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Testing Information

On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) Readiness and Drive Cycle Information

Your vehicle performs up to 11 diagnostic checks of specific emission control components such as engine, transmission, fuel systems and other emissions controls. Each diagnostic check communicates with a monitor called a readiness monitor. These diagnostic checks are performed while the vehicle is driven. Certain driving conditions must be met to determine if all components are functioning within allowable standards. If all diagnostic checks have been performed, the computer reports systems as “ready.” If diagnostic data has been erased during vehicle repairs or through battery disconnection the computer reports systems as “incomplete” or “not ready.” Vehicles are rejected from testing when these diagnostic checks are not completed. This sophisticated system serves as an early indicator of exceeding the vehicle emissions standards, increasing air pollution emissions and of potential engine damage.

The OBD system is more like a computer monitoring system. An OBD monitor is a computer test or series of computer tests used to determine if an emission control device or system is failing. The vehicle performs the self-diagnostic computer test when the vehicle is driven. This is commonly referred to as a “drive cycle.”

Read more about OBD readiness and drive cycle information.

Testing frequency and which vehicles need to test

All even-model-year vehicles must be tested during the even-numbered years (e.g. a 2008 vehicle must be tested in 2016, 2018, etc.). All odd-model-year vehicles must be tested during the odd-numbered years (e.g. a 2005 vehicle must be tested in 2017, 2019, etc.). However, you do not need to have a vehicle tested if a previous test was done within one year of your current renewal date.

An E-Check test is valid for 365 days following the date of the test. You may use that same test certificate to renew your registration if your renewal date falls within 365 days from the initial test. Please keep in mind that vehicles are only required to test every other year.

Vehicles that should test well ahead of their registration date

  • Those who spend winter outside of Ohio (test before the winter season)

  • College students attending a school in Ohio that is not located in a testing county

  • Vehicles that may need repairs or have a "Check Engine" light on (test early to allow plenty of time for repairs before your registration renewal date)

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 in an E-Check county must comply with E-Check. Please refer to the exempt vehicles section below for a list of vehicles that are exempt from the E-Check program.

New vehicles

New vehicles are exempt for the first four model years. For example, 2019 to 2022 model year vehicles are exempt from testing in 2022.

Cost of the test

In accordance with House Bill (H.B.) 119, a motorist may receive up to three free tests within a 365-day period. With the fourth test, and all thereafter, the motorist will be charged a fee of $18, which must be paid at one of the 23 full-service E-Check stations. Only one free passing test is permitted within a 365-day period.

Duplicate test certificates

Motorists can obtain a duplicate copy of a valid passing test record at any of the E-Check testing locations free of charge. The motorist will need to bring the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to the testing station.

Vehicles permanently exempt from the E-Check program

Some vehicles are permanently exempt from the E-Check test requirement. The following is a partial listing of permanently exempt vehicles:

  • Vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds GVWR 
  • Motorcycles, recreational vehicles and motor homes 
  • Historical and collector's vehicles 

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. Electrically powered vehicles (one-time verification inspection by Ohio EPA Mobile Sources Section required.)

  2. Vehicles operating on alternative fuel, such as propane, butane, alcohol or natural gas (one-time verification inspection by Ohio EPA Mobile Sources Section required.)

  3. 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.

Title transfers

Whenever a vehicle's title transfers to another individual within one of the seven E-Check counties and that vehicle's emissions test has expired, the vehicle must be tested. Vehicles within the four year exemption period do not test on a title transfer. Vehicles that are 25 years old or newer and were titled out-of-state must also be tested before they are registered in Ohio. If the previous owner has a valid test certificate, the new owner may use it to register the vehicle. In the event the previous owner does not have the certificate or is not sure if the vehicle has been tested in the last 365 days, please click here for vehicle test history. You must have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to obtain this information.

IMPORTANT: An inspection certificate is valid for 365 days following the date of the test. If a vehicle that has undergone a title change is registered within 365 days from a previous test, then the new owner will not need to have the vehicle tested again in order to register. An inspection certificate is valid for one full year from test date, regardless of title changes.

Multi-Year Registration Testing Requirements

These vehicles are still required to test. Motorists who live in an E-Check county are eligible for multi-year registrations from two-to-five years. E-Check county residents that purchase multi-year registrations must continue to comply with the regular biennial E-Check requirements. Motorists with multi-year registrations that have been issued an extension must comply with the extension requirements in order to maintain valid registration.

