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Department of Motor Vehicles

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Vehicle Inspections

A vehicle must pass DC DMV inspection before it can be registered with DC DMV. All vehicles must display a valid inspection sticker on the front passenger side, lower corner of the windshield.

Note: DC DMV does not require an inspection for motorcycles and motorized bicycles.

Personal vehicle inspection is valid for 2 years.

Commercial vehicle inspection is valid for 1 year.

A commercial vehicle is:

  • Any vehicle that is longer than 22 feet; or
  • Used for transporting commercial loads or property; or
  • Described as a commercial vehicle on its certificate of title; or
  • Has an irremovable commercial advertisement or insignia.

Side Guards - Commercial motor vehicles based in the District with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) exceeding 8,501 lbs, but less than 26,000 lbs. GVWR shall be equipped with a side guard. If the side guards are not installed or not installed properly, the vehicle fails safety inspection and cannot be registered in the District. For more information, please visit the Side Guards webpage.

Taxi, limousine and for-hire vehicle inspections are valid for 1 Year.

Note: The following vehicles do not have to obtain emissions inspection:

  • Brand new, passenger class vehicles that have a manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (the title for a new vehicle) will automatically receive a 4-year new car inspection sticker upon registration. Therefore, brand new vehicles should not be physically taken through inspection.
  • Diesel passenger class vehicles
  • Fully electric passenger class vehicles
  • Motorcycles

Vehicle inspection stickers expire on the last day of the month. You will be charged a late inspection fee immediately after expiration of the inspection sticker and each 30-day period thereafter (not to exceed $480).

For first time vehicle inspections, you must take the vehicle to the DC DMV Inspection Station, located at 1001 Half Street SW. The vehicle inspection fee is not paid at the inspection station; instead, it is paid at the time of vehicle registration. Vehicles are inspected in the order they arrive during normal hours of operation.

Self-Service Vehicle Emissions Inspection Kiosk

District residents can perform their own vehicle emissions tests on a 24 hour, 7 days a week basis. The kiosk is only available for (1) private/pleasure class vehicles model years 2005 or newer and (2) vehicles previously inspected at the DC DMV Inspection Station.

For vehicles that pass or fail the self-inspection, the kiosk will print a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) and a temporary paper inspection certificate to be displayed on the vehicles’ dashboard. Any vehicle displaying a valid temporary certificate issued by DC DMV will not be ticketed for vehicle inspection violations. DC DMV will mail a two-year or fail inspection sticker to the vehicle owners’ address of record.

A visual tutorial on this new technology is available here [PDF].

The kiosk is available in two locations in the District:

DC DMV Self-Service Vehicle Emissions Inspection Kiosk - Fort Stanton


Fort Stanton Recreation Center
1812 Erie Street SE
Washington, DC 20020


DC DMV Self-Service Vehicle Emissions Inspection Kiosk - Takoma Park


Takoma Recreation Center
300 Van Buren Street NW
Washington, DC 20012 (Entrance is on 3rd Street NW).



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View more information on DC DMV inspection fees.

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