DMV & Emissions Testing Locations In Delaware


Delaware Smog Check / Emissions Test

Residents in the State of Delaware commonly get a vehicle emissions test biannually or when they get a new title for a vehicle. The test has two parts, a safety inspection, and the emissions inspection. The safety inspection allows Delaware test personnel to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive and does not pose a hazard to the owner or the general public. The test makes sure that a vehicle meets Delaware’s vehicle inspection requirements.

To complete the test, a vehicle owner must drive their car to a state emissions testing facility and enter one of the testing lanes. They must bring the vehicle’s registration card. Testing personnel will ask for the card and the vehicle’s odometer reading. A testing technician will then enter the information into their diagnostic computer. The computer will tell the personnel which test is appropriate for the vehicle.

People moving to Delaware and seeking residents must complete a test before getting their car registered with the Delaware DMV. Delaware administers different emissions tests depending on the model year, fuel type, and weight of the vehicle.  Delaware does provide exemptions and waivers so check out our information below to see if your vehicle qualifies, and check out our Delaware DMV or Smog Check Location pages below to find out more information for your specific location.

Also, make sure your vehicle meets Delaware’s insurance coverage requirements.

If you know you need an Emissions test done click here to select your county and find the nearest location.

Requirements to Pass the Delaware Smog Check

The State of Delaware requires vehicles to get tested if:

  • A new resident is seeking to register a vehicle for the first time.
  • A vehicle owner is renewing their vehicle’s registration.
  • A Delaware state law enforcement officer orders a vehicle to pass a vehicle emissions test. There is a 5-day time frame usually to complete an emissions request ordered by law enforcement. If a vehicle owner does not comply, they may lose their registration.

Smog Check Exemptions for Delaware Drivers

If your vehicle falls into one of these categories it does NOT require smog check:

  • Vehicles weighing more than 8500 lbs
  • Vehicles made before the 1967 model year
  • Diesel vehicles made prior to the 1997 model year
  • Motorcycles or mopeds
  • Vehicles made in the last 5 model years

Smog Check Fees

The four, full-service, Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles testing facilities do not charge Delaware residents to get their vehicles tested. Though, the Delaware DMV does charge for titles and registrations.

Performing Emissions Testing in Delaware

Delaware test personnel perform Catalytic Converter Inspections and Gas Cap Pressure Test. They also do On Board Diagnostic Test, the Two-Speed Idle Test, and the Curbside Idle Test. When test personnel finishes administering an inspection the vehicle owner will receive a computer-generated Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) containing the results of the emissions and fuel system tests.

Catalytic Converter Inspection – Drivers seeking to register their vehicles in Delaware must get an inspection of their catalytic converter.  U.S. car manufacturers install catalytic converters in most vehicles. Catalytic converters turn polluting vehicle emissions into non-toxic, non-polluting substances. Removing a catalytic converter from a vehicle will cause the vehicle to fail its inspection and is a federal offense. If your vehicle was originally equipped with a catalytic converter, Delaware DMV technicians perform a visual inspection to make sure your vehicle: has a catalytic converter installed, has the catalytic converter that has not been tampered with, and has the catalytic converter that functions properly.

Gas Cap Pressure TestThe Delaware DMV requires a Gas Cap Pressure Test for most vehicles when getting an emissions test. The Gas Cap Pressure Test detects fuel leaks in a vehicle’s fuel system and whether and checks to make sure the vehicle’s fuel cap works properly. When testing for leaks in your vehicle’s fuel system, Delaware DMV test personnel clasp shut the hose leading from the fuel tank and into the evaporative canister. Next, a test technician applies internal pressure to the fuel tank. Then, the technician looks for leaks in the vehicle’s fuel system. Last, the technician checks your vehicle’s fuel cap to make sure it has a tight seal and is not malfunctioning.

OBDII (On Board Diagnostic) Test – The Delaware DMV requires all vehicles made in the 1996 and newer model years to get an ODBII test. The OBDII computer system installed in U.S. manufactured vehicles made in the 1996 and newer model years is a mechanical issue early-warning system. It constantly monitors a vehicle’s engine and emissions system, and lets test personnel know when a mechanical issue in the vehicle needs to be addressed. While the key is in the ignition and the engine is off, a Delaware DMV test technician will make sure the OBD connector is working properly. Then, the test technician hooks a diagnostic test computer up to your vehicle’s Diagnostic Link Connector (DLC) using a cable to allow the technician’s testing tool to communicate with the vehicle’s OBDII system. The test technician can check your vehicle’s engine and emissions systems and see if the OBD system shows any maintenance codes that require attention. The test personnel can complete the test in around 2 minutes.

