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Understanding inspections and the emissions test

What is the purpose of the emissions test?
Despite a variety of efforts to improve the quality of our air, New Jersey has yet to reach the level of air quality required by the National Clean Air Act standards that were set in 1990.

To help alleviate this problem, we need to repair the vehicles that exceed national health standards by routinely inspecting them at an inspection facility. You can find your vehicle's due date on the sticker on your windshield. Remember, you won't be reminded by MVC, it is your responsibility to schedule the inspection.

Note: BMW Series 7 owners must provide accessibility to the vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) computer by removing the cover plate prior to inspection. BMW dealers can complete this task. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The inspection process
Make sure you have all necessary documentation - driver license, registration, proof of insurance - with you. Photocopy, fax, e-mail or online registration receipts are unacceptable.
  • Vehicles may be inspected up to two months in advance of the due date
  • Check your windshield sticker for inspection due date. Registrations and inspections do not necessarily match
  • The inspector will determine your car's engine type and prep it for testing
  • The inspector will perform the appropriate emissions test based on the year, make and model of the vehicle
  • The final stage of the test will assure that your gas cap is stable and limits the escape of fumes into the environment
  • Upon completion, the inspector will place a new two-year sticker in your windshield

5 year inspection extended to used vehicles
Beginning August 1, 2010, purchasers of used, non-commercial vehicles purchased in or out of New Jersey will no longer require an inspection until they are at least five model years old:
  • Vehicles purchased without a New Jersey inspection sticker will receive a decal valid until the last day of the month of registration, five years from the vehicle model year
  • Vehicle owners will receive Form SS-19 at the time of registration
  • Visit a state-operated inspection station with a valid registration card, NJ insurance ID card, driver license and Form SS-19
  • In addition, effective August 1, 2010, New Car Dealers will be allowed to issue new vehicle stickers to used non-commercial vehicles less than five (5) model years old
  • Used vehicles with a valid sticker are not required to be inspected until the month and year of the noted expiration date

1 year inspection requirement

Certain classes of New Jersey registered motor vehicles are subject a complete inspection for both mechanical defects and emissions at an official inspection facility or a licensed private inspection facility on an annual (rather than biennial) basis: taxis, limousines, jitneys, buses (passenger, governmental, no fee, or commercial), commercial gas or bi-fueled vehicles regardless of weight and commercial diesel vehicles less than 10,000 pounds. Download the Motor Vehicle Advisory [pdf], dated December 10, 2009, for complete details.

Low Emission Vehicle program
Effective January 1, 2009, all new 2009 model year and later passenger vehicles or light duty trucks weighing less than 8,500 lbs. are required to meet California Low Emission Vehicle Program standards. The Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) must be marked California emission certified or USEPA 50 state emission certified. MCO’s marked Federal Emission certified or lacking designation require an exemption from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). You can download a form to request exemption. An approval letter from NJDEP is required for vehicle titling.