Beginning Dec. 1, North Carolina’s vehicle inspections requirement will exempt vehicles 20 years old from obtaining a yearly emissions test in the 22 counties which emissions testing is required.
For example, a 1999 model year vehicle would be exempt from obtaining an emissions inspection starting Dec. 1. The following year a 2000 model year vehicle would be exempt from obtaining an emissions inspection.
The change came about as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 131 (Regulatory Reform Act of 2016-2017). The bill was signed into law in 2017 and then approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The 20-year rolling inspection is outlined in N.C.G.S. 20-183.2(b)(3).
By law, a motor vehicle must pass an annual safety inspection before it can be registered in North Carolina or the registration can be renewed. All North Carolina counties still require the safety inspection.
Emissions inspections are still be required in 22 counties and will still be required for vehicles under 20 years old, starting Dec. 1. Those counties requiring emissions inspections include Alamance, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Cumberland, Davidson, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Guilford, Iredell, Johnston, Lee, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Onslow, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Union and Wake counties.
More information on emissions and safety inspections is available on the NCDMV website.