Through the Connecticut emissions testing program, drivers must complete a smog check at a participating testing center facility to reduce excessive air pollution and ensure that vehicles are safe on the environment before renewing registration. As part of the state vehicle testing program, the CT Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) works with Applus Technologies to identify high-emitting vehicles in need of repairs.

After failing an inspection, car owners must perform all necessary repairs before having the vehicle retested. Unless exempt from smog testing, residents must bring their vehicles to a testing center for an inspection once every 2 years. To learn more about vehicle inspections and to find nearby emissions testing locations, review the sections below. 

Connecticut Emissions and Smog Check Requirements

When visiting an emissions testing station in Connecticut, vehicles will receive one or more of the following tests, depending on the vehicle’s make, model year, driveline configuration and fuel type:

  • On-Board Diagnostic (OBD)
  • Pre-Condition Two-Speed Idle (PC TSI)
  • Gas Cap Pressure Leak Test
  • Accelerated Simulation Mode 25/25 (ASM)
  • Load Mode Diesel (LMD) or Modified Snap Acceleration (MSA)

As a reminder, the DMV mails drivers a testing notification at least 45 days before the inspection is due. To avoid late fees, vehicle owners must keep their address current with the DMV. Additionally, drivers may take their vehicle to an emissions testing center up to 90 days in advance.

Note: Each CT vehicle inspection takes between 15 and 30 minutes to complete. To complete the test, vehicle owners must bring the vehicle that needs to be tested and submit payment for the test along with the testing notice.

Smog Check Exemptions in Connecticut

All vehicles must undergo emissions testing in CT every 2 years, unless the model year of a vehicle is between 2014 and 2017, or if the vehicle was manufactured before 1992. Additionally, the following vehicles are exempt from auto emissions testing:

  • Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,001 lbs.
  • Vehicles titled as composites
  • Fully electric-powered vehicles
  • Motorized bicycles and motorcycles
  • Farm vehicles
  • Diesel vehicles and vehicles with transporter, dealer or repairer plates.

Out-of-State Emissions Testing in Connecticut

To avoid late fees for car emission tests, out-of-state college students or military personnel may request a time extension if they cannot complete an inspection before the test due date or 30 days thereafter. To obtain a DMV emissions testing extension while out-of-state, CT residents must submit the following information:

  • An Out-Of-State VIN Verification Form (AE-81)
  • Documentation of school enrollment or a copy of military orders
  • The current vehicle registration document (for military personnel)
  • A written request including the vehicle owner’s name, telephone number and address.

Alternately, drivers who need to complete a Connecticut smog check may apply for a one-time extension if the vehicle is out-of-state when testing is due. To request a one-time test extension, vehicle owners must submit an Out-Of-State VIN Verification Form and a written request containing the name, address and phone number of the vehicle owner. However, only military members or college students may request multiple extensions.

Drivers may complete a vehicle emission test when out-of-state if the state they are currently in has established reciprocity with Connecticut and meets state emissions standards. To perform DMV smog testing while out-of-state, CT residents must submit an official Vehicle Inspection Report to the DMV, along with evidence of state compliance. However, the reciprocal test can only be used as an extension and a driver may only use the extension one time unless the vehicle owner is a college student or holds military status.

Drivers must send all smog inspection correspondence to the following address:

Emissions Division
60 State Street
Wethersfield, CT 06161

Emissions Waivers in Connecticut

Three different smog testing waivers are available for qualifying vehicle owners. These waivers include a cost waiver, economic hardship waiver and functional diagnostic waiver. Vehicle owners may obtain a cost waiver for auto emissions testing if they meet the minimum emissions-related repair expense of $874.06 and if a Certified Emissions Repair Technician (CERT) performs the repairs.

Additionally, drivers may obtain a waiver due to economic hardship. To qualify for a hardship waiver, vehicle owners must submit documentation showing that their annual income is below federal and state poverty levels. Furthermore, drivers may obtain a functional diagnostic waiver if the vehicle’s manufacturer can provide a known reason for the car failing inspection using company letterhead. To request a Connecticut vehicle inspection waiver, car owners must contact the state Emissions Division at 860-263-5611.

Testing Fees in Connecticut

The emission test cost in Connecticut is a flat-rate fee of $20. Drivers must pay for their car inspection in person at a testing center. Motorists may pay by cash, though some testing centers accept credit cards or checks as payment.

Additionally, the smog test price increases by $20 if a test is overdue by at least 30 days or if drivers do not bring their vehicle in for a retest within 60 days of failing the initial test. To pay a late inspection fee, motorists must submit payment to the DMV by phone or by mail. To pay the DMV by phone, drivers must call 860-263-5333 or mail payment to the Emissions Division.

Where to Perform an Emissions Check in Connecticut

To complete a Connecticut smog test, car owners must visit a Full-Service Test Center or an OBD Plus Test Center. Full-Service inspection facilities can test all vehicles, regardless of the vehicle’s model year or fuel type. However, an OBD Plus emissions testing center cannot test the following vehicles:

  • Vehicles with a model year newer than 1997 and with a gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 8,501 lbs.
  • Diesel-powered vehicles older than model year 1996.

Drivers may visit emissions testing locations between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Vehicle owners may schedule inspections in advance or they may visit a facility without scheduling an appointment.

Note: Before you visit a safety and emissions testing center, you must contact the facility if you drive an oversized vehicle. Not all testing facilities can accommodate larger vehicles.

Failing a Connecticut Smog and Emissions Test

If a vehicle fails a smog check, car owners must perform all necessary repairs before retesting the vehicle within 60 calendar days. Car owners may visit any CT emissions testing center to retest their vehicles at no additional charge. Drivers receive one free re-examination per test cycle. If a vehicle fails its smog inspection for the second time, the automobile may qualify for a cost waiver.

Note: If you fail your car emission test, you may make all necessary repairs at any repair facility or on your own. However, a Certified Emissions Repair Facility (CERF) employs CERTs who receive extensive training in performing emissions-related repairs.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.