E-Check county residents who do not comply with E-Check requirements are subject to registration suspension and confiscation per Ohio Revised Code (ORC) section 4503.103(D).

Self-serve Kiosks

Self-service Emissions Testing Kiosks

There are self-service On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) II testing kiosks available for public use at 16 of the full-service E-Check station locations. The self-service kiosks can be used by most 1996-and-newer gasoline engine vehicles and 1997-and-newer diesel engine vehicles to receive their initial test. The inspection consists of three easy steps:

1. Scan your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) barcode, or enter it directly in the screen, and verify or enter other vehicle information necessary.

2. Connect the OBD testing device to your vehicle's data port.

3. Collect your Vehicle Inspection Report showing your vehicle's information and the inspection results. If your vehicle passes, you may proceed with your registration. If your vehicle fails, you must return to a regular inspection lane during normal business hours for your re-inspection.

The self-service kiosk is intended to be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide motorists with another testing option that fits their schedules.

Note: The availability of the kiosk for testing for the next person, particularly during non-station operating hours, is highly dependent on the proper use of the kiosk by the previous motorists. If a customer does not return and properly reset the bar code scanner and/or DLC diagnostic testing device to the kiosk after use, the kiosk will not be available for use by subsequent customers until a station employee can correct the misuse of the components during regular station operating hours. In this situation, the kiosk will display an "Out of Service" message.

Testing kiosks are available at the following locations:

City

Address

Medina

770 N. Progress Drive, Medina, OH 44256

Euclid

1750 Metro Drive, Euclid, OH 44132

Warrensville Heights

19000 S. Miles Road, Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

Westlake

24770 Sperry Drive, Westlake, OH 44145

Cleveland

4557 Industrial Parkway, Cleveland, OH 44135

North Royalton

13000 York Delta Drive, North Royalton, OH 44133

Kent

1460 Fairchild Road, Kent, OH 44240

Rootstown

5093 S. Prospect St., Rootstown, OH 44272

Akron

1818 Copley Road, Akron, OH 44320

Cuyahoga Falls

3478 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223

Twinsburg

2200 Pinnacle Parkway, Twinsburg, OH 44087

Berea

1291 W. Bagley Road, Berea, OH 44017

Valley View

6150 W. Canal Road, Valley View, OH 44125

Chardon

10632 Auburn Road, Chardon, OH 44024

Painesville

1755 N. Ridge Road, Painesville, OH 44077

Elyria

128 Reaser Court, Elyria, OH 44036

If the "Check Engine" light has been turned off recently (within a week) because the battery was disconnected, vehicle repaired, serviced or the computer was cleared with a scan tool, the vehicle may not be able to receive a test either at the kiosk or an inspection lane. The vehicle may first need to be driven through its drive cycle to ready the vehicle's computer for testing. You can read the following for additional information on drive cycles and vehicle testing readiness:

If the "Check Engine" light is on, you will still be able to test the vehicle, however, you will receive a failing test. The purpose for this would be to obtain the trouble codes for free which you or your mechanic can use to repair the vehicle. The vehicle is allowed three free tests within a 365-day period. The fourth and any subsequent tests will need to be conducted at a full-service station in an inspection lane and will cost $18 each time.

During normal E-Check station hours of operation, there will be employees available for help with the testing process. As mentioned above, the kiosk is only able to test 1996-and-newer gasoline engine vehicles and 1997-and-newer diesel engine vehicles.

Rapid Screen

Choice Plus RapidScreen vans travel throughout Northeast Ohio and remotely scan vehicles as they drive by. If the vehicle records two clean RapidScreen readings within a nine-month window in the year prior to its registration renewal date, the owner will receive a notification in the mail and on the vehicle’s registration renewal application. Read more about RapidScreen on the Choice Plus website.

What should you bring to the test, and who can bring the vehicle?

What to bring to the test

*Anyone can bring the vehicle in to be tested

Ohio title or registration: If your vehicle has Ohio license plates and is registered in an E-Check county the lane inspector may ask for the vehicle title or registration. However, your vehicle can be tested without these items if the vehicle is registered in an E-Check county. If you are moving into an E-Check county, please see the sections below. If you are in the process of purchasing a vehicle and the title is not in your name, a voucher is required to perform the test.

