What if My Vehicle Failed Inspection?

If your vehicle failed its inspection, follow these steps to prepare for a re-test:

Step 1: Repair safety defects immediately
A vehicle that fails its safety inspection must be repaired immediately. When you drive a car, truck, SUV or bus with safety defects, you put yourself and others at risk. You may also be issued a citation by police, which could lead to insurance surcharges.

If, after your vehicle’s initial inspection, you receive a referral to a Motorist Assistance Center (MAC), please consult with the experts there before having your vehicle repaired.

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. This is especially important for safety defects because you are required to have them repaired immediately. 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 economic hardship extension.

If your vehicle passed its emissions test, skip to Step 3

Step 2:  Repair emissions defects within 60 days
If your vehicle fails its inspection due to an emissions problem, you need to get it fixed and re-tested within 60 days of the initial inspection. Since these defects can negatively affect your vehicle’s gas mileage and our air quality, it’s better to have your vehicle repaired as soon as possible, preferably by a Registered Emissions Repair Technician (RERT). They are the only ones who can help qualify you and your vehicle for an emissions waiver or economic hardship extension.

Make sure your vehicle is ready for its re-test. After certain emissions repairs are completed, vehicles need to be driven under specific highway and city conditions to get their internal computers ready. Please ask your RERT or the vehicle’s dealer for more information.

Step 3: Pass the Re-Test
Your vehicle must pass a re-test within 60 days of its initial inspection. If, within those 60 days, you return your vehicle to the same location where your initial inspection was performed, the re-test is free.

If your vehicle failed its emissions test and safety inspection, it will be re-checked for both at the same time.

If your vehicle is repaired by a RERT and 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 non-renewable one-year economic hardship extension. Obtaining either a waiver or an extension will meet program requirements, but must be completed within 60 days of your initial inspection.

For more information, download the brochure, My Vehicle Failed its Inspection - What Do I Do Now?


Challenge Tests: What if I disagree with my vehicle’s inspection result?

The Registry of Motor Vehicles has established a process for motorists to “challenge” their inspection results. If you believe your inspection results are incorrect, you can initiate the investigation by downloading an Inspection Station Complaint Form (view or download the form from the Motorist Resources section) and mailing or faxing it to the RMV's Vehicle Safety and Compliance Services Department.

If your vehicle passes its challenge inspection or the initial inspection station is found to be in error, that initial inspection station will provide you with the passing sticker. If your vehicle fails its challenge inspection, you will be charged an additional $35 inspection fee and be required to make the necessary repairs before getting a passing sticker.


Reprint Your Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR)

If you need a copy of a past VIR for your vehicle, you can look it up and print it using our VIR Lookup tool. You’ll need to provide your vehicle's license plate type and number, as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN), all which can be found on your vehicle registration document. Additional help is available on the VIR Lookup Tool page.


Windshield Stickers

The Massachusetts Vehicle Check Program uses windshield stickers as the primary evidence of compliance with the Commonwealth's vehicle inspection requirements. Below are answers to the most common windshield sticker questions asked by callers to our Customer Service Center.

  1. What do the letters, numbers and different colors on my inspection sticker mean?


  2. How long is my vehicle's safety-only failure sticker (red R) or safety and emissions failure sticker (Red R) good for?

    Answer: The Red R sticker indicates that the vehicle is not safe to operate on public roads and must be repaired immediately. The vehicle must pass its re-inspection within 60 calendar days of the initial failure.

  3. How long is my vehicle's emissions-only failure sticker (Black R) good for?

    Answer: The Black R sticker indicates the vehicle has an emissions-related problem. The vehicle must be repaired and pass a re-test within 60 calendar days of the failure.

  4. If my vehicle fails another re-test, does that give me an additional 60 days to legally drive my vehicle?

    Answer: No. A vehicle with either the red or black R sticker must be repaired and passed within 60 days of the initial failure.

  5. If my vehicle has the Red or Black R sticker, what will I have to pay for a re-inspection?

    Answer: Check the Inspection Fee area of the Basic Inspection Information section for details related to getting a free re-test in 60 days.

  6. My vehicle failed the initial inspection several months ago and recently passed. How is the month displayed on the windshield sticker calculated?

    Answer: The month displayed on the passing sticker for a vehicle that failed its initial inspection will match the month of the vehicle's initial inspection. For example, if a vehicle with a January expiring sticker is failed in January and passes its re-test in April, the vehicle will receive a windshield sticker that expires in January of the following year.

    When a vehicle fails near the end of the year and passes its re-inspection the following year, it will always receive a windshield sticker that expires in January of the following year. For example, if a vehicle fails its initial inspection in December and passes its re-test in March, the vehicle will receive a windshield sticker that expires in January of the following year. Because the sticker color changes each January, it is not possible for an inspection station to issue a sticker from the prior year

  7. How do I get a duplicate windshield sticker?

    Answer: The Massachusetts Vehicle Check Program does not issue duplicate windshield stickers. If your vehicle is in need of a windshield replacement, your glass replacement provider will transfer your existing sticker using an official MassRMV-approved process. If the sticker cannot be recovered, then your vehicle will need to be inspected after the windshield is replaced.