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Vehicle Maintenance Tip

Leave plenty of distance between you and other cars. As winter progresses, drivers tend to feel over-confident, which can lead to accidents. Continue to drive appropriately for the road conditions.
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Information for Motorists: Basic Inspection Information

1. What vehicles need to be inspected
2. When vehicles need to be inspected
3. How to get your vehicle inspected

What vehicles need to be inspected:

Photograph of a Massachusetts vehicle inspection station. All vehicles that are registered in Massachusetts must receive a safety inspection each year. Vehicles listed below must also receive the following types of emissions tests each year:

On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) Test:

  • Model year 2001 and newer passenger cars, trucks and SUVs

  • Model year 2001 and newer light-duty diesel vehicles (with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or "GVWR" of 8,500 pounds or less)

  • Model year 2007 and newer medium-duty diesel vehicles (with a GVWR of 8,501 to 14,000 pounds)

  • Model year 2008 and newer medium-duty non-diesel vehicles (with a GVWR of 8,501 to 14,000 pounds)

Opacity Test:

  • Medium- and heavy-duty diesel vehicles (with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or greater) not equipped with OBD systems

The following types of motor vehicles are exempt from the emissions inspection:

  • Cars, trucks and SUVs manufactured before model year 2001 no longer receive tailpipe emissions tests but fail their safety inspections if they produce visible smoke
  • Light duty diesel vehicles (with a GVWR of less than 8,500 pounds) that were manufactured before model year 2001
  • Medium duty diesel vehicles (up to 10,000 pounds GVWR) that were either manufactured before model year 2007 or are 15 or more model years old
  • Medium duty non-diesel vehicles either manufactured before model year 2008 or 15 or more model years old
  • New vehicles delivered to Massachusetts owners
  • Motorcycles and mopeds
  • Tactical military vehicles
  • Vehicle operated exclusively by electric power

Vehicles that are not designed to be operated on Massachusetts roads do not receive emissions tests. These include:

  • All "tracked" vehicles
  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • Articulated loaders/haulers
  • Backhoes
  • Bulldozers
  • Cranes
  • Excavators
  • Loaders
  • Mobile hydraulic platform lifters
  • Motor graders
  • Pavers
  • Self-contained street-sweepers, maximum capable-speed of 20 mph, such as a three-wheeled vehicle (does not include on-road vehicles with street sweeping equipment installed as cargo; such vehicles are subject to emissions inspections)
  • Skid-steer loaders
  • Tractors and off-road equipment used for farming (does not include pickup trucks, stake trucks, tractor trailers and other vehicles designed for road use with farm registration plates; such vehicles are subject to emissions inspections)

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When do vehicles need to be inspected?

Your vehicle must undergo both an emissions test and a safety inspection every year before its current inspection sticker expires (at the end of the month printed on the sticker). To avoid end-of-the-month lines, have your vehicle tested during the first half of the month when it is due for an inspection. If you purchase a vehicle (new or used), it must be inspected within seven calendar days of its registration to continue operating on Massachusetts roadways.

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How to get your vehicle inspected:

Find a convenient inspection station:
There are over 1,900 inspection stations located across Massachusetts. You may use the Station Locator to search for an inspection station, or call the toll-free Motorist Hotline at 1-866-941-6277. You may also find stations in your community that display the Massachusetts Vehicle Check logo (below).

Inspection Appointments:
State regulations require stations to post the hours in which they conduct inspections. Some stations offer appointments during certain times of the day. For more details, use the Station Locator and call ahead to find out if you can schedule a convenient appointment.

What to bring to your vehicle’s inspection:
Bring your vehicle registration and the $35 inspection fee with you. Check with your inspection station for payment methods accepted.

What happens during an inspection?
Click here to find out what happens during a vehicle inspection.

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