What Vehicles Need to Be Inspected?

All vehicles registered in Massachusetts must receive a safety inspection each year. Vehicles listed below must also receive the following types of emissions tests each year: 

On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) Test:

  • Model years 2003 and newer passenger cars, trucks and SUVs
  • Model years 2003 and newer light-duty diesel vehicles (with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or "GVWR" of 8,500 pounds or less)
  • Model years 2007 and newer medium-duty diesel vehicles (with a GVWR of 8,501 to 14,000 pounds)
  • Model years 2008 and newer medium-duty non-diesel vehicles (with a GVWR of 8,501 to 14,000 pounds)

Opacity Test:

  • Model year 1984 and newer, medium- and heavy-duty diesel vehicles (with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more) not equipped with OBD systems

The following types of motor vehicles are exempt from the emissions inspection:

  • Cars, trucks and SUVs manufactured before model year 2003 (Note: while these vehicles no longer receive tailpipe emissions tests, if they emit excessive smoke they will fail their safety inspections.)
  • Light-duty diesel vehicles (with a GVWR of less than 8,500 pounds) manufactured before model year 2003
  • Medium-duty diesel vehicles (with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less) either manufactured before model year 2007 or that are 15 years or older (based on model year)
  • Medium-duty non-diesel vehicles either manufactured before model year 2008 or 15 years or older (based on model year)
  • New vehicles delivered to Massachusetts owners
  • Motorcycles and mopeds
  • Tactical military vehicles
  • Vehicles operated exclusively by electric power

Vehicles that are not designed to be operated on Massachusetts roads are not required to have an emissions tests. These include:

  • All "tracked" vehicles
  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • Articulated loaders/haulers
  • Backhoes
  • Bulldozers
  • Cranes
  • Excavators
  • Loaders
  • Mobile hydraulic platform lifters
  • Motor graders
  • Pavers
  • Self-contained street-sweepers, with a maximum capable-speed of 20 mph, such as a three-wheeled vehicle (Note: this does not include on-road vehicles with street sweeping equipment installed as cargo; such vehicles are subject to emissions testing.)
  • Skid-steer loaders

Tractors and off-road equipment used for farming (Note: this does not include pickup trucks, stake trucks, tractor trailers and other vehicles designed for road use with farm registration plates; such vehicles are subject to emissions testing.)

 

Types of Vehicles

Commercial Vehicles
All commercial motor vehicles, trailers and converter dollies are subject to the Massachusetts Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspection. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) approved the Massachusetts Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspection as equivalent to the annual FMCSA or US Department of Transportation’s “DOT” inspection. If your commercial motor vehicle/trailer receives a state safety inspection, you are not required to obtain a separate FMCSA or “DOT” inspection.

Massachusetts-registered single, full or semi-trailers used in commerce, that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) over 3,000 pounds or commercial motor vehicle/trailer combinations with a gross combined vehicle weight rating (GCVWR) of over 10,000 pounds are subject to this requirement. Also included are all heavy-duty motor vehicles (over 10,000 pounds GVWR) and converter dollies. The RMV created a one-page poster to help illustrate these commercial testing requirements.

Trailers and converter dollies in use after January 1, 2009, must be in compliance with this new inspection. For more information, please refer to the document titled, “Information Concerning the New Massachusetts Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspection”.

Not all inspection stations conduct commercial inspections. Use the station locator tool to locate a commercial inspection station convenient for you.

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Motorcycles
A motorcycle is any motor vehicle that has a seat or saddle for the rider, and is designed to travel with no more than three wheels contacting the ground. A bicycle with a motor or driving wheels attached is considered to be a “motorcycle” for inspection purposes. Motorcycles must receive yearly safety inspections from specially licensed motorcycle inspection stations. 

To locate a motorcycle inspection station, use the station locator tool.

If your motorcycle passes the inspection, a sticker will be affixed to your license plate. Inspection stickers are valid until May 31 of the following year. Motorcycles must be inspected annually for a fee of $15.

Specialty Vehicles
Specialty vehicles include “7D” vehicles, kit cars, auto homes and recreational vehicles. Each type of vehicle needs to meet separate requirements to qualify for a passing Massachusetts Vehicle Check sticker. 

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7D Vehicles
A 7D vehicle is any vehicle registered with the Registry of Motor Vehicles as a school pupil transport vehicle. They are usually passenger-type light-duty vehicles used to transport school pupils. In addition to their annual Massachusetts Vehicle Check inspections, these vehicles also receive special 7D inspections two times a year. To find stations that are authorized to perform 7D inspections, use the station locator tool.

 
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Kit Cars
A kit car is a unique vehicle or a replica of any vehicle of which fewer than 500 are produced annually. Kit cars need to meet the air pollution control requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Kit Car Policy or the alternative compliance requirements per MassDEP regulations in order to qualify for a Massachusetts inspection sticker. These cars must receive an annual safety inspection, and newly registered kit cars must undergo visual inspections of their emissions control systems at a Motorist Assistance Center. If a kit car passes both the emissions test and safety inspection, and meets any other specified requirements, a sticker will be issued at the MAC.

