Frequently Asked Questions
+
-
When do I get my car inspected?

Your vehicle must be inspected and receive a new inspection sticker no later than the last day of the month indicated on your current inspection sticker. For example, a January inspection sticker must be replaced by the last day of January.

+
-
Where do I take my car to have it inspected?

A vehicle's Rhode Island State inspection can be done at any RI Emissions and Safety Testing certified inspection station, with the exception of inspections on light duty-diesel vehicles. Light duty diesel vehicles weighing 8500 lbs. or less can be inspected for safety and emissions at these twenty-five stations conveniently located throughout the state.

+
-
How much will the inspection cost?

The RI Emissions and Safety Testing Program inspection costs $55.00 and provides a sticker good for two years.

+
-
What is a "new car" for inspection purposes?

When a vehicle is purchased new from a manufacturer (dealer), it is issued a certificate of origin from the manufacturer and is considered “New”. These vehicles are exempt from inspection for two years or until it reaches 24000 miles on the odometer (whichever occurs first). If a vehicle has been previously titled, it is no longer a “New” vehicle and is subject to inspection requirements.

+
-
Where should I get my vehicle repaired?

Repairs can be made anywhere. However, if you believe you may want to apply for a repair cost limit waiver, you should have repairs done by a state Certified Inspection Repair Technician. The cost of labor performed by a Certified Inspection Repair Technician (CIRT) can be applied to the waiver amount. To locate a repair facility with a CIRT, contact us by calling toll-free 1-866-OBD-TEST (1-866-623-8378) or go to this page.

No matter where your vehicle is repaired, you are entitled to one free inspection retest within 30 days at the same inspection station where your vehicle was originally tested. If you choose to go to a different inspection facility for the retest, you will again be charged the full $55.00 fee.

+
-
How do I apply for a waiver?

Apply for a diagnostic waiver if the part(s) needed to repair your vehicle are no longer available or no longer manufactured. Proof that the part(s) is not available will be required. Apply for a cost limit waiver if you spend $700 or more for emission-related parts and/or labor (labor must be performed by a Certified Inspection Repair Technician to qualify) and the vehicle still does not pass. Finally, if the owner of a failing vehicle can prove financial hardship, he/she should apply to the DMV for a repair time delay waiver for one inspection cycle.

You can apply for any of the waivers described above at DMV's 325 Melrose Street location, in Providence. Call this DMV location at 401-462-5890 for more information.

+
-
What about older cars or non-factory specification vehicles?

Exemptions: The only vehicles that are exempt from testing in Rhode Island are those that are registered as antique vehicles. New vehicles do not need to be tested until they are two years old or have 24000 miles on the odometer. Age: Motor vehicles 25 years old or older must undergo inspection for safety and emissions. However, these vehicles will not be failed if they do not pass emissions standards.

Age: Motor vehicles 25 years old or older must undergo inspection for safety and emissions. However, these vehicles will not be failed if they do not pass emissions standards.

Antique cars: Vehicles registered as antiques with antique license plates are exempt from safety and emissions testing. However, some antique registered vehicles may be presented for safety inspection under state law that allows the unlimited use of such a vehicle if it passes inspection.

Reconstructed and homemade vehicles: These vehicles are inspected for emissions compliance using the standards and test procedures applicable for exhaust emission, functional emissions control devices, and visual inspection for each individual vehicle - based on the engine year of the engine installed in the vehicle.

Vehicles with exchanged engines: These vehicles are inspected for emissions compliance based on the chassis model year of the vehicle. However, if the engine is newer than the chassis model year, the emissions inspection is based on the model year of the engine.

Vehicles with engines changed from one fuel type to another fuel type (for example, from a diesel engine to a gasoline engine) that are subject to these regulations are subject to tests and standards for the current fuel type of the engine installed.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW): All vehicles are to be tested according to standards as determined by the manufacturer's gross vehicle weight (GVW). If no manufacturer's GVW is available it shall be tested according to the GVW as determined by the DMV.

+
-
When do I take my vehicle for inspection?

Each vehicle must be inspected biennially (every 2 years). Your vehicle must be inspected and receive a new inspection sticker no later than the last day of the month indicated on your current inspection sticker. For example, a vehicle with a January inspection sticker needs to receive an updated sticker by the last day of January.

+
-
Are new vehicles exempt?

