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Frequently Asked Questions

Which vehicles must be tested?

All gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles, including flexible fuel and hybrid vehicles, equal to or less than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), 25 years old or newer from the current testing year and registered within an E-Check county must comply with the E-Check requirement. All even-model year vehicles must test in even-numbered years. All odd-model year vehicles must test in odd-numbered years.

New vehicles are exempt for the first four model years. 

What counties are included in the Ohio E-Check program?

The seven Ohio counties currently participating in the program include: Cuyahoga; Geauga; Lake; Lorain; Medina; Portage; and Summit counties.

Do I need to make an appointment before taking my vehicle to a test station?

No. Vehicles are tested on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointments are necessary.

What if my vehicle fails the test?

Motorists are eligible to receive a waiver if $300 in emissions repairs are performed on the failing vehicle. For information on the waiver process, please go to our Repair Cap Waiver webpage.

What if I am moving to an E-Check county?

Non-Ohio residents moving into Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage or Summit counties must follow one of the following processes to register a vehicle in the State of Ohio:

  • The owner of the vehicle must obtain a new Ohio driver's license with the updated address. After obtaining the license, take the license, current vehicle registration, and the vehicle to the testing station. After passing the emissions test, the owner of the vehicle will be able to obtain an Ohio title and registration.
  • Purchase a voucher for $18 at the station or from Envirotest Systems. After completing the registration process, the motorist will be eligible for a refund. 
  • The owner of the vehicle must go to the title bureau and request the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) verification inspection only. The owner will pay $3.50 for the inspection.
    • After the VIN inspection has been completed, the owner will take the vehicle to an E-Check station for testing. The owner will need to present the VIN Inspection Certificate to receive a free test. If the VIN Inspection Certificate is not presented, one of the following must be presented:
      • Ohio title
      • Ohio memorandum of title
      • Ohio lease agreement with the VIN and your Ohio address listed on it
      • Ohio temporary registration
    • After passing the emissions test, the owner of the vehicle should return to the title bureau and obtain an Ohio title. The owner can also obtain the required registration from the registrar.

Ohio residents moving into an E-Check county are only required to test if the current year corresponds with your vehicle's normal testing year. The paragraph below will help you determine if your vehicle needs a test.

Testing is required for even-year vehicle models in even years and odd-year vehicle models in odd years (i.e. a 2018 model year vehicle is required to test in 2022, a 2017 model year vehicle is not required to test in 2022). If the vehicle is not required to test for registration purposes, proceed to the registration bureau and register as usual. 

  • The owner of the vehicle must update their Ohio driver's license with the updated address. After obtaining a new license or postcard from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) with the updated information, take the license or postcard, current vehicle registration, and the vehicle to the testing station. After passing the emissions test, the owner of the vehicle will be able to obtain the required registration.
  • Purchase a voucher from Envirotest for $18. Vouchers may be purchased at the stations or via phone at 1-800-CAR-TEST.
    • Proceed to the E-Check station and have the vehicle tested. The voucher must be presented at the time of the test.
    • After passing the emissions test, the owner can obtain the required registration from the registrar.
    • After passing the emissions test, a reimbursement for the cost of the test can be obtained from Envirotest. For refund information, call 1-800-CAR-TEST.

What if my vehicle is out of the state?

If a vehicle is registered in an Ohio E-Check county and is permanently, temporarily or indefinitely housed out of state, it is not exempt from the Ohio E-Check requirements. If the vehicle is located in a state with a testing program, you must test the vehicle and send the vehicle's original passing test certificate, a readable copy of the vehicle's registration, and an Ohio E-Check Exemption/Extension application [PDF] to Ohio EPA. Please visit our testing locations page to see if you are in another state's testing area.

If my vehicle does not pass the test, will the test center make necessary repairs?

No. The test centers do not make repairs. You may take your vehicle to a service facility of your choice to have necessary repairs made.

Do I have to pay if my vehicle fails the test?

In accordance with House Bill (H.B.) 119, a motorist may receive up to three free tests within a 365-day period. The fourth test, and all thereafter, the motorist will be charged $18 for the test. Only one free passing test is permitted per 365-day period.

Are there specific repair facilities licensed by Ohio EPA to make emissions repairs?

Ohio EPA licenses repair shops and certifies repair technicians within the seven E-Check counties. Technicians are trained and certified in areas of emission diagnosis and repairs. The technicians must complete a high-quality training program developed by the Training Repair Industry Advisory Group (TRIAG) and Ohio EPA to become Ohio-certified E-Check repair technicians. Licensed E-Check repair facilities must employ at least one certified E-Check repair technician and maintain the following equipment:

  • Reference Materials
  • DVOM or Digital Multi-Meter
  • Vacuum Gauge
  • Fuel Pressure Test Kit
  • Carbon Cleaner System
  • 3.5 or 5 Gas Analyzer
  • Scan Tool
  • Basic Ignition Scope with DIS capabilities

If a vehicle fails the test, the motorist will be given a complete list of all licensed repair stations in the area.

