Georgia Smog Check / Emissions Test
All gasoline cars and light-duty trucks (weighing 8,500 lbs or less) made between the 1994 – 2014 model years must get a vehicle emissions test. The State of Georgia created its Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) program in 1996 after the implementation of the Federal Clean – Air Act and the designation of the 13 counties in and around the Atlanta metropolitan area by the Federal government as “non-attainment areas” for meeting the Clean-Air Act’s regulation requirements.
Requirements to Pass the Georgia Smog Check
If a vehicle owner registers a gasoline car or light-duty truck (weighing 8,500 lbs or less) made in the 1994 – 2014 model years in one of the following counties, it must get a vehicle emissions test:
Once passed, Georgia vehicle owners do not need to complete another emissions inspection for 1 year (or one registration renewal cycle). The one-year inspection validation is good only for the same owner. The vehicle must be tested every year during the vehicle’s scheduled registration renewal due date – usually on the vehicle owner’s birthday.
Salvaged Vehicles in Georgia
A salvaged vehicle must be towed to a state-approved inspection station in order to be inspected. The owner must provide photos of the original, wrecked condition of the vehicle before they made any repairs to the vehicle as well as: a completed tag and title application, a T022 Request for Inspection of Rebuilt Motor Vehicle Form, a Labor and Parts Certification, a Form T-129, and payment for the inspection.
Smog Check Exemptions for Georgia Drivers
Georgia exempts certain vehicles from testing. If your vehicle falls under one of these categories it does not need to be tested:
- Vehicles weighing greater than 8,500 pounds
- Diesel or alternative fuel vehicles (battery electric, propane, natural gas, and hydrogen)
- Vehicles designated as Antique or Collector vehicles
- Motorcycles, recreational vehicles (RVs) and motorhomes
- Vehicles made in a model year 25 years old or older than the current test cycle
Hybrid vehicles such as: Ford Escape, Honda Insight, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Lexus RX, Mercury Mariner, Toyota Highlander, and Toyota Prius are not considered alternative-fuel vehicles and do require testing. Also, bi-fuel vehicles that operate on a 85% ethanol/gasoline blend, or bi-fuel vehicle’s that can operate on all propane or natural gas and gasoline, must be emissions tested while using 100% gasoline. This testing requirement is still enforced even if the owner does not fuel the vehicle with gasoline regularly.
If a Georgia vehicle owner who is 65 years or older, and meets the following criteria can apply and receive a Georgia Senior Exemption:
- Owns a vehicle made in a model year at least 10 year ago or older
- The vehicle’s odometer is not malfunctioning and the owner does not drive the vehicle more than 5,000 miles a year
- The vehicle owner applying for the Senior Exemption is the primary vehicle owner. (The applicant’s name is the first name listed on the title/registration of the vehicle)
To apply for a senior exemption, the applicant must submit the following documents to a Georgia Clean Air Force Customer Service Center or select State of Georgia Tag Offices:
- Completed Senior Exemption Application Form
- Proof of Age (Driver’s licence, Birth Certificate, or Passport)
- Proof of Car Ownership (Ex: A Georgia Car Title, Registration, or Renewal notice)
Non-Conforming Status for Georgia Registered Vehicles
Georgia also has a special status for certain vehicles called, “Non-Conforming Status”.If the following vehicles meet this status, they may have alternative rules for meeting Georgia’s testing requirements depending on the vehicle’s mechanical configuration or model year:
- Kit Cars – All kit cars that did not get classified as Non-Conforming before December 31, 1998, or the owner registered the kit car in one of the 13 counties where vehicles must pass an emissions inspection after December 31, 1998 must have all the emissions equipment installed that’s listed on the vehicle’s registration card to pass a test.
- Hot Rods – assembled or modified after December 31, 1998 can not receive Non-Conforming status.
- Grey Market Vehicles – As long as the vehicle’s model year is no later than 1985 the owner may apply for Non-Conforming status if the owner brought the vehicle into one of the 13 counties requiring vehicle emissions testing after December 31, 1998.
- Vehicles with Obsolete Parts – if in order for a vehicle to meet Georgia emissions requirements must get mechanical components replaced and the owner is unable to locate or the part is no longer manufactured, the owner can apply for Non-Conforming status. Georgia vehicle inspection personnel will require the owner to check local salvage yards, parts shops, and also online. If Georgia vehicle inspection personnel are able to locate the part, Non-Conforming status will not be granted to the vehicle.
