Getting Your Vehicle Repaired
Registered Emissions Repair Facilities and Technicians
If your vehicle fails its emissions test, the state recommends that you take it to a Registered Emissions Repair Facility (RERF) that employs Registered Emissions Repair Technicians (RERTs) to have your vehicle diagnosed and repaired. Why? Because they:
Are the only ones who can provide the necessary documents, should you need to apply for an emissions waiver or economic hardship extension.
Are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
Have completed specialized courses and training in performing emissions-related repairs.
Have the right equipment and tools to successfully repair your vehicle the first time.
There are more than 228 RERFs located across the state. You can find a list of the ones nearby the station where your vehicle’s initial inspection was performed on your VIR. To access a full listing of RERFs or call, contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135 for a list.
Shopping for Vehicle Repairs
When shopping for a reliable technician to fix your vehicle, you may want to follow this advice from the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs:
Make sure the repair shop has experience working on your type of car.
Look for shops that have certifications like the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) seal or the American Automobile Association (AAA) sign.
If there is a chance you might need to apply for an emissions waiver, be sure to have your repair work done at a Registered Emissions Repair Facility.
Get a second opinion if you are wary of unnecessary repairs or question the RERT’s diagnosis. (When your vehicle has an emissions problem, the RERF will generally conduct a computerized diagnostic test to determine what needs to be fixed, and will probably charge for this service.)
Obtain a written estimate listing specific repairs to be made before authorizing any work. Repairers are required to give you this.
Know your warranties. Ask if the repair shop offers a repair warranty, or if the parts come with a warranty. Under Massachusetts law, you have the right to have shoddy work repaired for no charge.
The "8/80" emissions warranty covers major emissions control items beyond the manufacturer’s standard vehicle warranty for a total of eight years or 80,000 miles, whichever comes first. Additionally, manufacturers of low-emissions vehicles often offer specified emissions warranties that may exceed federal emissions warranty periods. Warranty coverage can vary by manufacturer or model. A list of the emissions control components covered can be found in the owner’s warranty guide for the specific vehicle.
Use a repair shop convenient to your home or office, or ask friends and family for a recommendation.
You can also check with the Better Business Bureau or online consumer social media sites to see if any complaints have been filed against a specific repair shop.
Waivers are not granted for safety-related failures, commercial motor vehicles or for vehicles inspected due to a change in ownership, or for vehicles registered for the first time in Massachusetts.
If your private passenger vehicle or OBD-equipped auto home fails its emissions re-test, it may be eligible for an emissions waiver. When a waiver is issued, the vehicle receives a passing sticker that is valid until its next inspection. Only repairs performed by a Registered Emissions Repair Technician (RERT) qualify for a waiver. Repairs made by anyone else are not eligible. If a RERT has tried to fix your vehicle but it still doesn't pass its emissions test, you can apply for an emissions waiver.
To Qualify for an Emissions Waiver
Your vehicle may be eligible for a waiver if:
You spend at least the following on emissions repair costs (including labor and materials):
$920 for a vehicle five model years old or newer
$820 for a vehicle six to ten model years old
$720 for a vehicle more than ten model years old
*Be sure to keep your repair receipts so you can show that you met the applicable cost threshold amount in repairs for your vehicle year model.
Your vehicle’s emissions control system is intact, with no evidence of tampering.
Your vehicle passed its safety inspection within the previous 60 days.
Your vehicle’s OBD system (internal computer):
Connects successfully with the inspection station’s testing system;
Is “ready” for its re-test (i.e., it must have completed its self-checks of the emissions control system); and
Does not display any diagnostic trouble codes for engine misfire, catalytic converter efficiency failure or energy storage* (*for hybrid vehicles).
You provide the work orders and receipts from a Registered Emissions Repair Facility detailing the repairs that were made.
If you need a copy of your VIR, print one yourself or contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135 to request that a duplicate be mailed to you.
