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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 5. State Air Pollution Control Board
Chapter 91. Regulations for the Control of Motor Vehicle Emissions in the Northern Virginia Area
9/29/2020

9VAC5-91-420. Inspection Procedure; Rejection, Pass, Fail, Waiver.

A. All aspects of the inspection shall be performed by an emissions inspector, using the instructions programmed in the certified analyzer system and procedures approved by the department, within the designated inspection area, and on the permitted premises.

B. The emissions inspection station shall notify the customer prior to initiating an emissions inspection that the emissions inspection station is either able or unable to perform the emissions-related repairs required by 9VAC5-91-480 for that particular vehicle should that vehicle fail the inspection. The emissions inspector shall not conduct an inspection on a motor vehicle unless the customer gives approval after being so notified.

C. The emissions inspector shall not conduct an inspection on a motor vehicle if the vehicle is in an unsafe condition for testing according to the following conditions. The customer shall be informed of any such condition.

1. The vehicle shall not have holes or detectable leaks in the exhaust system. The inspector may check the system for leaks by listening or visually inspecting for such leaks or by measuring carbon dioxide. The presence of leaks shall cause the vehicle to be rejected from testing.

2. The motor vehicle shall be evaluated for the presence of visible smoke emissions. Those vehicles exhibiting any visible smoke emissions from the engine crankcase or exhaust system or both, shall be rejected from testing.

3. The vehicle shall not have any mechanical problems, such as engine, brake, or transmission problems or engine, radiator, or transmission fluid leaks that would create a safety hazard for the applicable test, or bias test results. Such conditions shall cause the vehicle to be rejected from testing.

4. For vehicles receiving a test while operating on a dynamometer, the vehicle shall be rejected from testing if drive wheel tire tread wear indicators, tire cords, bubbles, cuts, or other damage are visible. Such vehicles shall be rejected from testing if space-saver spare tires are being used on a drive axle or if they do not have reasonably sized tires on the drive axle or axles based on dynamometer manufacturer safety criteria or if the set of tires is a mixture of radial and bias ply. Vehicles may be rejected if they have different sized tires on the drive axle or axles. Drive wheel tires shall be checked for appropriate tire pressure and adjusted as necessary as recommended by the tire or vehicle manufacturer.

5. The vehicle shall be rejected from testing if the fuel filler cap (gas cap) is missing.

6. The vehicle shall be rejected from testing if a known, emissions-related, manufacturers recall has not been satisfied according to Part XI (9VAC5-91-720 et seq.).

7. Vehicles that are overheated shall be rejected from testing. Vehicles that indicate that an overheated condition will be achieved during testing may be rejected from testing at the discretion of the inspector.

8. OBD vehicles shall be rejected from testing for any of the following:

a. The OBD data link cannot be accessed physically or electronically.

b. The testing equipment indicates that the OBD system is in a "not ready" status. A "not ready" status shall be indicated by the following:

(1) For model year 1996 through 2000, three or more monitors indicate "not ready."

(2) For model year 2001 and newer, two or more monitors indicate "not ready."

(3) For vehicles that failed the emissions inspection for a catalytic converter related fault code, and the catalyst monitor indicates "not ready" during a reinspection.

c. The catalyst monitor or oxygen sensor monitor, or both, are not supported, except for models exempt by the director.

d. The OBD system is unable to communicate successfully with the analyzer system.

e. The OBD system indicates evidence of tampering.

f. The director may adjust the number of "not ready" monitors required for rejection from testing for specific vehicle models based upon information from this program or other state programs, vehicle manufacturers, or the EPA.

D. The emissions inspection procedure shall be performed under the following conditions:

1. For vehicles subject to exhaust emissions testing, the entire vehicle shall be in normal operating condition as indicated by a temperature gauge or touch test on the radiator hose. If ASM testing is performed, a cooling fan shall be directed at the engine cooling system if the ambient temperature exceeds 72°F.

2. The inspection shall be performed with the transmission in park or neutral for OBD testing or for two-speed idle testing, or in drive (if automatic), or the appropriate gear to achieve necessary RPM range (if manual) for ASM testing; and with all accessories off.