Smog Check Extensions for Georgia Drivers
If a vehicle owner has a registered Georgia vehicle and is outside of a reasonable driving distance of one of the 13 counties requiring testing, they may be eligible for a Georgia out-of-area extension. Vehicle owners with vehicles registered in one of the covered counties for emissions testing who are residing in another county may still have to get their vehicle tested if they are out-of-town during the scheduled testing time. The general rule is if a vehicle owner currently lives in a county with a county seat within 100 miles of the covered county they have residence, then they can not get an out-of-area extensions for their vehicle. If a resident of one of the 13 covered counties has a motor vehicle requiring testing, and they are residing in one of the following out-of-state counties for school, business, or for military service they must get their vehicle tested:
Georgia validates out-of-area extensions for one year. Vehicle owners must get these extensions renewed every year and must get their vehicles tested when they return to their county of residence in or around the city of Atlanta metro area. Emissions inspection certifications from other states can not be used as proof of an emissions inspections in the State of Georgia. However, they can be used as proof for receiving an out-of-area extension. When applying for an out-of-area extension, the following documents must be submitted:
- Completed Out-of-Area Exemption application.
- Proof the applicant owns the vehicle – This can be done by the applicant providing the vehicle’s registration, renewal notice, or a copy of the vehicle’s title.
- Verification that a vehicle owner or family member is out of the area through the submission of the following completed documents.
- Out-of-Area Extensions for Business – A completed Employment Verification Form or a letter on company letterhead verifying the applicant’s employment with the organization and the location they will be working. Either one must be dated within 60 days of the extension application
- Out-of-Area Extensions due to School – A completed Student Verification Form, transcript, registration, or tuition bill. Georgia requires the school document be dated within 60 days of the extension application submissions and contain the student’s and school’s identifying information, and state the student is currently enrolled for classes.
- Out-of-Area Extensions due to Military Service – Copy of the applicant’s current or original military orders (The orders must have the applicant’s identifying information on them.) Or, the applicant’s commanding officer can write a letter on military letterhead stating the vehicle owner and the vehicle do not currently reside in the area the applicant is a resident. When submitting proof, the extension application also requires a copy valid military ID be submitted. Keep in mind intermediaries may submit the Out – of – Area Extension application on behalf of the applicant. If an intermediary submits the applications they must complete and sign the application, and also provide a copy of their driver’s license.
- Documented Proof of being Out-of-Area using one of the following documents:
- Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) from another municipality
- Traffic citation from the municipality the vehicle is currently located (parking decals do not qualify)
- Repair receipt from a repair shop in the municipality the vehicle is currently located
- A completed Vehicle Verification Form
- A statement dated within 60 days of the submission of the extension application from a municipal, military, or campus law enforcement/security organization. Georgia requires the statement be written on the source’s letterhead and include contact information. The statement must verify the registered vehicle is not in the county the owner has it registered. The VIN, year, vehicle make and model, and information expressing visual or physical confirmation the vehicle is out of the area.
If a resident of one of the 13 covered counties is Out – of – Area during their scheduled testing time other than for work, school, or military service, document the circumstances and send any documentation to verify your circumstances to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Smog Check Waivers for Georgia Drivers
If a registered Georgia vehicle does not pass its initial inspection, it must get repaired and retested. If after failing a retest, the owner may be eligible to receive a repair waiver. The state of Georgia takes into consideration how old your vehicle is as well as the emissions components available and installed on it when the state created its emissions testing standards.
Vehicle owners have 30 days from the date of the failed inspection to get the vehicle repaired and then get a free retest. If the owner takes longer than 30 days to get a vehicle retested then they must to pay the testing fee again. In order to get a Repair Waiver, the vehicle owner must meet the following requirements:
- The initial inspection cannot be more than one year old (12 months) or associated with a previous Repair Waiver or registration renewal.
- Emission-related repairs must meet or exceed an $855 Repair Waiver limit amount.
- The retested vehicle must show improvement in all areas it failed on, as well as pass all areas it passed on in the first test.
- Repair receipts from each emission-related repair attempt can be considered toward a Repair Waiver as long as each dated receipt is 60 days before or after the corresponding failed emissions test.
- Repair receipts must be from a repair facility possessing a valid business license.
