Emissions testing is an important way to determine if your vehicle and engine are emitting harmful pollutants when in use. A smog check may be necessary for your vehicle depending on certain factors, and is usually needed for an initial car registration or annual vehicle registration renewals.

Inspection notices are sent annually to all motorists who must submit their vehicle for testing and will provide a date range in which testing must be completed. To learn more about vehicle testing in PA and smog check price ranges at testing locations, read the sections below.

Pennsylvania Emissions and Smog Check Requirements

Pennsylvania emissions testing is not required for all vehicles. Requirements for smog checks differ depending not the location in which a vehicle is primarily used. A car smoke test is required in PA if the car, van or truck is less than 9,000 pounds and was manufactured in 1975 or later and is registered counties such as Allegheny, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mercer, Philadelphia, Washington, Westmoreland and York.

All car testing done on vehicles which meet the requirements listed above will be valid for a period of 1 year. After that year, a test may not be necessary if the above-mentioned circumstances change.

Smog Check Exemptions in Pennsylvania

As mentioned previously, emissions testing in Pennsylvania is not a requirement for every vehicle. Certain smog certification exemptions are available if your vehicle:

  • Is a motorcycle.
  • Has been owned for a year or more and was driven less than 5,000 miles the year prior to the inspection.
  • Is a new vehicle with less than 5,000 miles.
  • Is a registered antique or classic collectible vehicle.
  • Is a registered street rod.

Maintaining a smog check history is important for your records and may help provide the necessary information needed for an exemption.

Out-of-State Emissions Testing in Pennsylvania

A smog test will need to be completed for all eligible vehicles by the testing date provided on the notice sent by the Pennsylvania DMV. If your inspection date comes and you happen to be temporarily out-of-state and will remain out-of-state over 30 days after the expiration, you can submit your vehicle for testing within 10 days of returning to the state. A vehicle inspection will still be necessary upon your return. Make sure you maintain proof of being out-of-state when you resubmit your vehicle to the testing location.

Emissions Waivers in Pennsylvania

If inspection results in a failure, you will be expected to have your vehicle repaired and re-examined. If the vehicle fails emissions testing again after being re-tested, you can apply for a smog certification waiver.

To be eligible for the 1-year waiver, you must have proof of having spent at least $150 in repairs after the re-examination, to be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. These test-related repairs must be completed by an accredited inspection station.

Testing Fees in Pennsylvania

The price of emissions tests varies, depending on the inspection station you visit. Auto emissions testing in Pennsylvania can range in price, from $25 to $39.99. To find out pricing at a specific location, contact your local testing location directly.

Where to Perform an Emissions Check in Pennsylvania

For some, searching online may seem like the easiest way to find an emissions testing center in their location. However, since testing fees vary, it is important to find the testing station that is most convenient.

To find a smog test station, simply look for the accreditation by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. These testing locations can perform both the safety and emissions inspections simultaneously, which can save you a trip and some money.

Failing a Pennsylvania Smog and Emissions Test

A failed smog test in Pennsylvania means that your vehicle will not be able to be driven, since the failure of an inspection results in a denial of registration renewal. If a test results in failure, you will be responsible for all repair costs that are necessary to have your vehicle retested. If your vehicle fails a safety and emissions test within 30 days after repairs, you may be eligible to apply for a test waiver.

Specific testing stations in Pennsylvania offer the courtesy and convenience of repairing your vehicle on-site after a test failure. These inspection stations may even offer a smog check coupon if you repair your vehicle in the same place as your inspection.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.