The State of Texas website explains that all vehicles registered in Texas must pass a safety inspection. No exceptions. Additionally, some counties require emissions tests. If you get a safety inspection in a non-emissions county, and then move to an emissions county and register my vehicle, another safety inspection isn’t generally required. If the inspection in the earlier county was obtained no earlier than 90 days before your registration expiration, you will be able to renew without paying more.

To get an inspection prior to registration, just take your car to a certified Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) inspection station. If new to Texas, you’ll soon learn that many repair shops, oil change places and service stations are certified inspection stations. If new to Texas, you have 30 days to fulfill any safety inspection and emissions testing. If you already live in Texas, get a new inspection upon registration renewal.

Safety inspections are mandatory. Only some counties require emissions tests. Of course, brand new vehicles (and vehicles older than 24-years) are exempt from smog checks. Got a diesel-powered vehicle? They’re also exempt.

Emissions testing is required in the following places:

  • Travis
  • Williamson
  • Brazoria
  • Fort Bend
  • Galveston
  • Harris
  • Montgomery
  • Collin
  • Dallas
  • Denton
  • Ellis
  • Johnson
  • Kaufman
  • Parker
  • Rockwall
  • Tarrant
  • El Paso

When your vehicle passes the emissions test, you’ll get a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) which you’ll use to register or renew your vehicle.

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