- All emission-related repairs, including a diagnostic analysis, parts, and labor can be used toward the Repair Waiver limit amount.
- Labor costs from a company not possessing a business license will not count toward the Repair Waiver limit amount.
- If required, the repair facility’s business license must be obtainable.
- If the owner performs the emissions – related repairs on the vehicle, only the cost of parts will be considered toward the Repair Waiver limit amount.
- Repairs and parts must be itemized and identifiable for consideration.
- Repair receipts must identify the vehicle’s VIN, year, make, and model, or tag number, make, and model).
Be aware the following can not count toward a Repair Waiver expense limit:
- Emissions inspection fees
- Warranty work
- Disposal fees
- Miscellaneous charges
- Shop supplies
To apply for a Repair Waiver, the following documents must be submitted when applying:
- A completed Repair Waiver Application.
- Scanned copies of Georgia Vehicle Inspection Reports (VIRs) from the vehicle’s previous failed tests.
- All original receipts from completed emissions-related repairs having the vehicle’s VIN or tag number and the model year, vehicle make, vehicle model.
- A copy of the vehicle’s Georgia registration, Georgia renewal notice (from within the previous year), or the vehicle’s Georgia title
- A completed emissions test after the owner completes all repairs
Georgia repair waivers are not renewable or transferable. Allow 3 business days to process all Repair Waiver applications.
H3: Smog Check Fees
Smog check fees can cost up to $25 per vehicle. Vehicle testing locations post the fee for vehicle emissions inspections on a sign at the location.
Performing Emissions Testing in Georgia
The Georgia Clean Air Force, the Georgia EPA’s vehicle testing organization, recommends getting a vehicle emissions test 4 – 6 weeks before the vehicle’s registration renewal date. Vehicle owners can get their vehicles tested at any service station with a sign indicating they do vehicle testing. Stations with signs displayed stating “ 1996 and newer” only test vehicles made in the 1996 model year or newer. Stations with the “All Vehicles Welcome” sign test 1995 and older model year vehicles as well as 1996 and newer vehicles.
All motor vehicles made in the 1996 model year and newer vehicles will receive the following tests:
- An OBDII test
- A Gas Cap SealTest
- A visual Catalytic Converter Inspection
All motor vehicles made in the 1995 and older will receive the following tests:
- A Two-Speed Idle Test – Test personnel measure a vehicle’s emissions at a low and high engine RPM level
- Or, an Accelerated Simulation Mode (ASM2) test – This ASM2 test includes an emissions test under load using two different simulations: a 25/25 test (25 percent load at 25 MPH) and a 50/15 test (50 percent load at 15 MPH)
- A Gas Cap SealTest
- A visual Catalytic Converter Inspection
Failed Smog Inspections – Next Steps
Motor vehicles do not pass Georgia’s vehicle emissions test requirements typically because:
- Malfunctioning Oxygen sensor
- Malfunctioning EGR valve
- Air filter needing replaced
- Malfunctioning spark plugs
- Vacuum system leaks
- Malfunctioning fuel cap
Moved to Georgia – Smog Check Requirements
New residents moving to one of the 13 “covered” counties in or around the Atlanta metro area has 30 days to get their vehicle registered and tested once they arrive.
Transferring a Vehicle Title in Georgia – Smog Check Needed?
If transferring a title to a new owner through sale, gift, or inheritance the new owner has 30 days to get the vehicle registered and tested if registering the vehicle on one of Georgia’s 13 “covered” counties.
Do Sellers Give Buyers a Valid Smog Certificate?
If buying a brand new vehicle the vehicle is exempt from requiring a smog check for the 3 years so Georgia residents living in one of the 13 counties in and around Atlanta do not need to be concerned about getting a smog check after buying a new motor vehicle.
For vehicle’s older than 3 years, the seller must make sure the vehicle has passed a Georgia smog check if the buyer is going to register the vehicle in one of Georgia’s 13 “covered” counties. Vehicle sellers are not required by Georgia law to provide a buyer with a hard copy of a vehicle’s Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR). Georgia tag offices keep VIRs on file electronically and a buyer can get one there.
If purchasing a vehicle from out of state, the buyer has 30 days to get the vehicle registered and tested in a one of the “covered” counties.