Delaware Tailpipe Emissions Tests in Delaware

There are two kinds of tailpipe emissions tests the Delaware DMV performs on vehicles, the curbside idle test, and two-speed idle test. The general test procedures followed by the DMV test personnel are similar for both tests:

  1. A DMV test technician will direct the vehicle owner to drive their vehicle to a position in the inspection lane.
  2. The technician then instructs the owner to place the vehicle into  “Park” or “Neutral” and engage the parking brake.
  3. The technician will request the registration card or title, and mileage of the vehicle so they can verify the VIN number by matching it to the VIN number listed on the registration card or title with the vehicle’s VIN plate.
  4. The technician will then input the vehicle’s license plate number, VIN number, or scan the VIN barcode into a Delaware DMV computer to authenticate the vehicle’s information.
  5. The technician next inserts an exhaust monitor at least 10 inches into the vehicle’s tailpipe. They will use a dual-exhaust monitor on dual-exhaust vehicles.
  6. The technician will then advise the vehicle owner with respect to which test they perform on the vehicle.
  7. After finishing the above steps, the vehicle owner can go on to finish the next steps in the Delaware DMV’s inspection process.

After the vehicle completes its tailpipe test, the DMV technician may administer a safety inspection of the vehicle. If the vehicle emits smoke from its tailpipe, the tailpipe emissions test will be stopped and the vehicle will not pass its inspection.

Certain vehicle makes and models that do not pass their initial tailpipe test will be reconditioned by revving the engine for 30 seconds to reset the emissions system. The vehicle will be retested immediately. These vehicles are:

  • Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles. This includes all cars made in the 1981 model year or newer and all trucks made in between the 1984 to 1990 model years
  • Honda Preludes made between the 1984 and 1985 model years
  • Saturn’s made in the 1991 and newer model years

There are also other makes and models that will not be able to be reconditioned and retested during their scheduled tailpipe emissions test: These vehicles are:

  • BMW’s made between the 1984 -1986 model years with automatic transmissions
  • BMW’s 635, 734 or L7 made in the 1997 model year
  • Volvo’s made in the 1984 and 1988 model years with automatic transmissions
  • Peugeot 505’s made between the 1986 – 1987 model years Peugeot 505’s with automatic transmissions

The reason for this requirement is due to the potential of causing the vehicle’s transmission to malfunction.

Two – Speed Idle Test (TSI) – The Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles requires the majority of gasoline cars and light trucks made between the 1981 and 1995 model years to get a Two-Speed Idle Test (TSI). Test personnel measures the vehicle’s emissions at a low (curb idle) RPM and at a High (around 2500) RPM. A test technician will direct the vehicle owner to place the vehicle in “Park” or “Neutral” while they measure the vehicle’s emissions. The technician will use a tachometer device to measure the engine’s RPM and will advise the owner about running the engine at the low and high idle speeds. The technician will use the tachometer to guide the vehicle owner as to how fast to rev the engine. Keep in mind vehicles registered in New Castle and Kent Counties also receive an evaporative recovery pressure test and a tampering inspection.

Curbside Idle Test – The Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles requires gasoline cars made between the 1968-1980 model years and gas light trucks made between the 1970 and 1980, and all Sussex County registered vehicles to receive a Curbside Idle Test. Delaware DMV test personnel insert a test probe into a vehicle’s tailpipe while the vehicle idles. The test takes usually about a minute. No pressure shall be applied to the gas pedal by the vehicle owner when a technician administers the test.

Failed Smog Inspections – Next Steps

The State of Delaware has several parts of its smog inspection. All of the required test procedures must be passed in order to meet Delaware’s vehicle emissions test requirements. If your vehicle did not pass any part of the smog inspection required for it, the vehicle owner must get the vehicle checked out by a mechanic.

When visiting your mechanic, make sure to provide them with the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) provided at the completion of your vehicle inspection. The VIR will state the reasons your vehicle did not pass its emissions inspection. Once the owner, a certified emissions repair technician, or a repair technician of the owner’s choice makes the designated repairs listed in the VIR, the owner must drive the vehicle back to a Delaware DMV testing location recheck lane to have the vehicle’s repairs verified by the Delaware DMV.

If the vehicle does not pass its first emissions inspection and your Delaware vehicle registration renewal deadline is coming near, vehicle owners can receive a one time, 30 days, temporary tag. The tag costs $10. Just go to any Delaware DMV to obtain a temporary tag.

