Skip to main content

Vehicle Inspection

Relating to vehicle safety inspection.

Why do we have emissions testing?

Federal law requires Vermont to have an emissions testing program. Ensuring your vehicle is in proper working order allows for;

  • Early detection of defects that lead to repairs that improve vehicle performance and fuel economy.
  • Repairing a defect before it gets worse saves money.
  • Protecting our environment and our health by identifying vehicle problems that cause increased air pollution.

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!

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/Rea…

What are some possible reasons for failing the OBD check on a vehicle inspection?

  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 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 of 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. 

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 :

Vehicle Inspections

Inspection stations in Vermont are privately owned and operated by our business partners. Inspection stations and certified Inspection Mechanics are licensed by DMV to conduct inspections as prescribed in the Vermont Periodic Inspection Manual.

Automated Vehicle Inspection Program (AVIP)

  • AVIP offers instant access to required inspection procedures and rejection criteria.
  • Rejection criteria can be instantly shown to a motorist.
  • Inspection Mechanics are able to immediately view previously identified vehicle component problems and failed inspections, prompting technicians to ensure proper repairs have been made. 
  • Inspection Mechanics and inspection station staff have immediate electronic access to bulletins from the DMV, and other information such as inspection-related forms.
Subscribe to Vehicle Inspection

FAQs

Are emissions system repairs covered by the vehicle manufacturer warranty?

Depending on the model year and mileage of your vehicle, emissions system repairs may be covered by the vehicle manufacturer. 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 catalytic converter is covered up to 8 years or 80,000 miles. Some vehicles’ emissions control systems are warranted up to 15 years or 150,000 miles! Be sure to check your owner’s manual or warranty booklet! For more information on warranty coverage visit: http://dec.vermont.gov/ sites/dec/files/aqc/mobilesources/documents/ Warranty.pdf

Is there a grace period for Vehicle Inspection?

No

Why was my vehicle “Not Ready” for the inspection?
  • Your vehicle’s computer memory may have been reset by a scan tool, during a recent repair, or
  • Your battery was recently disconnected or lost its charge, or
  • Your vehicle has an emissions control system problem preventing it from self-testing.
What if my vehicle has an emissions problem?

Have your emissions problem diagnosed and determine if the repair is covered under emissions warranty. You will need to make the repair and return for a re-test to get a pass sticker.

Why do we have emissions testing?

Federal law requires Vermont to have an emissions testing program. Ensuring your vehicle is in proper working order allows for;

  • Early detection of defects that lead to repairs that improve vehicle performance and fuel economy.
  • Repairing a defect before it gets worse saves money.
  • Protecting our environment and our health by identifying vehicle problems that cause increased air pollution.
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/Rea…

What are some possible reasons for failing the OBD check on a vehicle inspection?
  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 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 of 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 by the vehicle’s onboard computer) while the engine is running. This indicates that the OBD system has identified a problem that 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 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.