Ohio Car Inspection

Vehicles in seven Ohio counties are required to obtain biennial emissions inspections. They get three attempts to pass the test.
Written by Tom Hindle
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Every vehicle in seven
counties weighing less than 10,000 pounds must get an emissions test every other year.
Emission tests are also required for vehicles that are being registered in the state for the first time—regardless of county. There are no safety tests required in Ohio. 
If your vehicle doesn’t meet testing requirements, a fine or licensed violation could be in the cards. The specifics of the penalty vary depending on your county of residence. 

What are the vehicle inspection requirements in Ohio?

Emissions tests are required biennially in the following seven Ohio counties: 
  • Cuyahoga
  • Geauga
  • Lake
  • Lorain
  • Medina
  • Portage
  • Summit
New residents must also get their vehicle smog checked when they register their car for the first time in the state. At that time, inspectors will likely also run a VIN, which is usually free of charge.
There are no safety inspection mandates in Ohio, but you might want to get your car checked out anyway. Even if everything appears to be running smoothly, there’s always a chance you’re dealing with a janky part or mechanical issue. 
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Exceptions to the state requirements

Although the vehicle emission testing requirements in Ohio are fairly rigid, there are a few exceptions. Owners of the following vehicles are exempt from the laws: 
  • Vehicles more than 25 years old
  • Motorcycles
  • Vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds with a commercial registration
  • Vehicles with historical and collector registrations
  • Motorhomes
  • Vehicles with parade and exhibition registrations
  • RVs
Owners typically have to obtain a permit to verify that they’re exempt from these requirements. So, if you want to avoid inspections, you might have to fill out a little paperwork first.

Where to get a car inspection in Ohio

You shouldn’t have too much trouble getting a car inspection in Ohio. There are many DMV-verified mechanics that can run a vehicle inspection for you in each county. 

How often do you need a car inspection?

Ohio requires you to get an emissions check on your car every other year. You’ll also need one if you move to the state and register your car for the first time. 
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Car emissions inspections in Ohio are free. You’ll have three attempts to pass an emissions test yearly. If you fail all attempts, additional inspections cost $18 each.
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