Vehicle Emissions Testing

New York Vehicle Emissions Inspection Laws

Passenger vehicles and light trucks must go through safety inspection once a year in New York. This safety inspection includes emissions inspection, or otherwise known as “smog” inspection.

The following article will give you the basics of New York smog laws. Below you can find out how smog checks are performed in this state, and which vehicles can be exempt from the laws.

When are emissions inspected?

All vehicles registered in NY must get a safety inspection every 12 months, or when the ownership of vehicle is transferred. Emissions testing is done during the safety inspection.

Which vehicles require emissions testing?

Your car, truck, or other passenger vehicle requires emissions test if:

  • It is a 1995 or older model
  • If it runs on gasoline

Smog test for other vehicles  is done through OBDII testing. Here’s how it works:

How emissions testing works?

To complete your vehicle safety inspection, visit your nearest DMV-licensed inspection station with your ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, and payment fee.

Your vehicle will receive either OBDII testing, or low enhanced testing, depending on the vehicle’s age.

What is OBDII testing?

OBDII stands for On-Board Diagnostics Generation II test. These are required for 1996 and newer gasoline powered vehicles, and 1997 or newer diesel powered vehicles, which have a weight of less than 8,501 pounds. Vehicles newer than 2 years are exempt.

OBDII test examines the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), most commonly referred to the “check engine” light. Test results are verified with vehicle’s on-board emissions diagnostic system.

What is low enhanced testing?

Low Enhanced emissions inspection is done on vehicles which are not subject to OBDII tests, or vehicles which are exempt from emissions testing (see below). Low enhanced inspection is required for all vehicles model 1995 or older, including vehicles that are up to 25 model years old, and which weigh 18,000 lbs or less.

Which emissions control devices are tested?

Assuming your vehicle was originally manufactured with them, the following emissions control devices are tested during emissions testing:

  • Catalytic converter (CAT)
  • Exhaust gas recirculation valve (EGR)
  • Positive crankcase ventilation system (PCV)
  • Air injection system (AIS)
  • Evaporative emissions control (EVAP)
  • Fuel inlet restrictor (FIR)
  • Thermostatic air cleaner (TAC)

Diesel emissions inspection (smoke opacity test)

Smoke opacity test is done on all non-exempt diesel powered vehicles which weigh over 8,500 lbs and are registered in DEMADiesel Emissions Metropolitan Area. These include New York City, and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland or Westchester.

Vehicles registered outside DEMA areas have the following emissions inspection rules:

  • All diesel-powered vehicles over 8,500 pounds do not require annual diesel emissions inspections, but may be subject to a random roadside diesel emissions inspection.
  • All model year 1997 or newer non-exempt diesel-powered vehicles, registered anywhere in New York State, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) less than 8,501 pounds, must get an annual OBDII emissions inspection, and are not subject to the diesel emissions inspection.
  • All model year 1996 or older diesel-powered vehicles, registered anywhere in New York State, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) less than 8,501 pounds, are not subject to the OBDII emissions inspection, the low-enhanced emissions inspection, or the diesel emissions inspection.

Which vehicles are exempt from emissions test?

Certain vehicles are exempt from emissions testing. These are:

  1. motorcycles or farm equipment
  2. vehicles less than 2 years old
  3. vehicles over 25 years old
  4. diesel powered vehicles 1997 and newer with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVRW) less than 8,501 pounds
  5. electric cars
  6. vehicles with issued historic plates
  7. vehicles which are subject to heavy vehicle safety inspections

Keep in mind: your vehicle may be exempted from emissions testing, but never safety testing.

What happens is emissions testing fails?

Failing emissions testing means your vehicle will have to be repaired and re-tested before you can pass the safety inspection.

If you complete your vehicle retest within 30 days of the initial safety inspection, you will only have to redo emissions inspection portion of inspection. This is assuming you passed the safety inspection, and only failed the smog testing.

Not having to go through the entire vehicle testing process again can lower your costs, as you will only have to pay fees for re-testing which previously failed.

What if repairs fail?

If your vehicle does not meet emissions standards set by New York smog laws, you can apply for a waiver issued by DMV. To get this waiver you must spend over $450 for OBDII-related repairs (or equal amount in parts if you don’t pay for labor).

DMV can also issue waivers if your car fails OBDII inspection but passes the safety inspection. Your gas-powered vehicle must also pass the gas cap test, and visual inspection of emissions and smog control devices.

How much are emissions testing fees?

  • Depending on where you live, emissions testing fee is added to safety inspection fee, and can be anywhere from $11 to $27.
  • In New York Metropolitan Area (NYCMA) OBDDI testing is $27, emissions testing $11, and diesel emissions testing $25.
  • In upstate New York OBDII testing costs $11, low-enhanced emissions test $11, and diesel testing $25.
  • Safety inspection fees are same in the entire state: $6 to $15 for light vehicles.


Below is a breakdown of penalties for expired window stickers and failing emissions inspections.

Penalties for expired stickers

Your vehicle’s registration can not be renewed without passing inspection. If your inspection sticker has expired within 60 days, you will have to pay a $25 to $50 fine. Having an expired sticker for over 60 days, or not displaying one at all, carries a fine of $50 to $100.

Furthermore, you will also be charged $88 to $93 mandatory state surcharge fee. There may also be additional fines issued by the police or DMV. For example, you can also be issued a parking ticket for a vehicle without an inspection sticker, or with an expired one.

Penalties for failing roadside diesel emissions inspection

Diesel-powered vehicles over 8,500 pounds must pass random roadside diesel emissions inspection. Failing this inspection results in a $700 fine for a first offense, or $1,300 for second and each subsequent offense. This fee can be reduced if vehicle is repaired and passes inspection at DMV licensed facility within 30 days of the violation.

When you pass safety and emissions inspection, don’t forget to keep your receipt. In case DMV does not receive notice of a completed inspection, which happens far too often, this will serve as proof.

Please note we only provide this information about vehicle emissions for informational purposes. You should always double-check current official New York smog laws and regulations to ensure this information is correct.

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This page about New York Vehicle Emissions Inspection Laws is up to date for 2024. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!