Vehicle Emissions Testing

Georgia Emissions Inspection & Smog Laws

In Georgia all vehicles must go through safety inspection once a year. In some parts of the state this safety inspection includes emissions inspection, or otherwise known as “smog” inspection.

The following article will give you the basics of smog laws in Georgia. Below you can find out how smog checks are performed in the state of Georgia, and which vehicles are exempt from smog laws.

Georgia emissions testing summary:

Georgia requires emissions or smog testing for gasoline-powered vehicles older than 3 years and no older than 1993, or light duty trucks lighter than 8,500 pounds.

Emissions testing is only done in the following counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale.

When are vehicle emissions inspected?

All vehicles registered in GA must be tested annually prior to registration date, which is the vehicle owner’s birthday.

It is recommended to test your vehicle 4-6 weeks prior to registration date to give you ample time to perform necessary repairs if required.

All emission tests are valid for 1 year or one registration renewal. If your vehicle qualifies, you will need to perform emissions testing every year before you can renew your registration.

Which vehicles require emissions testing?

In Georgia, your vehicle requires emissions testing if:

  • It is older than 3 years, but manufactured in or after 1993
  • If it runs on gasoline
  • If it weighs less than 8,500 lbs

If you’re moving residence to Georgia into a county which requires car emissions tests, you will need to have your vehicle inspected and registered within 30 days. Inspections completed in other states will not be valid in Georgia.

Which vehicles are exempt from smog testing?

Diesel-powered vehicles, motor homes and recreational vehicles (RVs) are exempt from smog checks. Motorcycles are also not undergoing emissions testing. Also exempt are antique or collector vehicles (older than 1993), and vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 8,500 pounds.

Furthermore, exempt vehicles include alternative fuel vehicles (for example, vehicles running on electricity, hydrogen, propane or natural gas). This does not include hybrids like Toyota Prius, Ford Escape, etc.

Bi-fueled vehicles operating on gasoline must always be tested for emissions.

Which counties or areas require smog test?

Testing for vehicle emissions is not required in entirety of State of Georgia. Only the following 13 counties require smog tests for eligible vehicles:

  1. Cherokee
  2. Clayton
  3. Cobb
  4. Coweta
  5. DeKalb
  6. Douglas
  7. Fayette
  8. Forsyth
  9. Fulton
  10. Gwinnett
  11. Henry
  12. Paulding
  13. Rockdale

Vehicle sellers located in any of these counties must ensure a vehicle has a valid Georgia Vehicle Emission Inspection Report (VIR) at the time of sale, however sellers are not required to provide a hard-copy of the VIR to buyers.

You can view VIR records online here. In case you purchased a vehicle without a valid Vehicle Emissions Inspection Report you can file a complaint against the seller via this Used Vehicle Sale Complaint Form (.pdf file).

How emissions testing works?

To complete your vehicle safety inspection visit your nearest licensed inspection station with your ID, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, and payment fee (up to $25).

Vehicles 1996 and newer can be tested at any licensed inspection station. Some stations may not be able to test vehicles manufactured prior to 1996.

Emissions testing in Georgia is done through OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) test. OBD test includes reading your vehicle’s built-in computer system for emissions control performance history. Further inspections include a fuel cap inspection to verify an adequate seal exists, and a visual inspection of the catalytic converter to check for tampering or removal.

Assuming your vehicle passes both safety and smog inspections, you will receive documentation required for your vehicle registration or registration renewal. You will also receive a windshield sticker serving as proof.

What happens is emissions testing fails?

Failing emissions testing means your vehicle will have to be repaired and re-tested before you can pass the safety inspection.

If your vehicle does not meet emissions or smog standards set by Georgia laws, you can apply for a waiver after having your vehicle repaired.

Motorists must spend at least $879 for emissions-related repairs to qualify for a repair waiver. If your vehicle still doesn’t pass emissions inspection after these repairs you can request a repair waiver.

Ensure you find a emissions repair facility with a valid business license to complete any emissions repairs. When repairing in non-recognized repair stations labor costs will not be contributed to waiver requirements, only vehicle parts.

Emission inspection waivers

Repair waivers are issued to owners of vehicles that fail testing after having spent a minimum of $879 for emission-related repairs.

Georgia residents over 65 years of age, driving less than 5,000 miles per year, and driving a 2007 or older model vehicle can apply for a Senior Exemption.

Out-of-Area Extensions can be issued to residents who are temporarily located outside the 13 Georgia counties which have smog tests. These extensions are valid for a maximum of 1 year and can be given to military personnel, or residents with school or business obligations.

For more on waivers, exceptions and extensions see Georgia’s Clean Air Force website’s Waivers, Extensions & Exemptions.

How much are emissions testing fees?

Emissions testing fee is added to safety inspection fee. This fee is typically no higher than $25, but the exact amount depends on your county.

When you pass safety and emissions inspection, don’t forget to keep your receipt. This will serve as proof of your completed inspection and you may require it at a later date.

Please note we only provide this information about vehicle emissions for informational purposes. You should always double-check current official Georgia laws and regulations to ensure this information is correct.

Sources & references:

  1. Georgia’s Clean Air Force Program – full information on all emissions testing in Georgia state
  2. Find nearest emissions testing locations
  3. Georgia Emissions Inspection – Frequently Asked Questions
This article about Georgia Emissions Inspection & Smog Laws was last updated on July 6, 2023 at 11:02 pm. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!