Frequently Asked Questions
General Inspection Questions
Where is the nearest inspection station?
Where is the nearest Registered Emissions Repair Facility?
My vehicle failed its inspection. What do I do now?
If your vehicle failed either its safety or emissions inspection, it must be repaired and pass its re-test within 60 days of the initial inspection. It’s important to complete the necessary repairs as soon as possible, especially since it’s illegal to drive your vehicle before safety repairs have been made. Until your vehicle is re-inspected, be sure to keep the repair receipts in your vehicle as proof that you are in compliance with the law. It’s also good practice to keep emissions-related repair receipts in case your vehicle does not pass its re-test and you need to apply for a waiver or extension. For more information, download the brochure, My Vehicle Failed its Inspection - What Do I Do Now?
If my vehicle failed the inspection, can I apply for an emissions Waiver for my vehicle? Can I apply for an Economic Hardship Failure Repair Extension for my vehicle?
Yes. If your vehicle is repaired by a Registered Emissions Repair Technician and it fails its re-test, it may qualify for a one-year emissions Waiver . If your vehicle requires a major repair, such as a transmission or engine overhaul, you may qualify for a one-year, non-renewable Economic Hardship Failure Repair Extension. Obtaining an emissions waiver or an extension will meet program requirements, but must be completed within 60 days of your initial inspection.
Why do I need to bring my vehicle to a Motorist Assistance Center (MAC)? How do I get an appointment at a MAC?
Your Vehicle Inspection Report explains why. Reasons may include repeated problems with on-board computer “readiness” issues that appear unique to your vehicle; you have a specialty vehicle such as a kit car; random selection for program evaluation purposes, or to protect your rights as a consumer. To schedule an appointment at a MAC, please contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135.
What are the safety inspection requirements for vehicles?
A safety inspection takes around 12 minutes during which 14 key of the vehicle are examined. For more information, please click here.
Does my trailer need to be inspected?
If your trailer is used to make money, it needs to undergo a commercial inspection if the trailer has a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) over 3,000 pounds, or if the gross combination vehicle weight rating (GCVWR) is over 10,000 pounds.
My vehicle is currently out of state. How do I get it inspected?
If your vehicle is out of state, you must submit an Out-of-State Verification Inspection Form (available in the Motorist Resources section), then have it inspected at a Massachusetts Vehicle Check Inspection Station within 15 days of your return to the Commonwealth.
My vehicle is registered in another state or jurisdiction. Can I get it inspected in Massachusetts?
Depending on the state in which your vehicle is registered, your vehicle may be able to be inspected at a Massachusetts Vehicle Check inspection station. To check whether a particular state’s inspection has reciprocity with the Commonwealth, please contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135.
What are the OBD Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) listed on my Vehicle Inspection Report?
An “OBD DTC” is an alphanumeric code that is stored in your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic (OBD) computer system when it detects an emissions-related problem. There is a common misconception that a DTC identifies a specific component that is faulty. While this is sometimes the case, there are many more instances in which it identifies only a symptom that a Registered Emissions Repair Technician uses to narrow down and, ultimately, identify the cause of the problem. Some DTCs have the same meaning for all vehicles, while others are manufacturer-specific. Emissions-related problems can be caused by the engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes, body control module and even the power steering system. For detailed information on the “OBD DTCs”, “OBD Permanent Fault Codes”, and “Additional OBD Data” provided on your VIR (“Miles Since Code Clearing”, “Warm-ups Since Code Clearing” and “Pin 16 Voltage”), you should take your vehicle to a Registered Emissions Repair Facility.
How can I get another copy of my VIR?
Any inspection station can reprint your VIR, using your vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You can also print a copy yourself from this website. You will need your VIN, license plate number and license plate “type,” all of which are on your vehicle registration. Click here to reprint your VIR.
Where does the VIR explain why my vehicle failed its inspection?
If your vehicle fails its inspection, the results of your vehicle’s safety inspection and emissions test results are found on page two of the VIR. These sections list the specific reasons why your vehicle failed.
Safety Inspection Questions
The VIR states that the manufacturer has issued a recall on my vehicle. What should I do?
Contact your dealer or the vehicle’s manufacturer to determine if the recall repairs have been made. For more information about vehicle recalls, click here and scroll down to Safety & Emissions Recall Information.
What if the recall on the VIR happened before I owned my vehicle?
Depending on the subject of the recall, you may need to determine if the previous owner took care of the recall repair(s). Please contact a dealer or the manufacturer for more information on a specific recall.
What happens if I get pulled over by police when I have a safety rejection sticker, but have already scheduled an appointment to have repairs made?
You should not drive a vehicle that failed its safety inspection and has not yet been repaired. If you continue to drive your vehicle, you may be cited by police for operating an unsafe vehicle. After you get safety defects fixed, your Certificate of Rejection allows you to operate your vehicle for up to 60 days, while arranging for re-inspection. Until your vehicle is re-inspected, be sure to keep the repair receipts in your vehicle as proof that you are complying with the law. This is especially important for safety defects because you are required to have them repaired right away.
