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Emissions Inspections

​​​​​In conjunction with an annual safety inspection, motor vehicles registered in 19 North Carolina counties in the table below must undergo an on-board diagnostic emissions inspection as part of requirements to keep air quality standards in compliance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

  • Alamance
  • Buncombe
  • Cabarrus
  • Cumberland
  • Davidson
  • Durham
  • Forsyth
  • Franklin
  • Gaston
  • Guilford
  • Iredell
  • Johnston​
  • Lincoln
  • Mecklenburg
  • New Hanover
  • Randolph​
  • Rowan
  • Wake
  • Union
  • Exemptions

    Vehicles are exempt from emissions inspections under the following conditions:

    Antique Vehicles
    Vehicles 30 years old or older may qualify for an antique automobile license plate​​. Those vehicles with an antique automobile license plate are exempt from both annual safety and emissions inspections​. Antique plates should be used for vehicles primarily used for exhibitions, club activities, parades and other public interest events​.

    Failure to Pass Inspection

    The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ License & Theft Bureau may issue a waiver for a vehicle that meets all the following conditions:

    • It passes the safety inspection but fails the emissions inspection analysis of data provided by the on-board diagnostic equipment.
    • It has documented repairs costing at least the $200 waiver amount to correct the cause of the failure.
    • It is re-inspected and again passes the safety inspection but fails the on-board diagnostic analysis.

    The vehicle’s owner must then bring the vehicle and all the above supporting documentation to a License & Theft Bureau to receive a repair waiver.

    All safety items must pass. A waiver cannot be issued for the failure of a safety item.

    11/2/2022 7:53 AM

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