When purchased new from a dealer, a vehicle requires inspection within two years and before the odometer reaches 24,000 miles (whichever comes first).

+
-
Are old vehicles exempt?

Age: Motor vehicles 25 years old or older must undergo inspection for safety and emissions. However, these vehicles will not be failed if they do not pass emissions standards.

Antique cars: Vehicles registered as antiques with antique license plates are exempt from safety and emissions testing. However, some antique registered vehicles may be presented for safety inspection under state law that allows the unlimited use of such a vehicle if it passes inspection.

+
-
What if my vehicle fails inspection?

Your vehicle must be repaired and reinspected. Refer to this section for information about repairs. Your may receive a free reinspection after having your vehicle repaired if you present it for reinspection within 30 days at the same location that performed the initial inspection.

+
-
What types of inspection may be performed on my vehicle?

All vehicles receive an emissions test, a safety test, and a gas cap integrity test. The emissions test may consist of an OBDII inspection, or a visual component inspection. Click here for more detail .

+
-
What if my vehicle fails only part of the inspection?

Your vehicle must pass all portions of the inspection (Safety, Emissions, and Gas Cap) to pass the overall inspection.

Safety Failures: You must make safety repairs before the vehicle will pass inspection and receive an inspection sticker.

Emissions Failures: You must make the needed repairs before the vehicle will pass inspection and receive an inspection sticker, unless you qualify for one of the three types of waiver. click here

Gas Cap Failures: You must correct the gas cap failure before the vehicle will pass inspection and receive an inspection sticker

+
-
How do I contest an inspection that may have been done incorrectly?

If you are concerned that your vehicle's inspection may not have been performed correctly, you may request a challenge inspection be performed. To inquire about a challenge inspection, contact DMV at 401-462-5890.

+
-
What about modified vehicles?

Kit cars: Vehicles manufactured as kit cars may receive an alternate type of inspection.

Reconstructed and homemade vehicles: These vehicles are inspected for emissions compliance using the standards and test procedures applicable for exhaust emission, functional emissions control devices, and visual inspection for each individual vehicle - based on the engine year of the engine installed in the vehicle.

Vehicles with exchanged engines: These vehicles are inspected for emissions compliance based on the chassis model year of the vehicle. However, if the engine is newer than the chassis model year, the emissions inspection is based on the model year of the engine.

Vehicles with engines changed from one fuel type to another fuel type (for example, from a diesel engine to a gasoline engine) that are subject to these regulations are subject to tests and standards for the current fuel type of the engine installed.

+
-
What about heavier vehicles?

As long as they weigh 8500 pounds or less, trucks and vans are tested according to standards as determined by the manufacturer's gross vehicle weight (GVW). If no manufacturer's GVW is available it shall be tested according to the GVW as determined by the DMV. Vehicles weighing over 8500 pounds (Gross Vehicle Weight) are inspected under different standards set by DMV. To locate an inspection station, call DMV at 401-462-5890.

+
-
Are diesel-powered vehicles inspected in this program?

Yes, light duty diesel powered vehicles weighing 8500 pounds or less are inspected in this program. Not all of the inspection stations can perform diesel inspections. Inspections on these vehicles can be performed at any one of the 25 stations throughout Rhode Island that are equipped to perform diesel inspections.

Heavy duty diesel powered vehicles (weighing over 8500 pounds) must be inspected annually at an "A" Class inspection station, which may include some stations in this program network. Contact DMV at 401-462-5890 for more information.

+
-
What is OBD?

OBD or On-Board-Diagnostics have been around since 1980, when General Motors first introduce the system in certain vehicles sold in California. Chrysler and Ford soon followed GM. By the mid 1980's, the Asian and European manufacturers were installing on-board computer systems for the purpose of controlling emissions. With the increasing smog problem nationwide, every light duty vehicle sold in California in 1988 had to comply with the new OBD-I (first generation) regulations. The intent was to gain consistency in the way emission systems were being monitored and how emissions problems could be brought to a driver's attention.

The OBD-I regulations for 1988 required onboard computer systems to have the ability to record and store a specific diagnostic trouble codes for malfunctioning sensors or systems. The major requirement of OBD-I was to notify the driver of a malfunction by having the on-board computer turn on the MIL or Malfunction Indicator Lamp more commonly known as the "Check Engine" or "Service Engine Soon" light.

