Inspection / Maintenance (I/M) Program

For Station Owners & Inspectors For Analyzer Vendors

Update on efforts to change the vehicle model year coverage to 20 years for the remaining 22 counties in the State Inspection and Maintenance Program after December 1, 2019

Effective December 1, 2019, vehicles required to obtain a passing emissions inspection will change from 1996 and newer to a revolving 20 years for the 22 counties (Alamance, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Cumberland, Davidson, Durham, Franklin, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Johnston, Iredell, Lee, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Onslow, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Union and Wake) remaining in the Inspection and Maintenance (I&M) program. This model year coverage change was enacted in Session Law 2017-10, Senate Bill 131 of the 2017 session of the North Carolina General Assembly. 

On September 17, 2019, the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) provided a letter to the Revisor of Statutes, certifying the Environmental Protection Agency's approval of the change. The Division of Motor Vehicles will handle implementation of the changes to the I&M program.

Note: All counties will still require the annual safety inspection.


Inspection / Maintenance

The Inspection/Maintenance (I/M) Program for cars and trucks makes sure that the air pollution controls are working properly on vehicles. This is important because motor vehicles contribute substantially to air quality problems.

Emissions Testing

North Carolina requires emission systems tests for cars and light-duty trucks as part of the annual safety inspection in 22 counties. Vehicles from 1996 and newer are usually equipped with On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) systems, which help inspectors check that the vehicle's pollution controls are working.

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