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Division of Motor Vehicles

Vehicle Services FAQ's


Vehicle Inspection Program FAQs

Q:When are vehicles tested?

A: Typically, vehicles are tested biennially based upon the model year "and vehicles being titled/registered for the first time in Delaware". The testing is required prior to registration renewal. Vehicles in the first 7 model years are excluded from testing. The Division electronically sends registration renewal notices approximately 90 days before registrations expire. (Link to our website to renew)

Q:How is the Emission Test Performed?

A: When a motorist enters the test facility, the lane associate will ask for the vehicle to be placed in a park position. Once the vehicle is safely parked, the lane associate will ask for the vehicle registration card and the odometer reading to enter the essential information into a computer system. Below is a chart breaking down the emission standards for the State of Delaware per The Department of Natural Resources and Environment Control (DNREC).

1st Part of the Emission Test

Year of Vehicle

Sussex County

Kent County

New Castle County

1968 to 1995

Curb Idle Test

Curb Idle Test

Curb Idle Test

1996 + Gasoline Power Vehicles Less than 8500 lbs. MGVWR

OBD – II

OBD – II

OBD – II

1997 + Diesel Powered Vehicles Less than 8500 lbs. MGVWR

OBD – II

OBD – II

OBD – II

2008 + Gasoline and Diesel – Powered Vehicles between 8500 lbs. and 14,000 lbs. MGVWR

OBD – II

OBD -II

OBD - II

2nd Part of the Emissions Test

Year of Vehicle

Sussex County

Kent County

New Castle County

1975 – 1995

Gas Cap Pressure Test

Gas Cap Pressure Test

Gas Cap Pressure Test

Q:Who Does the Testing and what does it Cost?

A: The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) conducts testing. All required inspections are without charge to Delaware residents.

Q: What Vehicles Require Emissions Testing?

A: Emissions tests are required on automobiles and on trucks with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (MGVWR) of 14,000 pounds or less. Exceptions include vehicles manufactured before 1968, diesel-fueled vehicles manufactured before 1997, and motorcycles.

Q:Why is Emissions Testing required in Delaware?

A: Delaware is one of the areas in 35 state with air pollution levels higher than federal health standards. In Delaware, motor vehicles create approximately one-third of the volatile organic compounds (mostly hydrocarbons). The purpose of Delaware’s emissions testing program is to identify: • Vehicles that exceed exhaust and evaporative emissions standards • Prevent registration until vehicles meet emissions standards

Q:Why Vehicle Emissions Testing?

A: The Federal Clean Air Act spells out air quality standards that all areas of the United States must meet. Motor Vehicles are one of the major causes of air pollutants. Vehicle emissions include carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC). Vehicle testing assures that vehicle-generated emissions are within specified standards.

Q:Who Sets Exhaust Emissions Standards?

A: The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) sets the emissions standards for vehicles in the State of Delaware. The Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) administers the vehicles inspection program.

Q: What Happens to vehicles that Fail?

A: If a vehicle fails either portion of the emissions test, the owner must perform the emissions-related repairs before being retested. There is no charge to the motorist for retesting failed vehicles. Satisfactory completion of the test requirements is necessary before vehicle registration renewal. The lane associate provides all motorists with an informational brochure at the initial failed test to explain the repair and retest process.

Q:How can I apply for Waiver?

A: Under certain conditions, vehicle owners may apply to the Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) for an exhaust emissions waiver. The Division does not grant waivers for failed fuel system tests or safety examinations. Waivers are issued to vehicles that continue to fail the exhaust emissions test even after appropriate repairs have been made. To be eligible, all items on the following check list must apply: • The vehicle failed the exhaust emissions test two or more times • Engine parameters are set to manufacturer’s specifications • You exceeded the repair cost limit. The limit is $75.00 for vehicles in the 1968-1980 model year range, and for 1981 and newer vehicles registered in all three counties: Sussex, Kent and New Castle, a pre-determined amount will be set by the Department of Nature Resources and Environmental Control per Delaware regulation 7 del. Admin C. Subsection 1126 and 7 Del Admin C. Subsection 1131. Please refer to the Vehicle Inspection Program Brochure for a waiver option that meets your vehicle’s manufactured year and county it is registered in. Please refer to XXXX ( DNREC’s link) for a list of certified technicians. • The vehicle did not fail for visible smoke or missing emissions control equipment. • When presented to a DMV technician for review, all repair receipts and Vehicle Inspection Reports (VIR) must accompany the waiver applications. • If you have any questions, please reach out to an Motor Vehicle Inspection lane Supervisor

Q:Where are vehicles Tested?

A: Vehicles and be tested in all four DMV Locations (link to locations) throughout the State of Delaware.

Q:Who to contact to schedule an off-site inspection? Change

A: Wilmington: 302-434-3243
Delaware City: 302-832-5172
Dover: 302-744-2560
Georgetown: 302-853-1018