Car Inspection Laws

Stephen R. Hasner
Managing Partner at Hasner Law PC
May 10, 2024
Car Inspection Laws

Before you buy a motor vehicle in Georgia, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the state’s car inspection laws. Hasner Law PC has compiled the information you need right here. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our law offices in Atlanta to speak with one of our experienced attorneys today.

Do Vehicles Have to Undergo an Annual Safety Inspection in Georgia?

Do Vehicles Have to Undergo an Annual Safety Inspection in Georgia?

In many states, cars must pass annual safety inspections for their owners to continue operating them legally on public roads and highways. 

Tests of this nature typically examine the most crucial parts of the vehicle, including:

  • The brakes
  • The tires
  • The engine
  • The transmission
  • The lights, and
  • The steering

Georgia does not have a vehicle safety inspection requirement. Motorists in the Peach State can use their cars on public roads without ever having to prove that they are safe for use.

However, it’s important to keep an eye on your vehicle and perform regular maintenance. If your vehicle isn’t property maintained and you get into a car accident, that could spell serious trouble for you if anyone gets hurt.

Do Motor Vehicles in Georgia Have to Undergo Emissions Testing?

The state of Georgia does not mandate that vehicles must pass an annual emissions test so their owners can use them on public roadways.

However, there are 13 counties in the Atlanta metro area in which vehicles are required to go through an emissions inspection on a yearly basis. 

They are:

  • Cherokee
  • Clayton
  • Cobb
  • Coweta
  • DeKalb
  • Douglas
  • Fayette
  • Forsyth
  • Fulton
  • Gwinnett
  • Henry
  • Paulding
  • Rockdale

Drivers who live in these counties must get their vehicles inspected every year. People who move to one of these areas must go through the testing process within 30 days of their arrival.

Can Georgians Renew Their Registrations Without Passing an Inspection?

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Whether or not a Georgia resident can renew their car registration without passing an inspection depends on where they live. People who make their homes in the 13 counties that require a yearly emissions test must acquire an inspection sticker before renewing their registration.

Individuals who live in one of Georgia’s other 146 counties do not need to put their cars through a test before getting an updated registration card.

Where Must Georgians Bring Their Vehicles to Undergo Testing?

Georgians who need to put their vehicle through an emissions test can do so at any auto shop with a sign that indicates they perform inspections.

The Georgia Clean Air Force – the body that runs the inspection program – recommends motorists visit a testing station at least a month before they need to renew their registration.

Unfortunately, not all state vehicle inspection stations have the ability to test all models. Some sites can only inspect cars from model years 1996 and newer.

Georgians that need to test vehicles registered before 1996 should visit a station that displays a sign stating “All Vehicles Welcome.”

How Much Do Emissions Tests Cost in Georgia?

The state of Georgia does not have any rules that dictate the amount an auto shop may charge for an emissions test. As such, they are free to set their own prices.

Most technicians in the Peach State charge less than $25 for this service.

What Happens at an Emissions Test in Georgia?

The tests technicians perform on a car at an emissions inspection depend on the age of the vehicle. 

Cars produced after 1996 must go through tests like:

  • A gas cap seal test
  • A visual catalytic converter inspection, and
  • An OBD II test

Vehicles manufactured before 1995 generally have to undergo tests such as:

  • An accelerated simulation mode test
  • A two-speed idle test
  • A gas cap seal test, and
  • A visual catalytic converter inspection

From start to finish, the testing process for both groups of vehicles almost always takes less than an hour. However, drivers often have to wait a little longer during busy periods.

What Happens If a Vehicle Fails its State Inspection?

When Georgia drivers take their cars to an inspection station to put them through an emissions test, they expect them to pass with flying colors. In reality, however, vehicles often struggle to pass these inspections.

When cars fail emissions tests in the state of Georgia, they typically do so for one of the following reasons:

  • A malfunctioning fuel cap
  • Leaks in the vacuum system
  • A malfunctioning EGR valve
  • Broken spark plugs
  • A malfunctioning oxygen sensor
  • Excessive dirt and debris in the air filter

When a vehicle fails an emissions test in Georgia, its owner must take it to a licensed auto shop to get it repaired. The Georgia Clean Air Force offers motorists a list of qualified technicians on its official website.

Once drivers get their car repaired, they can return to the same inspection station within 30 days to get it re-tested for free.

Are There Exemptions to Georgia’s Inspection Requirements?

Not all vehicles in the 13 counties that require emissions testing must go through an inspection. 

Local governments offer exemptions to:

  • Motorcycles
  • Recreational vehicles (RVs)
  • Motor homes
  • Alternative fuel vehicles
  • Diesel-powered vehicles
  • Vehicles that are three model years old or newer, and
  • Vehicles that are 25 model years old or older

Georgians who are 65 years of age or older can also receive an inspection exemption if they:

  • Own a vehicle that is at least 10 years old, and
  • Do not drive more than 5,000 miles per year

To receive an exemption of this nature, seniors must submit an application to the Georgia Clean Air Force Customer Service Center.

Car Inspection Laws in Georgia – Contact Our Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyers for More Info

Do you have additional questions about Georgia’s car inspection laws? If so, please do not hesitate to contact the personal injury lawyers at Hasner Law PC. Our experienced legal team will be happy to provide you with the information you require.

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Managing Partner at Hasner Law PC
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Stephen Hasner is the founder and managing partner of Hasner Law PC. Since being licensed in Florida in 1997 and in Georgia in 1999, Stephen has worked tirelessly to help Georgia residents navigate the legal process following a serious injury. This includes injuries sustained at work, in motor vehicle accidents, and in cases of personal injury. The team at Hasner Law is dedicated to securing compensation for their clients who have been injured through no fault of their own.