Before obtaining the car registration in Washington DC, you are obligated to take your car to the testing station and take the emissions test. This can be done at the main emissions testing station for the area. The main Washington DC emissions test station is located at 1001 Half Street, SW and it offers services for both safety and emissions tests. The DC inspection station hours vary for the winter and summer season and the station is open from Tuesday to Saturday.
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The DC inspection hours
The hours of operation for the DC inspection station change twice a year, depending on the weather if it is the winter or summer season. For the winter season from September to June, the station is open from 7 am to 3 pm Tuesday to Saturday, and from 8 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays. This schedule begins the first Tuesday of September. For the summer season from June to September, the DC inspection hours are from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday, except for Wednesdays when the station operates from 7 am to 2 pm The summer season schedule begins the first Tuesday of June.
|Winter Hours||Summer Hours|
|Tuesday – Saturday 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.*||Tuesday – Saturday 6 a.m. – 2 p.m.*|
|*Wednesday 8 p.m. – 3 p.m.||*Wednesday 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.|
Peak hours for DC emissions test
Being the main station for the area, the DC inspection station can be very busy depending on the time you decide to visit the station. The busiest hours are usually the first opening hour and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day. The busiest times are on Tuesdays and the days before or following a holiday, since the station is closed for most holidays. Below is the list of holidays when the station does not operate.
Federal Holidays are:
|New Year’s Day||Monday, January 2||Monday, January 1|
|Martin Luther King Day||Monday, January 16||Monday, January 15|
|Lincoln’s Birthday||Monday, February 13||Monday, February 12|
|Washington’s Birthday |
|Monday, February 20||Monday, February 19|
|Memorial Day||Monday, May 29||Monday, May 28|
|Independence Day||Tuesday, July 4||Wednesday, July 4|
|Labor Day||Monday, September 4||Monday, September 3|
|Columbus Day||Monday, October 9||Monday, October 8|
|General Election Day||Tuesday, November 6|
|Veterans’ Day||Friday, November 10||Monday, November 12|
|Thanksgiving||Thursday and Friday |
November 23 and 24
|Thursday and Friday |
November 22 and 23
|Christmas||Monday, December 25||Tuesday, December 25|
*Please note that the holidays can change since the state is continuously negotiating with various unions.
Best hours to visit the DC inspection station
The best times to visit the station are on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, the least busiest DC car inspection hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. The shortest average wait time is on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The general average wait time at this location is about 35 minutes. You can also shorten the wait time if you schedule an appointment online. The station offers the option to schedule the appointment, but this is not compulsory. You can visit the station without an appointment as well. For those that don’t have an appointment, the cars will be inspected on a first come-first serve basis. It is also important to mention that the senior citizens are allowed to proceed to the front of the line, once the station employee confirms their status.
Shorten the wait time
It is always important to make sure that your car is properly prepared for the emissions test. If your car is prepared, the inspection process can be over much faster. You should follow the station guidelines and make sure that you are well informed about the DC emissions test requirements. The car needs to be properly serviced, as the station will not be able to conduct an inspection if the car produces an excessive amount of smoke. As mentioned before, it is advised that you schedule an appointment online, prior to visiting the DC inspection station. Online inspection service appointment can be scheduled for all vehicles, including both commercial and non-commercial vehicles. The station has a no-pets-allowed policy and you shouldn’t bring your pets with you. Another important thing to note is that the station does not accept cash payments. Accepted payment options are checks, credit and debit cards, and money order. The fee for the inspection is to be paid when registering the vehicle, not at the emissions test station. The registration can also be done online. You can check the fees and costs of the DC emissions test here. For the info regarding the failures and retests, please visit the Washington DC – Emissions Testing Failures & Retests main page. In case you have any questions, you can also contact the main office at (202) 737-4404.