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Vehicle Inspection

Relating to vehicle safety inspection.

Inspection Sticker Placement

It has come to our attention that there is some confusion about the proper placement of the new inspection stickers

Time Extension Waiver

The state of Vermont recognizes that emissions repairs not covered under warranty can be costly. There is a time extension waiver available to allow for additional time to bring your vehicle into compliance.

My vehicle did not pass inspection. What next?

If your vehicle failed a safety component, speak to your repair technician and have it repaired immediately. You must pass the safety portion of the vehicle inspection in order to receive a pass sticker.

If your vehicle failed the on-board diagnostic (OBDII) part of the inspection, it is likely that your vehicle’s engine and/or emissions control system needs repairs. Review your Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) to understand the reasons for failure. Your inspection mechanic should be able to answer your questions.

My vehicle did not pass inspection and it is the last day of the month. What next?

DMV recommends consumers do not wait until the last minute to get an inspection. Customers can take vehicles in for inspection up to two months before the inspection is due. Customers need to work with their mechanic/dealer to get vehicle repaired as soon as possible. Always carry the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) in the vehicle, showing that you are working towards compliance.

Vehicle Readiness

OBD II technology monitors all components of the engine management system and can detect a malfunction or deterioration of these components usually well before the driver becomes aware of any problem. Vehicles equipped with OBD II self-test their emission systems while the vehicle is being driven. Vehicles perform up to 11 system tests, depending on year, make and model of the vehicle. Readiness status identifies whether the vehicle's computer has completed the required tests since the last time the vehicle was serviced with a scan tool or had its battery disconnected.

Emissions Warranty

Vermont law requires that a vehicle’s entire emissions control system be warranted for a minimum of 3 years or 50,000 miles. Warranty coverage for the more expensive emissions control components is extended to at least 7 years or 70,000 miles, and the engine computer and catalytic converter are covered for 8 years or 80,000 miles. Some vehicles’ emissions control systems are warranted up to 15 years or 150,000 miles! Knowing about your vehicle’s warranty could save you significant money, and can also help protect Vermont’s air quality!

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FAQs

Is there a grace period for Vehicle Inspection?

No

My vehicle did not pass inspection and it is the last day of the month. What next?

DMV recommends consumers do not wait until the last minute to get an inspection. Customers can take vehicles in for inspection up to two months before the inspection is due. Customers need to work with their mechanic/dealer to get vehicle repaired as soon as possible. Always carry the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) in the vehicle, showing that you are working towards compliance.

How do I get my vehicle’s OBD system “ready”?

The vehicle should be driven under a variety of normal operating conditions in order for the OBD system to become ready. These operating conditions include a mix of highway driving and stop and go, city type driving, and at least one overnight-off period. Your vehicle owner’s manual should provide more specific information on getting your vehicle’s OBD system ready. For more information on readiness, please visit: http://dec.vermont.gov/ sites/dec/files/aqc/ mobile-sources/ documents/ Readiness.pdf

What if my vehicle’s OBD system is “not ready”?

If your vehicle’s OBD system is not ready, the inspection of the OBD system cannot be completed. While this does not necessarily mean that your vehicle has a problem, it does indicate that your vehicle’s OBD system has not yet completed it’s tests, and problems may be present, but not yet identified. A recently disconnected or discharged (run down) battery, or recent servicing using a scan tool are the most likely reasons for a vehicle’s OBD system being “not ready.” Note that there are a few vehicles which should not be rejected as “not ready”. Ask your inspection station or the Department of Motor Vehicles for further information about these exceptions. 

What are the possible reasons for failing the OBD check?
  1. The vehicle’s OBD system connector has been removed or is otherwise not working properly. The OBD check cannot be completed if the connector is missing or is not working properly. 
  2. The Malfunction Indicator Light does not illuminate at all when the ignition key is turned to the “on” position. When the vehicle’s OBD system detects a problem, it turns on the warning light to alert the driver to a problem. However, if the light cannot illuminate because the bulb has burned out or is otherwise not working, the driver would not be alerted to the problem. 
  3. The Malfunction Indicator Light on the instrument panel is on (and/or commanded on by the vehicle’s on board computer) while the engine is running. This indicates that the OBD system has identified a problem which must be repaired. In this case, one or more diagnostic trouble codes will also be reported by the vehicle’s OBD system and these codes will help your technician diagnose and repair your vehicle. 
What does the OBD check involve?

First, the vehicle is checked to see if the Malfunction Indicator Light (commonly called the “check engine” or “service engine soon” light) on the instrument panel illuminates when the ignition key is turned to the “on” position and then when the engine is running. Next, an electronic device known as a scan tool is connected to the vehicle, and used to communicate with the vehicle’s on board computer. The on board computer is checked to confirm that the vehicle has completed self-tests, to determine if the computer has attempted to turn on the Malfunction Indicator Light, and if applicable, to retrieve diagnostic trouble codes. The results are recorded, and the scan tool is disconnected from the vehicle. The entire OBD check typically takes less than 5 minutes. 

Why is the OBD check needed?

Motor vehicles are the largest source of toxic and ozone-forming air pollutants in Vermont. While modern vehicles are getting much cleaner due to newer engine management technology and emission control components, emissions stay low only when all these systems are working properly. OBD technology helps to ensure that vehicles are operating as designed, and the OBD check ensures that the vehicle’s OBD system is doing its job. 

What is OBD and how does it work?

OBD technology was developed in the 1980s by vehicle manufacturers to help technicians diagnose and service the computerized engine management systems of modern vehicles. A new generation of OBD (often referred to as OBD II) is present on 1996 and newer vehicles. OBD II monitors all components of the engine management system and can detect a malfunction or deterioration of these components usually well before the driver becomes aware of any problem. When a problem is detected, the OBD system turns on a warning light on the instrument panel to alert the driver of the need to have the vehicle checked by a service technician. 

What equipment is needed to inspect OBD Systems?

A scan tool with generic OBD II capability is necessary to perform the required check. A scan tool is a very useful device which is commonly used to assist in the diagnosis and repair of a variety of vehicle problems. Many inspection stations already own scan tools which can also be used to perform the required OBD check, but those inspection stations which do not will need to have one in order to inspect 1996 and newer vehicles. At a minimum, scan tools must be capable of :

  1. automatic initialization with any vehicle,
  2. determining readiness status of OBD monitors,
  3. determining malfunction indicator light status, and
  4. retrieving diagnostic trouble codes.

Any scan tool which complies with Society of Automotive Engineers Recommended Practice J1978 is acceptable. Scan tools are available from a number of well known equipment manufacturers.