 
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Auto Homes (“Camper” Plates)
An Auto Home is defined as any motor vehicle originally designed or permanently altered and equipped for human habitation which is not used to transport property other than that property used for human habitation or camping purposes. These vehicles can be further identified by the “Camper” plates.

These vehicles undergo a non-commercial safety and emissions inspection regardless of weight, and the inspection fee is fixed at $35.

  • For Auto Homes with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less, the inspection station must be a Class A, Class B or Class D.
  • For Auto Homes with a GVWR between 10,001 pounds and 26,000 pounds, the inspection station must be a Class B, Class C or Class D. Additionally, the inspector must have completed commercial training.
  • For Auto Homes with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, the inspection station must be a Class C, Class D or Class E. Additionally, the inspector must possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and have completed commercial training.

Use the station locator tool to find stations licensed to perform inspections that include Auto Homes. Please note: you may want to call the station before you go to confirm that they can accommodate your vehicle type.

 
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Recreational Vehicles
A recreational vehicle is any motor vehicle designed or modified for use over unimproved terrain, if used for recreation off a public way. This term also includes all legally registered motor vehicles when used off a public way. Any motor vehicle registered under Chapter 90 will not be subject to registration under Chapter 90B, but must display a current motor vehicle registration.

These vehicles must have a safety and emissions inspection. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you may need to call the inspection station before you go, to confirm that the facility can accommodate your vehicle type.


 

When Do Vehicles Need to Be Inspected

Annual Inspection
All vehicles registered in Massachusetts must receive a safety inspection each year, upon the expiration of their windshield sticker. Many of these vehicles must also receive an emissions test in conjunction with their safety inspection.

Purchasing a New Vehicle or Transferring its Registration to Massachusetts
All new passenger vehicles sold and registered in Massachusetts need to meet the California emissions standards, the country’s strictest. If you are considering the purchase of a new vehicle, registering a diesel passenger vehicle or light-duty truck, or bringing a vehicle into Massachusetts from another state or country, please visit the MassDEP website for more information about how the Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) Program standards apply to your vehicle.

Purchasing a Used Vehicle
Massachusetts state law requires that a vehicle be inspected within seven days of its registration after a change of ownership to legally operate on Massachusetts roadways. If you are considering the purchase of a used vehicle with low mileage, the LEV Program may apply to your vehicle. Please check the MassDEP website for more information. Regardless, for your protection, you should have the vehicle inspected for safety and emissions as soon as possible after purchase.

The Commonwealth's Lemon Aid Law allows you to void or cancel a sale or contract for a used vehicle if:

  1. The vehicle is inspected within seven calendar days of purchase and fails the safety test and/or emissions test, and
  2. The cost of repairs is estimated to be more than 10 percent of the purchase price, and
  3. Yo u physically return the vehicle to the seller within 14 calendar days of the purchase.

For more information on the Lemon Aid Laws, visit the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs website or call toll-free 1-888-283-3757. Note: The toll-free phone number only works if you are in state. If you are calling from outside the state, the phone number is (617) 973-8787.

Purchasing a Vehicle From an Out-of-State Dealer
If you are purchasing a vehicle from an out-of-state dealer, you will need to transfer the vehicle’s registration and title to Massachusetts. After doing so, you must obtain a vehicle inspection sticker within seven days of the registration date.


 

Out-of-State Vehicle Inspections

If your vehicle is being operated outside Massachusetts when the inspection sticker expires, you must provide documentation that it has passed the inspection required by the state where it’s currently domiciled to prevent the RMV from automatically suspending your vehicle’s registration. To avoid this penalty, submit a completed Out-of-State Verification Inspection Form (this form may also be obtained via the RMV’s website, fax or mail) and attach a copy of the passing inspection receipt.

If the jurisdiction does not inspect vehicles registered in other jurisdictions, or does not have a vehicle inspection program, you are still required to submit an Out-of-State Verification for Vehicle Inspection Form that notes the jurisdiction does not perform vehicle inspections.

Upon your return to Massachusetts with your vehicle:

  • If you had your vehicle inspected out-of-state, you must have it inspected at a Massachusetts Vehicle Check Station within 15 days.
  • If your vehicle was operating in a state that did not perform vehicle inspections, you must have it inspected at a Massachusetts Vehicle Check Inspection Station within 3 days.

To avoid the suspension of your vehicle’s registration while you are out of state, the RMV encourages you to obtain a vehicle inspection before leaving Massachusetts.

Completed Out-of-State Verification for Vehicle Inspection Forms should be submitted to MassDOT, Registry of Motor Vehicles, Vehicle Safety & Compliance Services, P.O. Box 55892, Boston, MA 02205-5892. If you have questions about this form, please call the RMV’s Vehicle Safety and Compliance Department at (857) 368-8130.


 

Inspections for Vehicles Registered in Other States

If your vehicle is registered in another state that has a vehicle safety and emissions inspection requirement, you may be able to have your vehicle inspected at a Massachusetts Vehicle Check inspection station and have the inspection results honored by the state in which its registered.

For assistance to see if your vehicle qualifies for this reciprocal benefit contact our Customer Service Center at 1-844-358-0135.