The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments adopted the new OBD-II (second generation) requirements. These new requirements were implemented for every vehicle sold in the U.S starting in model year 1996. The requirements included the following:

  • Use of the same universal Diagnostic Link Connector in every light-duty vehicle sold in the U.S.
  • A standard location for the Diagnostic Link Connector
  • A standard list of Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC)
  • Common diagnostic test modes
  • The ability to record a snapshot
  • The ability to store a code when an emissions failure occurs
  • A standard glossary of terms

+
-
Which vehicles will be OBD-II tested?

Vehicle model years 1996 and newer will require an OBD-II test. Light duty diesel powered vehicles are not eligible for the OBD-II test.

+
-
What is the procedure for the new OBD-II test?

The inspector will connect a communication cable from emissions analyzer to the Diagnostic Link Connector located in your vehicle. No changes to your vehicle will be made; only data from your vehicles computer will be downloaded to the emissions analyzer

+
-
Will this OBD-II test eliminate the enhanced emissions test on my vehicle?

If your vehicle is eligible for the OBD-II test, no tailpipe emissions test will be performed.

+
-
How can my vehicle fail an OBD-II test?

Your vehicle will fail the OBD-II test if the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (Check Engine) light is illuminated.
Your vehicle will also fail the OBD-II test if your vehicle model year is 1996 - 2000 and it has 3 or more system readiness monitors that read "not ready".
Your vehicle will also fail the OBD-II test if your vehicle model year is 2001 - present and it has 2 or more system readiness monitors that read "not ready".

+
-
My vehicle failed only for Monitor Readiness that read "not ready"

The computer in your vehicle performs diagnostic tests on certain emissions systems while you are driving. These system monitors are usually "Ready" or "Complete", unless there's pending problem with a particular system. Sometimes system monitors become "not ready" due to the battery in your vehicle having been disconnected or the computer having had its memory erased.


As part of the OBD-II test, the analyzer checks to see how many of the system monitors are "not ready".
>Your vehicle will fail the OBD-II test if your vehicle model year is 1996 - 2000 and it has 3 or more system readiness monitors that read "not ready".
Your vehicle will fail the OBD-II test if your vehicle model year is 2001 - present and it has 2 or more system readiness monitors that read "not ready"

+
-
What should I do if my vehicle failed?

You should have your vehicle looked at by a qualified technician such as a CIRT.

+
-
What should I do if my vehicle's "Check Engine" light is flashing on and off?

If the Check Engine light is flashing or blinking, you should have your vehicle serviced as soon as possible. The flashing light may indicated that there is an engine misfire, and extensive driving with a misfire could damage your vehicle's catalytic converter.

+
-
Any tips I should follow before I get my vehicle inspected?

Yes. Some vehicles require extensive driving to reset certain system readiness monitors. Do not disconnect the battery on your vehicle. If your vehicle is in for service, ask your technician not to clear the computer's memory since this will only unset the system readiness monitors and result in your vehicle failing the OBD-II test.

+
-
Why a different test for diesel vehicles?

Diesel fuel, like gasoline, is petroleum based. However, diesel fuel is less refined then gasoline. Because its less refined, small particles and solids from crude oil remain in diesel fuel. These solids are burned during the combustion process, which then become particulate matter released into the air from the vehicle's exhaust. Routine aging and poor state of tune can excessively increase the amount of particulate matter released into the air we breathe. Excessive exposure to particulate matter can be harmful. It has been associated with respiratory illness, heart problems, asthma, and cancer. The normal emissions test performed on gasoline powered vehicles cannot measure particulate matter. Therefore, special measuring equipment is needed to perform the diesel emissions test. The equipment used, called an opacity meter, measures the density of diesel exhaust.

+
-
Which diesel vehicles have to get tested?

All light duty diesel powered vehicles weighing 8500 lbs. or less are required to be tested.

+
-
How much does the test cost?

$55.00

+
-
Where can I go for a diesel inspection?

Light duty vehicles (GVWR of 8500lbs. and under) can be tested at any Light Duty Safety and Emission testing location. Click here for a current list of stations.

+
-
What if my vehicle fails the safety or emissions test?

If your vehicle fails either the safety or emissions test it fails the inspection. If your vehicle fails the safety test you must make repairs before the vehicle will pass inspection and receive an inspection sticker.

If your vehicle fails the emissions test you will have to make the needed repairs unless you qualify for one of three types of waiver.