Special Tips to Pass the Georgia Emissions Test
The State of Georgia suggests vehicle owners get their vehicle’s tested four to six weeks before their vehicle’s registration renewal date. This date usually falls on the owner’s birthday. The extra time will allow the owner to have time to get any needed repairs done before their registration expires. Also, if a vehicle owner will be out of town during the time when they need to get their vehicle tested, the owner may choose to get their vehicle tested earlier. Here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure passing a Georgia vehicle emissions test:
- Make sure the vehicle does not have its “Check Engine” light on; If it does, it will not pass the test. To fix, check to make the gas cap is on tight. If it is not, tighten it and drive around to see if the light goes off.
- Follow the vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule. Many of the mechanical issues that cause vehicles to fail their tests can be addressed during a routine check-up
- If your vehicle is a make and model year when catalytic converters came standard on the vehicle, make sure your vehicle has one and is not malfunctioning; If it does not have one or it is not working, it will not pass the test
- Allow your vehicle to run for at least 10 minutes before it takes a test to insure an accurate reading
- Research your vehicle manufacturer’s recalls, Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs), and warranties before getting any repairs done. The cost of their repair maybe covered by the manufacturer.
- If your vehicle’s On Board Diagnostic (OBDII) system is showing trouble codes, make sure to get them fixed by a certified emissions mechanic. Do not just try to clear the codes.Test personnel will know and the vehicle will not pass inspection.
- If your vehicle is misfiring when it is idling, make sure to get this addressed before taking the test
- Check your vehicle’s gas cap and make sure it’s not broken. Keep the sealing surfaces in the cap clean so it can make a good seal
- If a vehicle’s battery is brand new, drive the vehicle for a couple of days before taking it to get an On Board Diagnostics test so as to allow the OBD system to reset
- Make sure the vehicle’s oil is not dirty. Get the oil changed on a routine basis
- Maintain the recommended air pressure in your vehicle’s tires
- Inspect your vehicle’s hoses and belts for wear. Get them replaced if necessary
- Get any mechanical issues with your vehicle’s transmission address and fixed. Transmissions problems can affect your vehicle’s emissions and cause your vehicle to fail its test.
- If your motor vehicle’s emissions system has a mechanical issue, check your manufacturer’s warranty. Federal law states emissions systems on vehicles made in the 1995 and newer model years must have their emissions systems warrantied for two years or 24,000 miles.
- If the OBDII diagnostic system or catalytic converter on your vehicle made in the 1995 model year or newer has a mechanical issue, check your vehicle’s manufacturer’s warranty also. Federal regulation states these vehicles must have a warranty on their OBDII and catalytic converters for eight years or 80,000 miles.
Find Smog Check Stations Near Me
To find a Smog Check location in the state of Georgia, check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Georgia pages below.
Smog Check Stations in Fulton County, Georgia
The State of Georgia only requires Smog Checks of motor vehicles registered in the 13 counties in or surrounding the City of Atlanta metro area. To find a DMV or testing location in or around Atlanta, check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Fulton County, Georgia page to find a DMV office or vehicle testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Dekalb County, Georgia
The State of Georgia only requires Smog Checks of motor vehicles registered in the 13 counties in or surrounding the City of Atlanta metro area. To find a DMV or testing location in or around Atlanta, check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Dekalb County, Georgia page to find a DMV office or vehicle testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Cherokee County, Georgia
The State of Georgia only requires Smog Checks of motor vehicles registered in the 13 counties in or surrounding the City of Atlanta metro area. To find a DMV or testing location in or around Atlanta, check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Cherokee County, Georgia page to find a DMV office or vehicle testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Forsyth County, Georgia
The State of Georgia only requires Smog Checks of motor vehicles registered in the 13 counties in or surrounding the City of Atlanta metro area. To find a DMV or testing location in or around Atlanta, check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Forsyth County, Georgia page to find a DMV office or vehicle testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Cobb County, Georgia
The State of Georgia only requires Smog Checks of motor vehicles registered in the 13 counties in or surrounding the City of Atlanta metro area. To find a DMV or testing location in or around Atlanta, check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Cobb County, Georgia page to find a DMV office or vehicle testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Gwinnett County, Georgia
The State of Georgia only requires Smog Checks of motor vehicles registered in the 13 counties in or surrounding the City of Atlanta metro area. To find a DMV or testing location in or around Atlanta, check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Gwinnett County, Georgia page to find a DMV office or vehicle testing location in your area.