Emissions testing is an important part of the vehicle inspection process in Illinois. Regular inspections are a critical way to determine if a vehicle is a significant source of air pollution or not. Testing may be required in order to renew car registration and license plates each year.

Vehicle inspections in Illinois identify any malfunctioning systems and are reported as pass or fail. If passed, the results of the test will be valid for 2 years. Failed tests usually require repairs and retesting. To find out the smog test price, as well as safety and emissions requirements and exemptions, continue reading below.

Illinois Emissions and Smog Check Requirements

Illinois emissions testing is not mandatory for all vehicles. Requirements for testing vary from state to state, and Illinois has its own set of determining factors for mandatory testing. Testing is required for residents of any of the following Illinois counties:

  • Cook
  • DuPage
  • Lake
  • Kane
  • Kendall
  • McHenry
  • Will
  • Madison
  • Monroe
  • Clair

Vehicle inspections are mandatory for cars registered in the counties above that are gas-powered passenger vehicles manufactured in or after 1996 but is not less than 4 model years old. A DMV smog check is also mandatory for heavy-duty vehicles that are model year 2007 and newer and carry a gross vehicle weight of between 8,501 to 14,000 pounds.

In Illinois, when an emission test is required, you will receive a notice in the mail. You are required to register your vehicle before bringing it in for testing.

Smog Check Exemptions in Illinois

Auto emissions testing in Illinois is not required for every vehicle, as there are certain state regulations which exempt drivers from testing their vehicles in the state. Maintaining a smog check history is important, regardless of an exemption. Test exemptions are available to motorists who have vehicles year 1967 and older or 1995 and older as long as the vehicle is compliant with the Illinois Vehicle Emissions Inspection Law as of February 1, 2007. Other inspection exemptions include the following:

  • Diesel vehicles
  • Electric vehicles
  • Motorcycles and mopeds
  • Antique vehicles
  • Custom vehicles
  • Street rods
  • Farm vehicles

Out-of-State Emissions Testing in Illinois

An Illinois smog test is required for residents, even if they are temporarily out of state. A DMV smog check must be performed on a vehicle if it is registered in a county which requires testing. Inspection requirements are determined based on compliance and regulations of the county of registration.

You can have a smog test performed out-of-state on your vehicle, if necessary. If your car is located in a state that does not offer testing, you may be exempt from the inspection cycle for that time period. If you have an out-of-state registration and are temporarily in the state, then you are not required to pass testing in the state.

Emissions Waivers in Illinois

If an IL smog check results in a failure, there may be a necessity to apply for the smog certification waiver in the state. To be eligible for the waiver, your vehicle must have failed inspection, met the necessary repairs and failed testing yet again.

To apply for a waiver, your vehicle must also have all emissions control equipment intact and operational, spent at least $450 in testing-related repairs and have all proof of repairs by an accredited repair technician. To request an Illinois smog test waiver, contact the Secretary of State office for further instructions.

Testing Fees in Illinois

The emission test cost varies by county, testing location and required testing. Voluntary smog tests require a $20 fee. However, prices for other testing services vary. For further pricing information, contact the smog check station nearest you. Costs for testing completed out of state will also have varying fees. Contact the testing service in your area for prices.

Where to Perform an Emissions Check in Illinois

While searching “car inspection near me” online might seem like the simplest way to find a smog test station, a bit more specification may be required. Any authorized testing location in Illinois that has been licensed by the state is eligible to perform a smog check on your vehicle. An official testing station will have a sign issued by the Illinois Vehicle Services Department.

A simple internet search for “emissions testing near me” may be a better way to locate the testing center closest to your zip code. Keep in mind, vehicle inspections for light-duty vehicles may be only available in certain locations.

Failing an Illinois Smog and Emissions Test

Failing the IL smog test means that your vehicle is not up to the pollution control standards set by the state. Failing a safety and emissions test in Illinois means you will need to have your vehicle repaired and then retested.

Make sure you maintain all repair receipts for your records. Certain testing stations in Illinois may offer repair on-site after a failure. These locations may even offer a smog check coupon if you have your car repaired in the same place as your vehicle is being tested.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.