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Vehicle Emissions Testing in Ohio

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In Ohio, a vehicle emissions test is required for annual registration renewals. New vehicles are exempt for the first four model years. Renewal notices are sent annually to vehicle owners, and indicate whether and by what date an emissions test must be completed. All even model year vehicles must be tested during the even-numbered years and all odd model year vehicles must be tested during the odd-numbered years.


A vehicle requires an emissions test when:

  1. It is gasoline or diesel-fueled and has a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) equal to or less than 10,000 pounds
  2. It is 25 years old or newer from the current testing year
  3. It is registered in an E-Check county (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, or Summit counties)


Emission tests are valid for 365 days. A valid test is required to reinstate a suspended registration and to complete a 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:

  1. It is more than 25 years old, as determined by the vehicle model year.
  2. It is brand-new as all new vehicles are exempt for the first four years from manufacture date.
  3. It weighs more than 10,000 pounds GVW.
  4. It is a motorcycle, recreational vehicle or a motor home.
  5. It is a historical or collector's vehicle (contact Ohio BMV for more information).


Any Authorized Emissions Inspection Station licensed by the State can test your vehicle. Look for the official sign issued by the Ohio EPA to authorized testing stations. If you need further assistance, call 1-800-CAR-TEST (227-8378) to determine the location nearest you.


A motorist may receive up to three free tests within a 365 day period. The fourth test, and for the ones thereafter, the motorist will be charged $18 for the test. Only one free passing test is permitted in a 365 day period.


If your vehicle is unable to pass the emissions test, a form specifying the reasons for failure will be issued by the testing station. This form is issued for all vehicles made in 1981 and after. Next you must have the vehicle repaired, after which it must pass the after-repairs emissions test. The vehicle can be repaired at any repair station.
If your vehicle is unable to meet the emissions standard following the necessary repair work, a waiver may be issued at an E-Check test facility. There are two distinct types of waivers issued by the Ohio EPA:
1) The Conditional Pass waivers are issued to vehicles (made in 1995 or older) after the initial tailpipe test only. To qualify for this waiver the vehicle should exhibit:

  • A minimum 30 percent improvement from the initial emissions readings with the rest of the initially passed emissions readings not exceeding the state limits.
  • The valid receipts for repairs totaling to a minimum of $200, excluding tampering-related repairs.

2) The Repair Cap waivers apply to both On-board Diagnostics and tailpipe tests. They are issued to motorists who have spent $300 or more on repairs (excluding tampering-related costs) and are still unable to pass the test.
Motorists attempting to make major repairs to a vehicle at the time of initial registration or registration renewal may even apply for a four month extension to meet the testing requirements. An Ohio E-Check Exemption/Extension Application must be completed in both cases and either taken to an Ohio EPA E-Checkfield office, or mailed to Ohio EPA E-Check, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049.


  • All active duty military personnel stationed outside Ohio and their spouses qualify for a military exemption. In this case an Ohio E-Check Exemption/Extension Application form must be completed.
  • Motorists who are out-of-state and in another state's testing area must have a vehicle emission test performed at a U.S. EPA approved program. Original test results must then be mailed to Ohio EPA, along with a completed Ohio E-Check Exemption/Extension Application and a copy of the vehicle registration.
  • If you have questions regarding exemptions, extensions, or waivers you may contact: Ohio EPA E-Check Program, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, (614) 644-3059 or you can call one of the Ohio EPA Field Offices.

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