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Vehicle Inspection Results

Clean Air

The District of Columbia provides vehicle inspection services to ensure residents that vehicles producing high levels of pollutants are not registered and operated in the District. A report is produced to assist your mechanic in diagnosing and repairing any emission related problems that are discovered.

"Unable to Test" 

A DMV Inspector before attempting to inspect a vehicle may deem a vehicle that is dangerous, a hazard or a health risk as "unable to test".

The following are some items which will result in a DMV ruling of "unable to test":

  • Smoking excessively
  • Visible damage, audible leaking to an exhaust
  • Leaking Fluids (such as engine oil, transmission, coolant, brake) on the lane
  • Tires which appear unsafe
  • No brakes on a vehicle and/or inoperable parking brakes on front wheel drive vehicles
  • Red Engine Light

Failing Inspection

If a vehicle fails the initial or renewal inspection, a "failed inspection" sticker having 20-days duration will be placed on the vehicle. You will also be provided with a report listing the items that failed inspection. Any questions or problems should be directed to a resolution coordinator at the inspection station.  Additionally, if your vehicle cannot pass the emission test, you can receive a two year waiver from the emission inspection by presenting $848 in emission repairs from a certified mechanic.

Vehicle owners are required to have the vehicle reinspected within 20-days of the failure and may receive two such re-inspections at the DMV inspection station for no additional charge during that timeframe. The reinspection will only check failed items. For a third reinspection, or reinspection after the 20-day period, an inspection fee will be charged and a complete inspection will be performed.

Your vehicle must pass inspection before it can be registered.  Review the Common Causes of Inspection Failure to avoid surprises at the Inspection Station.

Vehicle Re-Inspection

Individuals with vehicles that fail inspection are issued instruction sheets with information on failure areas.

If a vehicle fails the initial or the renewal inspection, you are required to re-inspect the vehicle within 20 days of the failure notice. You are eligible for two free re-inspections during the 20 day period after failing an inspection. You will be charged for a third re-inspection within the 20 day period or for reinspection after the 20 day period.

If the vehicle is not re-inspected within the allotted 20 days, an Inspection Late Fee will be applied. All inspection fees, including late and re-inspection fees, must be paid when the vehicle's registration is renewed.

After a vehicle passes re-inspection, it will receive an inspection sticker valid from the date of re-inspection.

For your convenience Vehicle Inspection Appointment Scheduling is available online.

Note: Please try to bring your inspection renewal notice with you, as it speeds up the process.

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