbs GVWR.
    • Diesel vehicles model year 1997 and newer and ≤8,500 lbs GVWR.
  • NYVIP Low Enhanced: Gas cap presence and anti-tampering visual checks for:
    • Non-exempt vehicles, 25 model years old to Model Year 1995, up to 18,000 lbs. GVWR.
    • Non-exempt vehicles, model year 1996 and newer, between 8,501 pounds to 18,000 pounds 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 re-inspection fees may apply to vehicles that fail. These fees vary depending on the re-inspection requirements.

Enforcement Type

NYS has adopted both on-road enforcement (inspection stickers) and registration-based denial. HDDVs operating on public roadways are subject to a roadside emissions inspection by certified DEC officials. HDDVs found in violation are subject to penalties as noted in Subpart 217-5.

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. Additional information can be found on our Onboard Diagnostics page.

For HDDV inspections, minimum hardship waiver repair costs are established in Subpart 217-5 based on vehicle GVWR.

Quality Assurance

I/M program data is subject to quality assurance checks to ensure that approved testing procedures are applied and that I/M data is valid. The Department periodically reviews test methods and equipment to assure that they meet accepted quality standards.

Warranties and Emission 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.

Emissions Testing for Vehicles Registered Outside NYS

NYS emissions inspection may be administered to vehicles registered in other states. 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.

Emissions Testing for NYS Registered Vehicles Outside NYS

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


More about Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) Programs:

  • Onboard Diagnostics - A vehicle's Onboard Diagnostic (OBD) system is diagnostic software controlled by the vehicle's onboard computer. OBD alerts the motorist when an emission related fault is encountered, and provides valuable information to assist in emissions-related repair. OBD is also a required emissions test for applicable vehicles.
  • Enhanced I/M Program Reports - summaries of emission inspection data, quality assurance/quality control measures, and program enforcement.