How to Apply for an Emissions Waiver
To apply for an emissions waiver, please contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135 to schedule an appointment at a Motorist Assistance Center (MAC) near you. Bring all required documents: work orders and receipts from a Registered Emissions Repair Facility to your MAC appointment. The MAC Technician will evaluate your vehicle and documentation to determine whether your vehicle is eligible for a waiver. If your vehicle qualifies for a waiver, the MAC Technician will issue it a passing sticker. If your vehicle does not qualify for a waiver, the MAC Technician will explain why.
Important: Please note that if you have not obtained a waiver within 60 days of your vehicle’s initial inspection, the Registry of Motor Vehicles may suspend your registration.
Economic Hardship Failure Repair Extensions
Extensions are not granted for safety-related failures, commercial motor vehicles, vehicles inspected due to a change in ownership, or vehicles registered for the first time in Massachusetts.
If your private passenger vehicle or OBD-equipped auto home failed its emissions test because it needs a major and expensive repair, such as a transmission replacement or engine overhaul, you may be qualify for an extension of the deadline for your vehicle to pass its re-test. The extension gives you a one-year, non-renewable passing sticker allowing you to continue driving the vehicle while budgeting for repairs or a replacement vehicle.
To Qualify for an Economic Hardship Failure Repair Extension
Have a RERT prepare an estimate of repair costs for your vehicle.
If the RERT refers you to a specialty repair shop for an estimate - a transmission repair shop, for example - bring the RERT’s referral documentation with you to that shop. The estimate to repair the major component needs to be at least:
$1,380 for a vehicle five model years old or newer
$1,230 for a vehicle more than five but less than ten model years-old
$1,080 for a vehicle more than ten model years old
Have any other emissions problems (other than the major component replacement or overhaul) repaired, if they were identified during your vehicle’s initial inspection.
Demonstrate that your vehicle passed its safety re-test if its initial inspection identified any safety defects. If more than 60 days have gone by since your vehicle passed its safety inspection, another safety test may be required.
If applicable, you should apply for an extension within 60 days of the initial failure date. In all cases, the request for the extension request and the issuance, if granted, must be completed within six months of the initial failure date.
If you have a vehicle that fails the OBD test with multiple diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), please keep these requirements in mind.
Vehicles that fail with multiple DTCs will only qualify for an economic repair extension if all the criteria necessary to address each code is satisfied.
Each DTC will need an estimate provided by a RERT of the cost of repairs related to each individual code.
For more information, contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135 before getting any repair estimates.
How to Apply for an Economic Hardship Failure Repair Extension
To apply for an extension, please contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135 to schedule an appointment at a Motorist Assistance Center (MAC) near you. Bring all required documents: estimates, as well as work orders and receipts for any work that was performed by a Registered Emissions Repair Technician, as provided for above, to your appointment at the MAC. The MAC Technician will evaluate your vehicle and all documentation to determine whether you and your vehicle are eligible for an extension. If you qualify for an extension, the MAC Technician will issue your vehicle a passing sticker. If you do not qualify for an extension, the MAC Technician will explain which requirements were not met.
Please note that if you have not obtained an extension or repaired your vehicle and passed the re-test within 60 days of your vehicle’s initial inspection, the Registry of Motor Vehicles may suspend your registration.
Motorist Assistance Centers (MACs)
Motorist Assistance Centers (MACs) were implemented to help vehicle owners and their repair technicians diagnose emissions problems with vehicles that fail their initial inspection. MACs are conveniently located across Massachusetts.
Your vehicle may be referred to a MAC if:
Something unusual was identified by the testing equipment that should be verified before you spend money on emissions-related repairs.
Your vehicle has repeated problems with readinesswhich indicates you may need additional assistance.
Your vehicle is selected randomly for a program evaluation inspection; or
You have a specialty vehicle, such as a kit car.
If your vehicle is referred to a MAC, it must be evaluated there before you can return it to an inspection station to complete the inspection process. If you want to apply for an Economic Hardship Failure Repair Extension or a Waiver of emissions standards, your vehicle will need to be evaluated at a MAC to confirm that it meets the requirements. Contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135 for more information or to make an appointment at a MAC near you.