June 23, 2017
In Massachusetts, you have to get your motor vehicle inspected every year. And since 1999, Massachusetts vehicle owners have also been required to submit their vehicles to an enhanced emissions check.
If you drive on Massachusetts roads, you need to have an inspection sticker. This means everyone: registered cars, light trucks, motorcycles and commercial vehicles. Vehicles model 1983 and older will not be required to undergo the emissions exam.
New cars less than two years old are also not required to undergo the emissions exam, if they have had only one owner. Everyone else needs to make sure their motor vehicles are inspected for safety at least once per year at and every other year for emissions.
When to Get an Inspection Sticker
You must get an inspection sticker within seven days of registering your vehicle. Your inspection sticker will expire yearly at the end of the month when you first received the sticker. On the first day of the following month, your sticker will no longer be valid and you will be subject to penalties if you are stopped by the police.
Where to Get Your Inspection Sticker
There are more than 1,900 inspection stations statewide. Most are at auto dealers and repair shops. You can find a licensed inspection station online or by calling (866) 941-6277 Autel MaxiSys Pro. Some stations allow appointments, while others are open on a walk-in basis Launch CReader 5001. Some accept credit cards and others will accept cash payments.
Inspection Sticker Fees
The Massachusetts annual inspection process costs $29. You pay the inspector whether or not your vehicle passes inspection. Some stations accept credit cards. Others are cash only.
If Your Vehicle Doesn't Pass the Inspection
If your vehicle fails inspection, you can return to the same inspection station once within 60 days after the rejected examination for a free re-examination. If you wait longer than 60 days or go to a different station, you'll need to begin the process all over again.
If your vehicle does not pass either the safety or the emissions portion of the exam, you will likely be investing in some repairs to your vehicle to make it suitable for another inspection. However, it's possible that even if you make repairs, your vehicle still won't pass. If that happens, you can apply for a waiver on the emissions part of the exam. However, there is no waiver for the safety inspection.
Obtaining a Waiver
If your vehicle is rejected by a licensed inspector, you can apply for a waiver that is good for the two-year inspection period. But Massachusetts does not make it easy. There are several requirements you must meet just to apply:
Proof of repairs totaling at least $800, $700 or $600 depending on the age of
Work orders and receipts from a state-registered shop and a signed Repair Data Form from a licensed technician.
Inspection printouts from before and after repairs.
Inspection proving there was no tampering with emission controls or the on-board computer.
Proof of some reduction in pollution after repairs and that pollution does not grossly exceed standards.
Ability to pass the safety inspection.
If you can meet those requirements, you can apply for and receive a two-year waiver. At the next inspection time, however, you will have to go through the process again if you still want to drive the vehicle.
If You're Going to Be Out of State
If you plan to be out of the state at inspection time, you can get your car inspected early. You also can get your vehicle inspected in another state to avoid penalties from the Massachusetts RMV. Here's how:
Contact the RMV within 60 days or upon the suspension of your
Complete an Out-of-State Verification for Vehicle Inspection Form.
Within 15 days of your return to Massachusetts, obtain a state inspection.
Reporting a Gross Polluter
If you see a vehicle that clearly does not meet state inspection standards for emissions, you have the following options:
Call the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Hotline at
Call your local police or the state police.
Make sure to write down the license plate number of the vehicle, as well as a detailed description of the vehicle and the pollution problem you witnessed.
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