Ohio Smog Check / Emissions Test
The State of Ohio requires certain vehicles registered in qualified counties to pass a vehicle emissions test every two years. The Ohio DMV provides some residents with waivers and exemptions from testing. New Residents must get their vehicle’s VIN number inspected as a requirement for obtaining a first-time Ohio vehicle registration.
Requirements to Pass the Ohio Smog Check
Non-exempt vehicle registered in one of the following 7 counties must pass a smog check every 2 years.
If a vehicle registered in one of the above 7 counties falls into one of the following categories, it must get pass an emissions test.
- Gasoline vehicles weighing less than 10,000 lbs
- Diesel vehicles weighing less than 10,000 lbs
- Hybrids and flex-fuel vehicles (using gasoline or diesel)
- Motor vehicles 25 years or newer
Ohio-registered vehicles made in even-numbered model years must pass a smog check in even-number calendar years and Ohio-registered vehicles made in odd-numbered model years must pass a smog check in odd-number calendar years.
Smog Check Exemptions for Ohio Drivers
Vehicles registered outside of the 7 qualified Ohio counties do not need to pass a smog check in order to obtain an Ohio vehicle registration or registration renewal. Also, the Ohio EPA offers three other exemption types: temporary exemptions, permanent exemptions, and exemptions for vehicles permanently out of state.
Temporary Exemptions: If a vehicle owner falls under one of the following categories, they can apply for a temporary exemption:
- Military personnel and their dependents stationed out of state
- Ohio residents studying in out-of-state schools located in areas that do not have vehicle inspections. Exemptions applicants must provide a statement from their registrar and fill out and submit an Ohio E-Check Exemption/Extension Application
- The spouse of a recently deceased vehicle owner
Permanent Exemptions: If a vehicle falls under one of the following categories, the owner can apply for a permanent exemption for their vehicle provided the vehicle passes a visual inspection performed by an Ohio EPA field staff:
- Electric vehicles
- Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) that use propane, natural gas, butane, or alcohol
- Vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lbs with a non-commercial registration
If a vehicle falls under one of the following categories, the owner can apply for a permanent exemption for their vehicle without a visual inspection:
- Vehicles more than 25 years old
- Vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lbs with a commercial registration
- Vehicles with historical and collector registrations
- Motor homes
- Vehicles with parade and exhibition registrations
- Recreational vehicles (RVs)
Ohio residents who own one of the above vehicles must submit an exemption certificate. Contact a local Ohio DMV Office location to get further information concerning the special registration process for these vehicles.
Permanent Out of State Exemptions: If a vehicle registered in a required-smog check county will be permanently located out of Ohio within a non-testing area, the vehicle owner may be eligible for an exemption. The vehicle owner must submit to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles:
Vehicle owners can go to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Waivers, Extensions, and Exemptions page to find out more information.
Smog Check Fees
Ohio residents get 3 free tests a year. If they fail their first 3 tests then each additional test is $18.
Performing Emissions Testing in Ohio
To complete your Ohio vehicle emissions test, drive the vehicle to a vehicle testing location with:
- The vehicle’s title or registration
- The testing fee
If the vehicle passes the test, the vehicle owner will receive a Vehicle Inspection Report(VIR) from test personnel. The vehicle owner must use the VIR to show proof of getting their vehicle tested in order to receive an Ohio vehicle registration. The test results remain valid for 1 year.
To find out further details about vehicle testing procedures in Ohio, check out the Ohio EPA’s Testing Procedures page.
Failed Smog Inspections – Next Steps
Ohio-registered vehicles that do not pass their Ohio smog inspections, must get their vehicle’s emissions-related repairs fixed and get their vehicle retested. Emissions test personnel will provide details as to the reason the vehicle did not pass its emissions test. Vehicle owners have the choice of getting a vehicle repaired at the repair facility of their choice.
If a vehicle fails at least one smog inspection and the vehicle owner has made attempts to get emissions-related repairs completed, an Ohio E-check facility may provide a waiver to the vehicle owner. Vehicle owners may be eligible for either tail pipe test only waivers or OBD II and tail pipe test waivers.
Besides test waivers, vehicle owners may be eligible for a repair waiver as well as certain types of extensions if their vehicle is not already exempt. Check out the Ohio EPA’s Waivers, Extensions, and Exemptions page for more information.
Low Income? Apply for the Ohio Hardship Extension
Ohio registered drivers who are currently facing economic hardship and own a vehicle that failed an vehicle emissions test, can apply for a Hardship Extension. To qualify for the extension, the vehicle owner must submit the following:
- The vehicle’s registration, A copy of the vehicle’s Ohio title, or the vehicle’s notice for Application for Renewal Registration by Mail
- * A vehicle repair estimate from a legitimate repair facility equaling $75.00 or more for emission – related repairs indicated as causing the vehicle’s test failure
- A copy of the VIR from the vehicle’s failed inspection
*Repairs must be itemized and on the repair facility’s letterhead. Letter must also be dated within 60 days of the Hardship Extension application. The estimate may include expenses for parts or services, and diagnostic fees. The estimate must have the vehicle owner’s name and address, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and the vehicle’s license plate number.
Moved to Ohio – Smog Check Requirements
New Residents to Ohio that moved to one of the Ohio counties that require smog checks, must get their vehicle to pass a check when getting their vehicle registered for the first time in the state. The Ohio BMV provides a couple of options for new residents to comply with Ohio’s emissions testing requirements:
- New residents may go to a local Ohio BMV location and have their vehicle’s VIN inspected prior to completing a smog check at an Ohio E-Check test facility
- New residents can also purchase a test voucher at a testing location so they can obtain their vehicle’s registration first before completing an inspection. Once the vehicle completes a smog check, the Ohio BMV will reimburse the vehicle owner for the voucher fee of $18.
- New residents can first obtain their Ohio driver’s license with their updated Ohio address. Once a new resident obtains their driver’s license, they can use the new license along with the vehicle’s current registration to complete a vehicle inspection. Once the owner gets the vehicle to pass the vehicle inspection, they may obtain their Ohio vehicle registration.
New Ohio residents can find out more about how to get their vehicle inspection completed by checking out the Ohio BMV’s new resident inspection guide.
Transferring a Vehicle Title in Ohio – Smog Check Needed?
When transferring a vehicle title from one owner to another in Ohio, the new owner must get a smog check before registering the vehicle in their name.
Do Sellers Give Buyers a Valid Smog Certificate?
When a person buys a vehicle in one of the 7 qualified Ohio counties, they must get the vehicle to pass a smog check in order to successfully register the vehicle in their name.
Special Tips to Pass the Ohio Emissions Test
Ohio vehicle owners may want to get their vehicles 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 Ohio 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 Ohio’s smog check requirements, Ohio-registered drivers must get their vehicles to pass a vehicle emissions test. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Ohio page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Cleveland, Ohio
The City of Cleveland, in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, has a population of 388,072. Ohio-registered drivers with vehicles that require testing and living in Cleveland must get their vehicles to pass smog check. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Cleveland, Ohio page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Lorain, Ohio
The City of Lorain, in Lorain County, Ohio, has a population of 64,000. Ohio-registered drivers with vehicles that require testing and living in Lorain must get their vehicles to pass a smog check. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Location in Lorain, Ohio page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Toledo, Ohio
The City of Toledo, in Lucas County, Ohio, has a population of 287,000. Ohio-registered drivers with vehicles that require testing and living in Toledo must get their vehicles to pass a smog check. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Toledo,Ohio page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.