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Emissions & Safety Inspections

​​​​​​​​A motor vehicle must pass an annual safety inspection before it can be registered in North Carolina or the registration can be renewed. The inspection must be completed within 90 days of renewing the vehicle.

During a safety inspection, a licensed mechanic examines a vehicle's headlights, signals, brakes, steering, windows and tires.

Motor vehicles registered in 19 North Carolin​a counties​ must also pass an emissions inspection, which is conducted at the same time as the safety inspection.

Failure to get a vehicle inspected by the due date will result in a vehicle's registration being blocked until the vehicle is inspected.

Out-of-State Exemptions

​To receive an out-of-state exemption, you will need to submit a vehicle maintenance receipt such as an oil change, tire rotation performed or other maintenance on the vehicle.  

The service invoice must include the name, phone number and address of the company who performed the service. The service invoice must also include vehicle information with plate or vin and vehicle year, make, model along with a recent date of service or an out-of-state inspection (showing vehicle information mentioned previously).

Documents sent must be dated within the past four months when received.

To request an exemption, go to the License & Theft Bureau Portal​ and select "Request a Service." ​​​​

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2/24/2023 2:35 PM

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