New York Vehicle Safety Inspection

Your Guide to New York Vehicle Inspection

If you’re planning on becoming a resident of New York, there are a few extra steps you’ll need to take with your car. New York requires all residents to submit to a vehicle safety inspection every 12 months, and also undergo an emissions test. These inspections ensure that your vehicle is in safe operating condition whenever it is out on New York roadways. Here’s a guide of what to expect when you get your vehicle inspected.

Who Needs a Safety & Emissions Inspection?

All New York residents must get their vehicle inspected once a year. You’ll be issued an inspection sticker to place on your car, with an expiration date letting you know when you need to have your next inspection completed by.

If you have recently moved to New York and have undergone an inspection from your previous state of residence, you are exempt from that year’s safety inspection as long as you still have your inspection sticker from your previous state. Your out-of-state inspection remains valid until its expiration date or until the vehicle has been in New York for one full year, after which you must get your annual New York State inspection.

If your out-of-state inspection locale did not issue you an inspection sticker, you’ll need to have one issued through a new inspection. Failure for any New York driver to complete an annual vehicle safety inspection will prevent registration renewal and will result in a fine, the amount of which depends upon the number of days you have passed your expiration. You can also receive a parking ticket for a vehicle without a sticker, or with an expired sticker.

Where Are Inspections Performed?

The New York DMV has a list of regulated inspection facilities that meet all DMV vehicle safety inspection standards. Contact your local DMV or visit their website to find an inspection facility near you.

What Will the Vehicle Safety Inspection Look For?

The equipment checked during the inspection includes:

  • Seat belts
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Front End
  • Suspension
  • Tires
  • Lights
  • Windshield and windows
  • Wipers and blades
  • Horn
  • Mirrors
  • Fuel tank

All of these are checked for their working conditions and operations. The inspector will be looking for missing or broken parts, faulty operation, leakage, fluid levels, and other wear and tear on the vehicle that might deem it unreliable or unsafe to be on the roads.

How Does an Emissions Inspection Work?

New York state requires an emissions test to help reduce the amount of harmful emissions produced from most gasoline-powered cars. Completed at the same time as the vehicle safety inspection, the emissions inspection will test your exhaust for different chemical levels and will check your dashboard lights (your “check engine” light) to make sure they function when necessary. It also makes sure the gas cap is on your car and is in good condition.

Some vehicles are exempt from the inspection, including:

  • Vehicles less than 2 model years old
  • Vehicles 26+ model years old
  • Vehicles registered with historical plates
  • Electric-powered vehicles

Most, but not all, vehicles with diesel engines are also exempt.

What Happens to Cars That Fail a New York Vehicle Inspection?

With proper maintenance, your car should have no trouble passing either inspection. If your car does fail, you will not be allowed to register it in the state of New York. You may get another inspection, or you may explore your options to update your car to make it emissions-friendly. Similarly, if you do not renew your inspection, you may not renew your registration.

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