New Jersey Smog Check / Emissions Test
Most motor vehicles in the State of New Jersey require a vehicle emissions test. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) eliminated the safety inspection requirements for most vehicles. However, safety inspections must be completed on certain vehicles, such as commercial vehicles.
Requirements to Pass the New Jersey Smog Check
The state of New Jersey requires vehicles to pass a vehicle emissions tests every two years and for initial registrations. The New Jersey Motor vehicle Commission does not issue any smog check reminders for vehicle owners. Vehicle owners must refer to the inspection due date on windshield sticker issued during the previous inspection.
Gasoline, diesel, or bi-fueled vehicles made earlier than the last 5 model years with one of the following types of plates, must pass a smog check every two years or during its initial registration:
- Commuter vans
Diesel vehicles made in the 1997 model year or newer, and weighing less than 8500 lbs must also pass a smog check.
One-year Inspections: Some New Jersey-registered vehicles must also pass a “complete” vehicle inspection, which not only includes an emissions inspection but also a safety inspection. These vehicles, include:
- buses (passenger, governmental, no fee, or commercial)
- commercial gas or bi-fueled vehicles regardless of weight and commercial diesel vehicles
Low-Emissions Vehicle Program: Passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks made in the 2009 model year or later, and that do not weigh more than 8500 lbs must meet the California Low Emissions Vehicle Program standards. The vehicle’s Manufacturer Certificate of Origin (MCO) must state the vehicle is California emission certified, or USEPA 50 state-emission certified. If a vehicle’s MCO states the vehicle is Federal Emission certified or does not have any designation, the vehicle will require an exemption from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). Vehicle owners can download a form to request an exemption. Vehicle owners must also obtain a letter of approval from NJDEP get the vehicle titled.
Smog Check Exemptions for New Jersey Drivers
The New Jersey MVC exempts the following vehicles from smog checks:
- Contractor equipment in transit
- New vehicles not older than five years
- Electric vehicles
- Motorcycles and motorized bicycles
- * Diesel vehicles made in the 1996 model year or earlier
- * Diesel vehicles weighing between 8501 and 17,999 lbs
- Farm vehicles
- Vehicles operated by a county, municipality, fire district, or duly incorporated non-profit organization used for first aid, emergency, ambulance, rescue, or fire-fighting purposes
- Historic and collector vehicle
* In order for diesel vehicles to meet New Jersey MVC requirements, the vehicle must have passenger, not-for-profit, governmental, commuter vans, farmer, or farm truck plates.
For further details, refer to the State of New Jersey’s exemption criteria.
Smog Check Fees
Vehicle owners that get a smog check at a New Jersey emissions test facility do not pay a fee. However, Private Inspection Facilities (PIF) set fees for emissions testing. New Jersey encourages vehicle owners to call around to find the best price if they do not complete a smog check at a New Jersey state testing facility.
Performing Emissions Testing in New Jersey
New Jersey drivers must bring the following required documentation to their scheduled vehicle emissions test:
- driver’s license – driver must be at 17 years old. Drivers do not need to be the owner
- Vehicle registration
- proof of insurance:
The New Jersey MVC will accept a photocopy, fax, email, or online registration receipts in lieu of a registration certification.
Vehicles can be inspected up to two months prior to the vehicle’s inspection due date. Keep in mind that New Jersey registration due dates are not always the same as vehicle inspection due dates.
The following are the general steps followed when getting a New Jersey emissions test:
- A New Jersey emissions inspector will first determine the vehicle’s engine type and then prepare the vehicle for testing
- The emissions inspector will then perform an emission test; The type of test performed will depend on the year, make, and model of the vehicle
- The final testing stage is for the inspector to ascertain the stability of the vehicle’s emissions system by making sure no fumes escape from the system and into the environment
- After the inspector completes the vehicle emissions test, the inspector will replace the vehicle’s old windshield inspection sticker with a new one valid for two years
Failed Smog Inspections – Next Steps
If a vehicle does not pass a smog inspection, New Jersey inspection personnel will provide the vehicle owner with a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR). The VIR will state the time frame within the vehicle owner must get the required emissions-related repairs completed and the vehicle retested.
The inspection personnel will also provide the vehicle owner with an Emission Repair Form. This form outlines the vehicle’s mechanical issues for the repair technician to further diagnose and repair.
The New Jersey MVC will let New Jersey – registered vehicle owners to get the repairs completed at a state-approved Emission Repair Facility (ERF), or they can make the repairs themselves.
Moved to New Jersey – Smog Check Requirements
New residents moving to New Jersey have 14 days to get their vehicles to pass a smog check after obtaining a new state vehicle registration. Keep in mind that new residents do not have to transfer their out-of-state registration to New Jersey until either one of the following happens first: they have resided in New Jersey for at least 60 days, or the new resident’s out-of-state vehicle registration expires.
Do Sellers Give Buyers a Valid Smog Certificate?
Recently-purchased used vehicles that do not currently have a valid inspection sticker will be exempt from an emissions test.. The new owner will get a Green Card (From SS-19) when they register the vehicle. Bring the green card to an inspection location for a valid inspection sticker.
If you purchase a used, noncommercial vehicle, regardless of if you buy it in or out of New Jersey, you are not required to obtain an inspection until the vehicle is at least five model years old.
If you do purchase one of these vehicles, you will receive a decal that will be valid until the last day of the month registration, five years from the vehicle’s model year. You will also receive a form SS – 19 at the time of registration.
In order to inspect this vehicle you will need to bring form SS – 192 to a state operated inspection station along with a registration card, insurance ID card, and driver’s license. New-car dealers will also be allowed to issue new vehicle stickers that are less than five years old.
Getting an emissions test is the buyer’s responsibility when they purchase a vehicle from a private owner.
Special Tips to Pass the New Jersey Emissions Test
New Jersey vehicle owners may want to get their vehicle’s tested as soon as they receive their first testing notice. Allow extra time to get any needed repairs done before the vehicle’s registration expires. Also, if a vehicle owner plans to be out of town during the date when their registration expires, planning early will give owners time to meet the deadline. Here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure passing a New Jersey 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 sure the gas cap is on tight and is not broken. Keep the sealing surfaces in the cap clean so it can make a good seal. 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
- 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 stay in compliance of the State of New Jersey’s smog check requirements, New Jersey-registered drivers must get their vehicles to pass a vehicle emissions test. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in New Jersey pages below to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Newark, New Jersey
The City of Newark, in Essex County, New Jersey, has a population of 282,000 and is New Jersey’s largest city. New Jersey-registered drivers with vehicles that require testing and living in Newark must get their vehicles to pass an emissions inspection. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Newark, New Jersey page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Jersey City, New Jersey
The Jersey City in Hudson County, New Jersey, has a population of 265,000. New Jersey-registered drivers with vehicles that require testing and living in and around Jersey City must get their vehicles to pass an emissions inspection. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Jersey City, New Jersey page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Paterson, New Jersey
The city of Paterson, in Passaic County, New Jersey, has a population of 147,000 . New Jersey-registered drivers with vehicles that require testing, and living in or around the Patterson area must get their vehicles to pass an emissions inspection. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Paterson, New Jersey page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.