Not Passing the Gas Cap Pressure Test in Delaware

If a vehicle does not pass a Delaware Gas Pressure Test it means the DMV technician found an issue with:

  • The vehicle’s fuel tank
  • Gas Cap
  • Evaporative canister
  • The hose connecting the fuel tank and evaporative canister

Not passing the pressure test means most likely that the technician found a fuel leak or there are fuel vapors being released from some point in the vehicle’s fuel system. Vehicle owners may be able to complete some repairs found through a Gas Cap Pressure Test. For example, a malfunctioning fuel cap can simply be replaced by the owner. To be safe, consult with test personnel or your mechanic before making repairs yourself on a fuel system. Not repairing a fuel system correctly may cause a fire or a vehicle explosion.

Not Passing the Catalytic Converter Test in Delaware

Not passing the Catalytic Converter Test may mean the emissions inspector found that your vehicle’s catalytic converter is malfunctioning, signs someone tampered with the catalytic converter, or your vehicle does not have its catalytic converter. Be aware that there are a series of guidelines and procedures put in place by the US EPA for replacing or installing a catalytic converter. The EPA requires that these guidelines be followed by law.

Not Passing the On-Board Diagnostic Test in Delaware

Your vehicle may not have passed a Delaware OBDII Test if:

  • The “Check Engine” light (or MIL) is on
  • The OBD system displays a trouble code indicating a mechanical requiring service
  • The “Check Engine” light (or MIL) malfunctions or does not come on

Not Passing a Tailpipe Emissions Test in Delaware

There are two major reasons your vehicle may not have passed the Two-Speed Idle Test or the Curbside Idle Test in Delaware. Either your vehicle has too high of Carbon Monoxide or too high of Hydrocarbon emissions coming out of its tailpipe. Vehicles emitting too much of either type of emissions usually have either some sort of internal engine malfunction, or a missing or malfunctioning catalytic converter.

A vehicle emitting high Carbon Monoxide (CO) can be caused by:

  • Malfunctioning catalytic converter
  • Rich Idle air/fuel mixture (misfiring)
  • Air filter needing to be replaced
  • Malfunctioning heat riser
  • The engine not idling at the correct speed
  • Malfunctioning choke
  • Malfunctioning PCV valve

A vehicle emitting high Hydrocarbons (HC) can be caused by:

  • Malfunctioning catalytic converter
  • Ignition not timed correctly
  • Malfunctioning PCV valve
  • Lean Idle air/fuel mixture
  • Malfunctioning spark plug wire (s)
  • Malfunctioning air pump
  • Vacuum leak
  • Malfunctioning spark plug(s)
  • Malfunctioning ignition EGR valve

Emissions Test Waivers in Delaware

Vehicles that do not pass certain parts of Delaware’s vehicle inspections process may qualify for a waiver. Vehicles that fail the Gas Cap Pressure Test or any part of the Delaware vehicle safety inspection portion of the requirements are not eligible for a waiver.

Delaware On Board Diagnostic Waiver Policy

If a vehicle fails a Delaware OBD test, the owner may apply for and receive a waiver under certain circumstances. In order to be considered for the ODB test waiver, the vehicle owner must:

  • Spend the required expenditure amount on repairs listed in the Certified Emissions Repair Technician (CERT) list. The amount changes periodically.
  • Have the repairs completed by a CERT or a Certified Manufacturer Repair Technician (CMRT)
  • Have all receipts stamped by the certified repair technician
  • Turn in a completed vehicle emissions repair report form with the stamped receipts to the Delaware DMV

Note that any repair receipts older than 90 days cannot be tallied toward the waiver’s required expenditure amount.

Delaware’s Tailpipe Emissions Test Waiver Policy

If a vehicle does not pass either the Two-Speed Idle or the Curbside Idle Tests, there are waivers a vehicle owner may apply for from the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles. The appropriate waiver for the vehicle depends on the vehicle’s model year, mileage, and the county the owner registered the vehicle in.

Make sure to save your VIR. Vehicle owners must submit the VIR for review before getting their emissions retested at the Delaware DMV retest lane. U.S. vehicle manufacturers may grant extended warranty coverage on some emission components for up to eight (8) years and 80,000 miles. Follow – up with your dealership or vehicle manufacturer before getting your vehicle’s emissions – related repairs completed. Be aware that repair receipts older than 90 days will not be accepted as proof of meeting the waiver’s minimum expenditure requirement.