Money: In accordance with House Bill (H.B.) 119, a motorist may receive up to three free tests within a 365-day period. With the fourth test, and all thereafter, the motorist will be charged $18. Only one free passing test is permitted within a 365-day period. Motorists wishing to obtain a duplicate copy of a valid passing test record will need to bring the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to the testing station.

30-day temporary tag: If your vehicle has a 30-day temporary tag, you must present one of the following documents at the time of the test:

  • Ohio title
  • Ohio memorandum of title
  • Ohio lease agreement with the VIN and your Ohio address listed on it
  • Ohio temporary registration

Leased Vehicles: Lease holders must bring the Ohio lease agreement with the VIN and your Ohio address listed on it.

Out of state residents moving into an Ohio E-Check County: If moving into an Ohio E-Check county one of the following processes must be followed in order to have an emissions test done, which will permit you to register a vehicle in Ohio:

  • The owner of the vehicle must go to the title bureau and request the 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 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.
  • 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. 

Ohio residents moving into an E-Check county must bring one of the following:

  • Purchase a voucher at the station or from Envirotest Systems.
    • The voucher must be presented at the time of the test.
    • After your vehicle has passed inspection, you may obtain your new registration and receive a refund for the cost of the inspection. For refund information contact Envirotest Systems Corporation at (330) 963-4464 x1234 or (800) 218-9247 x1234.
  • New temporary registration showing your new address (30-day temporary tag)

Vehicles from outside Ohio: If your vehicle is titled and registered in another state you must obtain a voucher from Envirotest Systems. The vehicle cannot be tested without a voucher. 

No pets: With the exception of service animals in the company of persons with a disability, the test facilities are unable to accommodate animals, including pets. A service animal is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as "any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability."

If you have unanswered questions at the station, please ask for the station manager.

Recently purchase a used vehicle?

If a used vehicle is purchased that requires an E-Check before registration, the owner may transfer plates from their old vehicle to the new one and drive with those plates legally for 30 days. Please keep in mind the three guidelines for transferring standard plates. They are as follows:

  • The vehicle that the license plates were on is no longer owned by you. You have signed the title over to the new owner, salvaged the vehicle, etc.
  • The license plate registration and sticker are still valid.
  • The same person or persons owned both the old and the new vehicle for which the plates are transferring.

Whenever a vehicle's title transfers to another individual within one of the seven E-Check counties and that vehicle's emissions test has expired, the vehicle must be tested. Vehicles within the four year exemption period do not test on a title transfer. Vehicles that are 25 years old or newer and were titled out-of-state must also be tested before they are registered in Ohio. If the previous owner has a valid test certificate, the new owner may use it to register the vehicle. In the event the previous owner does not have the certificate or is not sure if the vehicle has been tested in the last 365 days, please click here for vehicle test history. You must have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to obtain this information.

IMPORTANT: An inspection certificate is valid for 365 days following the date of the test. If a vehicle that has undergone a title change is registered within 365 days from a previous test, then the new owner will not need to have the vehicle tested again in order to register. An inspection certificate is valid for one full year from test date, regardless of title changes.

Vehicles not registered in Ohio requesting testing

Any individual seeking an emissions test for a vehicle registered out of the State of Ohio or a vehicle registered in an Ohio county where testing is not mandatory will be required to purchase a voucher in advance for each vehicle to be tested. Testing vouchers can be purchased from Envirotest Systems at full-service E-Check stations for $18 each. Credit cards are not accepted.

Government Fleet Testing

Which government fleet vehicles are affected?

Fleet inspections are required every two years by the end of each odd year. This means that, in 2021, both odd and even year models must be tested and the results reported to Ohio EPA by Dec. 31, 2021. Each motor vehicle owned, leased or operated by the state, local government or any political subdivision whose office is located within a county that is part of a designated program area is subject to inspection, unless otherwise exempt. 

In addition, each motor vehicle that is owned or leased by the federal government or its employees and is operated on a federal installation within a county that is part of a designated program area is subject to inspection. 

Ohio E-Check requires passenger cars and trucks 25 years old and newer with gross vehicle weight ratings up to 10,000 pounds to be tested. This can include some 1-to-5 ton heavy-duty trucks. In addition, covert (including police) vehicles are required to obtain a test. Vehicles are tested on a 25-year rolling window. New vehicles are exempt for the first four model years. For example, 2018 through 2021 model year vehicles are exempt from testing in 2021. 

