Get the Facts on Virginia State and Emissions Inspections

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Understanding what you need to do to ensure you car is in compliance for state and emissions inspections can be confusing. We’ve created this post to try and help answer any questions you may be having.

So you’ve just moved to Virginia. What do you need to do to register your car?

Well, the first thing you need to get is the Virginia Safety Inspection. That’s the sticker you see in your window that is related to safety items. The safety inspections are regulated by the Virginia State Police. During a safety inspection an inspector is going to look at your tires, steering, and suspension – hundreds of items in your car – to make sure that those items are working properly, and are safe to operate on the roads.

Aside from a safety inspection, the second item you’re going to need is called the Virginia Emissions Inspection. This is related to your license plates which come from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The Virginia Emissions Inspection is regulated by the Department of Environmental Quality.

The Virginia Safety Inspections are conducted every year, prior to the end of the month that’s currently on the sticker. The Virginia Emissions Inspection is conducted every two years.

What inspections you need may be confusing for some individuals, like our military members who have moved to Virginia from another state. We checked with the Quantico Marine Corps. Base, to ask what inspection documentation was needed to access Virginia military bases.

If you’ve just moved here from your home state, wherever that may be, you may have your vehicle still registered there, and that’s perfectly legal. However, if your home state requires some sort of safety inspection – and then that inspection has expired on your windshield – Quantico, which is the base we contacted, requires you to have a current safety inspection.

And you can use the Virginia Safety Inspection to qualify to still get on base, even if your vehicle is not from Virginia.

Another important point to know about Virginia Safety Inspections are the rules for cars that are issued a rejection sticker for a safety issue with your vehicle. Once the rejection has been issues you have 15 days to make those repairs, and then you can come back to the original inspection station to have that re-inspection performed.

With safety inspections, it’s important to understand that those rules can change on a yearly basis. We do our best to keep up on those rules. There is a Virginia State Police website to help you understand some of those rules, but that can be confusing, so please ask your service advisor at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire if you have any questions, prior to these inspections being performed.