Vehicle emissions testing in Vermont happens on an annual basis as an effort to protect the environment from toxic and ozone-forming air pollutants. The Air Pollution Control Division of the Department of Environmental Conservation works with the VT DMV to ensure that each registered vehicle complies with emission requirements before being approved for an annual registration renewal. Learn more about VT emission test requirements and where to obtain vehicle emissions testing by reviewing the sections detailed below.

Vermont Emissions and Smog Check Requirements

A Vermont smog certification is required for all motor vehicles registered within the state. These emissions tests must be performed at a state-approved emissions testing station, and any vehicles new to the state of Vermont must be inspected within 15 days of the registration date. Gasoline-powered vehicles with a manufacture date of 1996 or newer and diesel-powered vehicles dated 1997 or newer must have an On-Board Diagnostics (OBDII) emissions test as part of their annual inspection. This applies to the majority of light duty trucks and passenger cars that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds or less.

In an OBDII emissions test, the technician checks to see if the vehicle’s check engine light turns on when the engine is running. Then the tech connects a scan tool that allows the car’s computer to communicate with the testing equipment. If any diagnostic codes arise, they are recorded and the emissions inspection scan tool is disconnected. The entire smog check process usually takes just a few minutes to perform.

The VT vehicle inspection process includes a visual walk-around inspection of the car’s main components, an examination of the interior and the engine compartment. At the end of the safety and emissions inspection, the technician will give you a copy of the smog certification form indicating the test results and any reasons for failure, if applicable.

A safety and emissions test in VT includes a check to make sure that the driver’s registration and insurance information is current and valid, so bring copies of these documents to your inspection. You will also need to bring a form of payment to the car emission test. Note that fees and accepted forms of payment vary by location, so call ahead to inquire about fees and preferred payment types.

Smog Check Exemptions in Vermont

Vermont offers very little in the way of smog check exemptions, as the state requires vehicles registered to operate on the state’s roadways to meet strict emissions control standards as outlined by the California Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Program. Antique exhibition vehicles manufactured in 1940 or before are exempt from emissions testing, but only if they have not been modified or altered since their original manufacturing. Motorcycles and electric vehicles are also exempt from emissions testing in VT.

Out-of-State Emissions Testing in Vermont

In most cases, emissions tests performed in other states are accepted by the state of Vermont, as long as their standards are similar. If you are temporarily residing in another state and your annual emissions inspection and vehicle registration are due, contact the Air Pollution Control Division for instructions on how to submit your out-of-state car emission test certificate along with your registration documents.

Emissions Waivers in Vermont

The Vermont emissions testing program was the first in the nation to adopt the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Program standards. This complex legislation details the acceptable emissions testing requirements, which are stricter than the ones that some other states abide by.

The LEV program requires Vermont dealerships to sell the cleanest cars available, which means that the majority of drivers will pass their safety and emissions inspections. However, car owners who struggle to finance necessary emissions inspection repairs can contact the DMV to obtain information about any available extension or waiver programs.

Testing Fees in Vermont

Vermont emissions testing locations set their own inspection fees, so they may vary by location. State law requires all smog check stations to set flat rates and clearly display their inspection fees besides their official inspection station certificate. Some stations offer coupons on rare occasions, so be sure to ask about any offers when you call to make an appointment.

Where to Perform an Emissions Check in Vermont

Emissions inspection in VT is carried out by certified technicians and mechanics at a statewide network of licensed testing centers. The Automated Vehicle Inspection Program of the VT DMV offers an online search feature to help you find a smog test station close to your home or place of business. Emissions testing locations are considered a vital contributor to the daily business transactions at many auto repair shops, tire shops and service stations.

Failing a Vermont Smog and Emissions Test

If your vehicle fails its Vermont smog test, it must be repaired to meet DMV standards for you to obtain a valid inspection sticker. Because some repairs related to emissions inspections can be costly, it is wise to check if any are covered by your vehicle’s warranty. Sometimes, a vehicle fails an inspection for simple reasons, such as an ill-fitting gas cap or a burned-out malfunction indicator light bulb.

Once you know what the problem is, you should fix the problem as soon as possible and retest your vehicle. If you continue to fail the test, you may be eligible for a waiver. Further action may also be taken by the state in some cases.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.