NC Inspections Laws
Inspection Requirements and Exemptions
Most vehicles in qualifying counties must undergo vehicle emissions and safety inspections.
As explained below (see our section About the North Carolina Inspection Program), there are two parts to the inspection process: emissions inspections and safety inspections. Your vehicle must pass both inspections before you can renew your registration.
You must complete both inspections within 90 days before your registration expires; otherwise, your registration renewal is blocked.
Vehicle Emissions Inspections
This inspection uses the computerized equipment installed on all vehicles model year 1996 and newer.
Exempt vehicles include:
- Diesel-operated vehicles.
- Vehicles model year 1995 and older.
- Vehicles that are 35 years old or older.
- Farmer-rate licensed vehicles.
Vehicle Safety Inspections
Most vehicles in North Carolina are required to undergo a safety inspection on their vehicle— only vehicles 35 years old or older are exempt from getting a safety check.
As mentioned above, your vehicle must undergo this inspection before you can renew its registration. Vehicle inspections can’t be older than 90 days before you apply for renewal.