Delaware Tailpipe Emissions Test Waiver Options

There are 3 waiver options the Delaware residents can apply for if their vehicle does not pass its Tailpipe Emissions Test.

  1. The first waiver option is for vehicles made in the model years from 1968 to 1980. If a vehicle owner has spent a minimum of $75 on emission-related repairs their vehicle qualifies for this waiver.
  2. The second waiver option is for vehicles made during the 1981 or newer model years and registered in Sussex County. Additionally:
    • Be five years old or older, or have more than 50,000 miles on the odometer
    • The Delaware DMV requires vehicle owners to spend a minimum of $200 on emission-related repairs
  3. The third waiver option is for vehicles made in the 1981 or newer model years. The vehicle must be registered in either New Castle or Kent Counties, and must be older than five years or have been driven more than 50,000 miles.

In order to be considered for the Tailpipe Emissions Waiver, the vehicle owner must:

  • Spend at least $879 on emissions-related repairs (the amount changes periodically)
  • Have the repairs completed by a CERT or a Certified Manufacturer Repair Technician (CMRT)
  • Have all receipts stamped by the certified repair technician
  • Turn in a completed vehicle emissions repair report  form with the stamped receipts to the Delaware DMV

Additionally, if the vehicle owner completes the necessary repairs on their vehicle’s primary control components themselves after not passing a Tailpipe Emissions Test, then they must also meet these requirements as well:

  • The cost of repairs completed to primary emissions controls by the owner can be used to qualify for a Tailpipe Emissions Repair Waiver’s minimum expenditure limit
  • No labor expenses can be used toward qualifying for a Waiver’s minimum expenditure limit
  • The Delaware DMV requires a Certified Emissions Repair Technician (CERT) or a Certified Manufacturer Repair Technician (CMRT) to check all emissions-related parts installed or repaired by the owner
  • The Delaware DMV also requires a CERT or CMRT to review and stamp all emissions – related repair receipts from the owner requesting an emissions waiver

Moved to Delaware – Smog Check Requirements

New residents must get their vehicles titled and registered within 60 days of moving to Delaware. One of the requirements for obtaining a new registration is proof that your vehicle passed a Delaware vehicle emissions test unless your vehicle is exempt. Vehicle owners will not receive a new vehicle registration until they do. Also, new residents must update any address information with the Delaware DMV within 30 days.

Special Tips to Pass the Delaware Emissions Test

Here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure passing a Delaware vehicle emissions test:

  • Make sure the vehicle does not have its “Check Engine” light on; If it does, it will not pass the test
  • If your vehicle is a make and model year when catalytic converters came standard on the vehicle (1996 or newer), make sure your vehicle has one; If it does not, it will not pass the test
  • Allow your vehicle to run for at least 10 minutes before it takes a test to ensure an accurate reading
  • If your vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBDII) system is throwing 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
  • If a vehicle’s battery is brand new, drive the vehicle for a couple of days before taking it to get an ODBII test so as to allow the OBD system to reset

Delaware will not let a vehicle owner renew their vehicle’s registration unless the vehicle passes an emissions test first. If your vehicle fails a test and it is close to the due date for your registration renewal, check to see if your vehicle can get a temporary registration while addressing the vehicle’s emissions-related repairs. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Delaware pages below to inquire with your local Delaware DMV office about temporary registrations for your vehicle.

Find Smog Check Stations Near Me

Delaware was one of the original 13 colonies and was the first state created in the United States. It is the second smallest state by geography in the country, has only 3 counties, and has a population of 950,000.  Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Delaware pages below to find a local Delaware DMV office or smog check location in your area.

Smog Check Stations in Wilmington, Delaware

The city of Wilmington in New Castle County is the most populated city in the state of Delaware. Wilmington is also the county seat of New Castle County. The city has a population of 71,400 and is part of the Wilmington metropolitan area made up of New Castle County Delaware, Cecil County Maryland, and Salem County New Jersey.  Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in New Castle County, Delaware page to find a local Delaware DMV office or smog check location in your area.

Smog Check Stations Sussex County, Delaware

Sussex, County Delaware is the most Southern County in the 3 county state of Delaware. The population of the county is 197,000. The county seat is the city of Georgetown. Frankford and Seaford are two other notable cities within the county. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Sussex County, Delaware page to find a local Delaware DMV office or smog check location in your area.

Auto Insurance

Getting car insurance is one of the requirements that vehicle owners need to fulfill in order to register and claim the title for their vehicles in the Department of Motor Vehicles. Vehicle insurance companies in the United States offer full auto insurance and liability coverage that protects the drivers in case of a traffic accident.