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Vehicle Emissions Testing in Tennessee

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In Tennessee, a vehicle emissions test is required for some original registrations, as well as for annual registration renewals. Renewal notices are sent annually to vehicle owners, and indicate whether and by what date an emissions test must be completed.


A car, truck, motor home or RV (recreational vehicle) requires an emissions test when:

  1. It runs on gas or diesel fuel
  2. It is a vehicle to be registered in Davidson, Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties, made after 1974 with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of up to 10,500 pounds
  3. It is a Memphis vehicle of any model year weighing less than 26,000 pounds


Emission tests are valid for 90 days. 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:

  1. It is a Middle Tennessee vehicle made in 1974 and earlier
  2. It is a new vehicle and has never been titled
  3. It is a motorcycle or moped
  4. Currently out of state or out of the testing area


Any Authorized Emissions Inspection Station licensed by the State can test your vehicle. Look for the official sign issued by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to authorized testing stations. The test standards and maximum fees will be displayed at the stations.


There is a maximum emissions testing fee set by the TDEC. The fee is $10. Only cash with bills less than or equal to $20 is accepted. Checks, money orders, and credit cards are not accepted.


If your vehicle fails the emissions test, the TDEC has an ASE certified mechanic on staff to assist you, who provides free diagnostic information and can help determine why the vehicle is not passing the test.
The vehicle is then issued an inspection certificate with a thirty-day grace period, by the motor vehicle emissions testing authority. After attempting the necessary repairs if the owner of any motor vehicle fails the emissions testing again, then the vehicle is eligible to apply for a waiver from further emissions testing for that year. This is only if the owner has attempted repairs to the vehicle of a pre-specified amount which varies according to the model year of the vehicle.
For more information on emission test failures you can call the toll-free TDEC Vehicle Testing Information Hotline: 1-866-329-9632.


  • If the vehicle is out of the State or the testing area a vehicle exemption can be applied for. To receive an exemption, a completed application form with documentation must be submitted to the Division of Air Pollution Control for processing.
  • For more information about emissions requirements, you can call (615) 532-8378 or toll-free 1-866-329-9632.
  • Vehicles made in 1996 or after need to undergo an onboard diagnostic test.
  • See also Vehicle History Reports.

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