Diesel-powered cars and trucks also undergo inspection. They receive an opacity test, which differs from the tailpipe test gasoline-powered vehicles receive (Diesel vehicles are not significant sources of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, but they do emit large amounts of particulate matter, a documented respiratory irritant. So, diesel vehicles receive a special test relating to particulate matter). 

Model year 1997 and newer gasoline-fueled vehicles and model year 1997 and newer diesel-fueled vehicles less than 10,001 lbs gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) will undergo an OBD II test. For more information on OBD II, please see the OBD II FAQ.

What model years are required to be inspected in 2021?

In 2021, vehicles of model years 1995 through 2017 are required to be inspected. Model years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 are exempt as "NEW" (see exemption codes).

What is a Government Fleet Reporting Form?

The Government Fleet Reporting Form must be completed by your agency, submitted to and received by Ohio EPA no later than Dec. 31, 2021. The reporting form lists all vehicles your agency owns with their test results or exemption codes.

How can I tell whether my vehicle is over the weight limit?

Vehicles whose gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is over 10,000 lbs are exempt as "OGVW" (see exemption codes). The GVWR for your vehicle is printed on the manufacturer's certificate label, which is usually located either on the driver's side door jamb or the driver's side door.

Ohio EPA identifies the GVWR for each vehicle based on its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and in most cases, we are able to label those vehicles that are over the 10,000 pound limit as "OGVW" for you.

What do I bring to the test and how much does it cost?

The lane inspector may ask for the vehicle registration to verify that the vehicle requires testing, however the vehicle can be tested without this item. In accordance with House Bill (H.B.) 119, a vehicle may receive up to three free tests within a 365-day period. With the fourth test, and all thereafter, a voucher will need to be purchased for $18. Vouchers may be purchased at the station. Only one free passing test is permitted within a 365-day period. 

Where are the E-Check test centers located?

Inspections are performed at contractor-run E-Check stations, as well as a handful of other private auto repair shops. The test stations are conveniently located throughout the seven-county test area.

For a list of testing locations in your area visit our testing locations page or call 1-800-CAR-TEST.

How many vehicles should I bring to the E-Check test center?

Ohio EPA recommends not taking all of your vehicles to the test center at the same time if your fleet size is large. Fleets with more than 25 vehicles should schedule appointments at test facilities by contacting Envirotest Systems at 1-800-CAR-TEST or writing to them at Envirotest Systems, 2180 Pinnacle Parkway, Twinsburg, OH, 44087-2366. 

What happens after I pass the test?

When a vehicle passes the inspection, you will receive a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR), which includes a detachable inspection certificate. The certificate ID number needed to complete the Government Fleet Reporting Form is shown at the bottom of the VIR. Do not send the VIR to Ohio EPA, but keep it for your records.

Will you accept handwritten reporting forms?

No. Information must be typed onto reporting forms, using either a typewriter or computer printer. Reporting forms that do not meet this requirement will be returned unprocessed. 

I submitted certificate IDs just for the vehicles we own, but left other vehicles blank. Why was my form returned?

In addition to providing certificate IDs for vehicles in your fleet, you must also provide exemption codes for vehicles in you fleet that do not test (see the reporting instructions for exemption codes). 

Are diesel vehicles exempt from testing?

No. There is no exemption for diesel vehicles. Large diesel trucks may be exempt but only if they are older than 25 years old, or are over 10,000 lbs GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). 

Are flexible fuel vehicles exempt from testing?

No. Only vehicles that run exclusively on 100 percent alternative fuel, such as compressed natural gas (CNG), propane, or electricity.

What happens if the vehicle fails the test?

If a vehicle fails the test, you will be given an emissions report to assist a repair technician in diagnosing and correcting the problem. A list of licensed repair facilities that have the minimum equipment and specially certified technicians who have completed advanced emissions-repair training will also be provided. Vehicle repairs may be performed by a repair facility of your choice or may be performed by the vehicle owner.

Repair cap waivers are issued to motorists when they have spent $300 or more toward emissions-related repairs on a vehicle and still do not pass. Tampering-related repairs do not count toward the waiver dollar amount. Receipts will only be accepted for emission-related repairs performed prior to an initial failing test, if it is within 60 days prior to the initial inspection. All other emissions related work conducted after the initial inspection may be accepted for the waiver dollar amount.

Who can I contact for more information?

If you have questions regarding government fleets and the E-Check program please call (614) 644-3059 and ask to speak to the government fleet specialist.