In Massachusetts, a vehicle emissions test is required for many original registrations, as well as for registration renewals. Renewal notices are sent to vehicle owners, and indicate whether and by what date an emissions test must be completed. Vehicle emission tests are required biennially. Owners also need to take their vehicles for a safety inspection every year. An inspection sticker signifies that a vehicle has passed the safety and emissions tests as per the State norms. The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) notifies that all vehicles, whether new or used, should have passed inspection within seven calendar days of registration in order to run on Massachusetts roads.
A car, truck, motor home or RV (recreational vehicle) requires an emissions test when:
Emission tests are valid for two years. A valid test is required to reinstate a suspended registration and to complete an original vehicle registration or registration renewal. Used car dealers are required to issue a valid emissions test for any vehicle they sell. Getting an emissions test is the buyer's responsibility when the vehicle is purchased from a private owner.
A vehicle is exempt from emissions testing when:
There are two ways to find a licensed emission testing station. Use the online locator to find one near you or dial (877) 387-8234. It is always prudent to call beforehand and fix up an appointment for certain times of the day and to confirm the acceptable modes of payment. You can also look for the Enhanced Emissions Safety Test logo displayed in front of licensed inspection stations.
The fees for Massachusetts vehicle safety and emission tests are $29. The same fee is charged in alternate years also when the vehicle undergoes only the safety test.
If your vehicle fails the emissions test, you will receive a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) that will show the car's data results in the test, and a Repair Data Form that describes the repairs that need to be carried out. You must have the vehicle repaired, after which it must pass the after repairs emissions test within 60 days of the initial test. The second test is not chargeable if the vehicle is retested within 60 days of the original test and at the same inspection station. The vehicle can be repaired at anywhere or at specialized registered repair stations.
You can also call (877) 387-8234 to find a high rated repair station located near you.
If your vehicle is unable to meet the emissions standard following the necessary repair work, you may be able to obtain a waiver issued by RMV. You can apply for a waiver if you can provide authorized receipts showing that you have purchased certain parts for a threshold value in an effort to pass the emissions test. For the specific waiver requirements click here.
Contact the Motorist Hotline at (877) 387-8234 to schedule an appointment at a Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office and request a waiver. You will need to produce along with your vehicle copies of all work orders and receipts from the registered repair shop; a completed Repair Data Form signed by a state-registered repair technician and VIR printouts both prior to and after repairs.
Please note that safety failures carry no waiver. Only emissions test failures can entail a waiver of one inspection cycle i.e. two years.