Donate to Hurricane Recovery

Inspection / Maintenance (I/M) Program

For Station Owners & Inspectors For Analyzer Vendors

Update on efforts to remove 26 counties from the State Inspection and Maintenance Program

Currently, emissions inspections are still required in 48 counties. The following process needs to be completed before North Carolina can remove 26 counties (Brunswick, Burke, Caldwell, Carteret, Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Craven, Edgecombe, Granville, Harnett, Haywood, Henderson, Lenoir, Moore, Nash, Orange, Pitt, Robeson, Rutherford, Stanley, Stokes, Surry, Wayne, Wilkes, and Wilson) from the Inspection and Maintenance (I&M) program that was enacted in Session Law 2017-10, Senate Bill 131 of the 2017 session of the North Carolina General Assembly.  

NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Division of Air Quality (DAQ), submitted the revised I&M State Implementation Plan (SIP) and Clean Air Act Section (CAA) 110(l) noninterference demonstration to remove the 26 counties from the I&M program to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval on November 17,2017.

On July 16, 2018, EPA signed the proposed rule and the notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on July 26, 2018.

Next Steps:

  • EPA will take public comments on the proposal for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.  
  • After considering any comments received, EPA may move forward with a final rulemaking action in the Federal Register.  Generally, final rules are effective 30 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register.  
  • NC DEQ provides certification to Reviser of Statutes within 30 days after EPA publishes its final approval in the Federal Register.  
  • Division of Motor Vehicles will begin program implementation the first day of a month that is 60 days after that certification.

All counties will still require the safety inspection. Visit the Exemption Calculator page for additional information.

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 48 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.

Other Links

Have Any Questions?

E-mail your questions to us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

For Free Copies of Brochures and Publications 

Please contact DAQ Public Information Officer at