Ohio Car Safety Inspections
If you’re a new resident in Ohio, or you recently moved to a new county within the state, you may have to go through a car safety inspection in order to register your vehicle. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) works with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct “E-Checks,” which test your vehicle’s emissions to minimize its environmental impact.
Only certain Ohio counties require emission inspections, and they tend to be counties within urban areas. You’ll have to submit to a smog check if you are a new resident in one of the following counties:
- Geauga Lake
- Summit, or
If you’re a new Ohio resident and wish to register an out-of-state vehicle, your first step will be to find your nearest BMV and receive a VIN inspection. To register your out-of-state vehicle, you’ll need to obtain an Ohio driver’s license and upon paying for registration, the BMV will give you instructions about finishing the E-Check.
There are several E-Check stations located throughout the counties that require them. Several are self-serve and the process is simple to follow. If your car is model year 1996 or older, you may have your E-Check completed at a full-service station. Once you receive your E-Check certificate, it’s good for two years.
Requirements and Exemptions
Anyone who operates a gas or diesel-powered vehicle living in an eligible county must submit to E-Checks, even hybrid and flexible fuel vehicles. New vehicles up to 4 years old may be exempt from testing. If your model year is old, then you must submit to testing on an odd-numbered year. If it’s even, you test on even-numbered years.
The EPA also offers certain exemptions to emission checks. There are several different types of exemptions, which include:
You may receive a temporary exemption to emissions check if you’re a military member stationed outside of Ohio, if you’re an out-of-state student in a non-inspection area, or a surviving spouse of a vehicle owner. In some cases, you’ll need to complete an Ohio E-Check explanation or Extension Application.
Some vehicles also qualify for permanent exemption from smog checks. The following vehicles are considered permanently exempt (but are still subject to visual inspection before granting exemption):
- Fully electric vehicles
- Alternative fuel vehicles, such as those powered by butane, alcohol, propane, or natural gas
- Non-commercial vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.
Lastly, the following vehicles are also permanently exempt, but do not require visual inspection by the BMV:
- Vehicles more than 25 years old
- Recreational vehicles such as ATVs or dune buggies
- Registered historical or antique vehicles
- Parade vehicles
- Commercial vehicles in excess of 10,000 pounds
In some cases, you may have to apply for and be able to show an exemption certificate; in others, you will not. Contact the BMV for more information regarding the rules and regulations in your county.
Other Safety Inspections
Ohio does not have any other statewide program regarding safety checks, but such checks may be mandated by a law enforcement official. For example, if you’re pulled over at a traffic stop and the police officer doubts the safety of your vehicle for any reason, he or she may require that you complete a safety check and provide the results to the department. If the safety check reveals issues, you may be required to fix them before taking your vehicle back out on the road.
The rules and regulations regarding E-Checks and safety inspections may differ from county to county. If you have questions about the procedures where you live, find your nearest BMV office and direct your questions to a representative. Additionally, if you were involved in an accident with a vehicle that failed an inspection in Ohio or whose owner failed to have it tested, you may have a case against the ower for negligence. Consult a qualified Dayton car accident lawyer as soon as possible to learn your legal options.