Fact: 43 U.S. states require some kind of car inspection. The rules and requirements for inspection can vary by state and this can lead to confusion and questions. Can I get a car inspection in a different state? Where can I get my car inspected across state borders? The answers to these questions can be tricky to find.
Can I get a car inspection in a different state? In most cases, the answer is no. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to find a mechanic licensed to inspect cars in one state in another state. For example, a mechanic in South Dakota would likely not be licensed to inspect a car registered in New York and meet requirements. This means it is likely unfeasible to count on getting a car inspection across state lines.
Table of Contents
Many states require some kind of inspection when it is time to renew your registration. These checks are to ensure your car is safe to operate, meets state-set emissions standards, and the VIN number matches records and documents. Specific inspection requirements can vary by state, so it is important to know the ins and outs of the rules where you register your motor vehicle.
One way to make avoid the rules and hassles around vehicle inspections is to simply register your vehicle in a state that doesn’t require inspection. In fact, this is one of the perks of South Dakota vehicle registration. South Dakota is among the 13 states that do not require any kind of car inspection. This means you can avoid safety, VIN, and emissions inspections in:
Keep in mind that these inspection rules only apply to non-commercial vehicles, like cars and light trucks. Fleets, trucks, and other business vehicles might be subject to different rules.
If 13 states have no vehicle inspection rules, that means the 37 remaining U.S. states require some kind of testing in at least some areas.
Let’s break down some of the rules around what kinds of car inspections are required around the country.
A safety inspection is required before the transfer of ownership or sale of a vehicle. You can have the inspection done at the Motor Vehicle Tag and Title office before registering your vehicle.
Cars in major meteor areas must undergo emissions inspections every other year. This applies to cars registered in Tuscon and Phoenix.
California inspection standards can be strict and vary by the area in which you live. If you’re registering a vehicle from out of state, you’ll need a smog test and a VIN check, in addition to the annual safety inspections required in some areas.
There are 9 counties in Colorado that require smog inspections. Some cars are exempt in the areas, including recent model year cars, all-electric vehicles, farm vehicles, and “collector” vehicles.
You must bring your car to an approved inspection station each year before renewing your registration. Some cars used for commercial purposes are required to undergo safety checks. VIN checks are required when registering a vehicle from out of state.
If your car is 5 years or older, inspections are required. Cars are checked for safety and emissions.
The Sunshine States requires VIN and odometer inspections when registering a vehicle from out of state.
Smog and emissions inspections are required in the Atlanta metro area. Cars newer than 3 years are exempt.
Detailed safety inspections are required every 2 years for all vehicles registered in Hawaii.
A VIN inspection is required when registering a vehicle from out of state. Additionally, some areas require smog and emissions testing.
If your car is registered in Illinois, you’ll need a biannual VIN inspection. Some areas also require emissions and safety tests.
Some parts of the Hoosier State, including Lake and Porter Counties (in the Chicagoland area), require emissions testing. All parts of the state require a VIN check when an out-of-state car is registered.
You’ll need a VIN inspection when registering an out-of-state vehicle here.
A VIN inspection is required when you register an out of state vehicle.
The state requires safety inspections. Additionally, some areas require smog and emissions testings.
Safety inspections are required in Maine and drivers here need to display inspection stickers to show their vehicles passed the check. Additionally, some areas require car emissions testing.
If you’re buying or transferring ownership of a vehicle, you’ll need to get a safety test from an approved mechanic. Otherwise, only drivers in some metro areas are required to have their vehicle’s tested for smog and emissions.
Both safety and emissions inspections are required in Massachusetts. You’ll need to have your vehicle checked each year.
Cars older than 5 years must undergo safety inspections in the Show-Me State. Cars in metro areas must have smog and emissions testing.
Out of state vehicles being registered in Nebraska must undergo a thorough safety inspection and emissions testing.
Emission testing is required in Las Vegas and Reno. You’ll find that VIN testing is required state-wide when registering a new vehicle.
Cars made in or before 1996 must undergo emissions and smog testing. Otherwise, an annual safety inspection is required in the month of your birthday.
Emissions tests are required every 2 years. Some newer vehicles might be exempt.
VIN checks are part of the process when registering an out-of-state vehicle. Emissions and smog testing are required around the Albuquerque metro area.
The Empire State has some of the strictest inspection rules in the country. Cars here must undergo both safety and emissions inspections every year. You can get a ticket here if you don’t have an up-to-date inspection sticker displayed on your car.
You’ll need an annual safety inspection in the Tarheel State. Additionally, about half of all counties here require emissions testing.
You’ll find a few areas in Ohio, mostly around the Cleavland area, require emissions testing for most vehicles.
Registering a vehicle from out of state in Oklahoma? A VIN check is required.
In the Medford or Portland area? You’ll likely need an annual emissions test. You’ll also need a VIN check to register an out-of-state vehicle.
A few counties here require emissions testing, mostly around metropolitan areas. You’ll also need an annual VIN inspection and annual safety inspection in Pennsylvania.
Cars older than 2 years old must have a biannual safety inspection. Emissions tests are also required every 2 years. You’ll also need a VIN check when registering an out of state vehicle.
Emission inspections at an approved station are required in a handful of counties. Some vehicles are exempt. Exempt vehicles include motorcycles and vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,500 lbs.
Emissions tests are required in a few metropolitan areas. Additionally, safety inspections are required annually.
Emission tests are required in a few counties. Safety inspections must be performed on a set schedule until a car is 10 years old; then inspections are required annually.
Vermont is known as the Green Mountain State and it might stay green thanks to emissions testing. A few counties here require annual smog tests. Additionally, safety and VIN checks are required.
Vehicles from out of state must have a VIN check before that can be registered in Virginia. Additionally, smog and emissions tests are required in some areas.
A VIN check is required when registering a vehicle for the first time. Some areas also require smog and emissions testing.
An annual safety inspection is part of the deal when you own a car in West Virginia.
A few counties in Wisconsin require emissions testing.
You’ll need a VIN check when registering an out-of-state vehicle in Wyoming.
Can I get a car inspection in a different state? In most cases, no. As you can see above, each state has different rules about safety, VIN and emissions inspections. Though many states have similar rules, there is no federal program ensuring continuity between states and allowing inspections to pass over state lines.
Want to avoid the hassle? Remember that South Dakota doesn’t require any kind of vehicle inspection. This can save drivers time and money and make the registration process simple. If you need a place to register your vehicles because you’re a full-time RVer, an expatriate abroad, or even a military member, you might find South Dakota vehicle registration to be a great solution.
Another reason to register your vehicle in The Mount Rushmore State? South Dakota vehicle insurance is among the cheapest in the nation.
Ready to register your vehicle in South Dakota? We’re here to help. Contact us at (605) 388-2161 and start taking advantage of the benefits today.