What if I don't have money for repairs?

Motorists may be eligible for a six-month hardship extension for vehicles that fail the Ohio E-Check test if the household's income falls within the income guidelines. To qualify for a hardship extension, the motorist must provide a completed Hardship Extension Application, a failed E-Check test, a written estimate for emission related vehicle repairs, including diagnostic fees, in the amount of $75 or more and meet the income guidelines below:

*1 person up to $17,655
*2 person up to $23,895
*3 person up to $30,135
*4 person up to $36,375
*5 person up to $42,615
*6 person up to $48,855
*7 person up to $55,095
*8 person up to $61,335

For households more than eight members, add $5,610 for each individual member.

Tax-dependent college students who are absent from the household solely because of college attendance must be included on your application for the determination of eligibility and may not apply as separate households. Household income is defined as the gross income of all household members, except wage or salary income earned by dependent minors under 18 years of age. Head of household and spouse may never be considered as minors. Gross income includes wages, interest, annuities, pensions, social security retirement, disability, public assistance, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), alimony, spousal support, child support, unemployment benefits, worker's compensation and any other indirect income such as utility allowances.

Owners of vehicles failing for gas cap only do not qualify for an extension and the gas cap must be repaired or replaced. The hardship extension is available one time per vehicle.

I had my vehicle tested last year when I purchased it. Why do I have to test it again this year?

When the title of a vehicle is transferred and the new owner wishes to register that vehicle, a passing E-Check test may be required for registration. The vehicle then begins being tested biennially based on model year. In some cases, when a motorist purchases a used vehicle, an emissions test may be required in two successive years. For example, if a 2013 vehicle was purchased in 2022, the motorist would be required to provide a passing test certificate to register the vehicle. In 2023, the vehicle would be required to test again based on the odd model year testing schedule. If the passing test certificate from the 2022 test is more than 365 days old at the time of registration, the vehicle will be required to test again. If the test certificate from 2022 is still valid at the time of registration, the vehicle will not have to be tested in 2023.

Why isn't testing required in all states? In all 88 Ohio counties?

Automobile emissions testing is required in all or part of 33 states to help maintain the federal air quality standard. Areas that were in moderate non attainment or worse for ozone in 1990 are included in Ohio's E-Check program. These areas include the metropolitan statistical areas of Cleveland/Akron. These areas need to reduce ozone air pollution in order to maintain healthy air quality and to accommodate economic growth. E-Check complements industrial controls in these areas to maintain healthy air quality. Without E-Check, additional requirements could be imposed on industry, limiting the area's ability to attract new jobs and broaden the tax base.

Ohio EPA does not have the authority to implement or require testing of vehicles registered outside the seven counties. Ohio's legislators did not give Ohio EPA the authority to implement an automobile emissions testing program in all Ohio counties.

My vehicle does not emit smoke and there isn't a spot of rust. Why does it need to be tested?

Many motorists believe that a vehicle which does not emit smoke and has an immaculate paint job is a well-maintained vehicle. Outward appearance of a vehicle is not an accurate indication of how well the vehicle's engine has been or is maintained. The pollutants detected by the E-Check test are odorless, nearly colorless and therefore undetectable by the naked eye. If a vehicle does not pass the E-Check test, the vehicle is not operating "cleanly" with regard to the harmful emissions. If all emissions repairs are made to a vehicle to bring that vehicle into compliance, the motorist generally experiences an improvement in gas mileage. Proper emissions repairs also lengthen vehicle life.

Regardless of age or mileage, vehicles that are maintained in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations have a better chance of passing the emissions test. Passing the E-Check test indicates that your vehicle's emission control system is operating well, polluting less and consuming less gas.

What is the difference between a 'permanent exemption' and owning a vehicle that is permanently exempt?

Vehicles that are eligible for a permanent exemption must make arrangements for the vehicle to have a one-time visual inspection performed by Ohio EPA Mobile Sources field staff. These vehicles include:

  1. Vehicles operating on alternative fuel, such as propane, butane, alcohol or natural gas (one-time verification inspection by Ohio EPA Mobile Sources Section required.)
  2. Non-commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds GVWR

Several types of vehicles are permanently exempt from the E-Check test requirement and do not need a visual inspection. A complete list with a detailed explanation may be found in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Section 3745-26-12(c). It is not necessary for vehicle owners that are permanently exempt to be issued an exemption certificate. The most common types are listed below:

  1. Vehicles more than 25 years old, as determined by vehicle model year
  2. Commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds GVWR
  3. Historical and collector's vehicles 
  4. Parade and exhibition vehicles
  5. Motorcycles, recreational vehicles and motor homes 

There may be other circumstances under which you may qualify for an exemption or an extension. If you have questions, contact the Ohio EPA E-Check field office at 330-963-4479 or the Ohio EPA Mobile Sources Section at 614-644-3059.