Emissions Test Questions
My vehicle failed its emissions test for non-communication. What should I do?
Take your vehicle to a Registered Emissions Repair Facility to determine why it’s on board computer was not able to communicate with the inspection station’s testing equipment.
My inspector told me that I have to take my car to a Motorist Assistance Center (MAC). What will happen when I go there?
MAC technicians will perform additional analyses of your vehicle based on the reason for the referral. They will be able to answer your questions and explain why your vehicle was referred and what you need to do next.
I took my vehicle in for its free re-test within 60 days of the initial inspection, but was charged for another inspection. Why?
You are entitled to one free re-test within 60 days at the station that initially inspected your vehicle. If you go to a different station for the re-test, you will be charged.
If you believe you were improperly charged for your re-test, you may be eligible for a refund. The Massachusetts Vehicle Check Customer Service staff can explain the refund procedure.
I had my initial inspection more than 60 days ago. If I go back for a re-test, pay the full amount and fail again, will I get another 60 days or is the 60 days counted only from the initial inspection date?
The 60 days is counted from the original inspection date.
Where can I find a Registered Emissions Repair Facility?
If your vehicle fails its emissions test, you will find a list of Registered Emissions Repair Facilities on the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) that the inspector will give you. You can also call our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135, or use the RERF locator tool to find a location convenient for you.
I want to apply for an emissions Waiver or Economic Hardship Failure Repair Extension. What is the first step?
Call our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135 after your vehicle fails its initial emissions inspection to begin this process.
I had a Registered Emissions Repair Facility prepare a repair estimate so that I could apply for an Economic Hardship Failure Repair Extension. How can I find out if the amounts listed are eligible?
Contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135 to determine your eligibility for an Economic Hardship Failure Repair Extension.
How much money do I need to spend on repairs to qualify for an Emissions Waiver if my vehicle failed for diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs)?
Because this varies based on the specific DTCs, and the model year of your vehicle, you need to contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135.
I performed a few repairs to my vehicle before getting additional repairs at a Registered Emissions Repair Facility, and then took it back to the original inspection station for a re-test. If I apply for an emissions Waiver, will the repairs I did count toward my eligibility?
No, only repairs performed by a Registered Emissions Repair Technician at a Registered Emissions Repair Facility may be applied to the emissions waiver eligibility threshold.
Why do I have to go for a re-test before applying for an emissions waiver if I know my vehicle is going to fail?
The re-test helps evaluate the effectiveness of the repairs made to your vehicle and determine whether any conditions exist that would make your vehicle ineligible for a waiver. Vehicles with certain problems that cause excessive emissions, such as catalytic converter failure, do not meet waiver criteria.
May I apply for an emissions waiver if my 60 days have run out?
If your vehicle failed its emissions test, it must be issued a waiver within 60 days of its initial inspection to continue operating legally.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspection Questions
When does a single rear wheel (SRW) truck in commercial use require a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Inspection?
An SRW truck in commercial use requires a CMV inspection when the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating (GVWR) is 10,001 pounds or more, the vehicle is designed to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) or the vehicle is used in the transportation of hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding under U.S. Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations.
Does a truck with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more with a commercial plate that is used for personal purposes require a CMV inspection?
Does a truck with a body style of pickup, SUV or van; a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more; and a passenger plate that is used for personal use require a CMV inspection?
When does a commercially used trailer require a CMV inspection?
A CMV inspection is required when the trailer has a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating over 3,000 pounds or the gross combination weight rating of the vehicle plus the trailer is 10,001 pounds or more. The RMV created a one-page poster to help illustrate these commercial testing requirements.
What vehicles are required to have a reverse alarm?
According to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90: Section 7: “Every commercial motor vehicle, or trailer weighing, with its load, more than twelve thousand pounds, and used to deliver gasoline or other flammable material, shall be equipped with an audible warning system when the vehicle's transmission is in reverse.”
School buses are also required to have a reverse alarm.
What is a “hoist alarm” and are all trucks required to have one? What about dump trucks, dump trailers, boom trucks, wreckers, catch-basin cleaners and roll-offs?
A hoist alarm is an audible warning system that alerts the driver when the truck bed is in the raised position. According to the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90: Section 7, “Every motor vehicle truck with dump bodies shall be equipped with an adequate audible warning system to alert the operator when the dump body is in an upright and elevated position.”
Is the inspector required to sign (and thereby certify) the CMV vehicle inspection report (VIR) when a vehicle fails the inspection?
The inspector is required to sign all CMV VIRs, regardless of whether vehicles pass or fail their inspections. VIRs without an inspector signature are not valid.
Why did the RMV implement the CMV inspection?
RMV implemented the CMV inspection in response to industry requests for a single inspection that included both the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Commonwealth’s motor vehicle inspections.