3. All electronic and mechanical testing equipment shall be properly attached according to vehicle and analyzer system manufacturer requirements and instructions.

4. For vehicles subject to exhaust emissions testing, the analyzer probe shall be properly inserted into the exhaust system.

a. The analyzer probe shall be inserted into the tailpipe as recommended by the gas analyzer manufacturer for a quality sample, or at least 10 inches if not specified by the manufacturer.

b. If a baffle or screen prevents probe insertion to an adequate depth, a suitable probe adapter or extension boot which effectively lengthens the tail pipe must be used.

c. If the vehicle is equipped with multiple unique exhaust outlets, a suitable analyzer system manufacturer recommended adapter or other apparatus shall be used in order to provide a single supply of the sample exhaust to the gas analyzer.

d. Vehicle exhaust shall be vented safely out of the inspection area and facility.

5. If the vehicle stops running or the engine stalls during the test it shall be started as soon as possible and, for vehicles subject to exhaust emissions testing, shall be running for at least 30 seconds prior to the restart of the test.

6. For vehicles subject to exhaust emissions testing, the exhaust test shall be terminated upon reaching the overall maximum test time for the applicable test, or if CO plus CO2 concentration falls below 6.0% as determined by the analyzer system.

7. Each emissions inspection, whether initial or retest, shall be conducted in its entirety with the exception of (i) conditions which require that the vehicle be rejected from testing in accordance with subsection C of this section, (ii) invalid test conditions, or (iii) conditions beyond the emissions inspector's control that cause the test to be aborted.

E. In consideration of maintaining inspection integrity:

1. The temperature of the inspection area shall be between 41°F and 110°F during the inspection. Inspection area temperatures shall be accurately measured in a well-ventilated location away from vehicle engine and exhaust heat sources and out of direct sunlight. The analyzer system shall not be operated when the temperature of the inspection area is not within the range stated above.

2. The analyzer system shall be kept in a stable environment which affords adequate protection from the weather and local sources of hydrocarbons or other pollutants that may interfere with gas analyzer performance or accuracy of test results, or both.

3. The electrical supply to the analyzer system shall be able to meet the manufacturer's requirements for voltage and frequency stability.

4. The inspection location shall meet all applicable zoning requirements.

5. The analyzer system shall be operated according to quality assurance procedures and other procedures approved by the department.

F. The emissions inspector shall accurately identify and enter vehicle information, visual component and visible smoke inspection results as applicable for vehicle emissions inspection records. The data entered into the certified analyzer system and recorded on the certificate of vehicle emissions inspection shall be the data from the vehicle being inspected and must be obtained from that vehicle.

G. The emissions inspector shall perform an inspection of the emissions control systems. The inspection shall include the following:

1. An examination of the emissions control information decal (sticker) under the hood, reference manual, and applications guide to determine if the vehicle, as manufactured or certified for sale or use within the United States, should be equipped with a catalytic converter system, air injection system, fuel evaporative emissions control system, positive crankcase ventilation system, exhaust gas recirculation valve, on-board diagnostic system, or thermostatic air cleaner system, as appropriate.

2. Based on the determinations made in subdivision 1 of this subsection, a visual inspection for the presence and operability of the catalytic converter system and, for vehicles subject to exhaust emissions testing, the air injection system, fuel evaporative emissions control system, positive crankcase ventilation system, exhaust gas recirculation system and thermostatic air cleaner system. If any of these parts or systems are inoperable, or have been removed or damaged, or rendered inoperable, the vehicle will not qualify for an emissions inspection approval or waiver. If systems are missing which the reference manual or applications guide indicates should be present, the motor vehicle manufacturer's emissions control information provided for that vehicle shall apply. The inspector shall enter the result of the visual inspection, "pass," "fail," or "not applicable" as appropriate into the certified analyzer system. The department may issue a temporary waiver because of the unavailability of component parts listed in subdivision 2 of this subsection if it is determined that the subject components or parts are not available provided the following conditions have been met:

a. The owner of the vehicle obtains a signed statement from the manufacturer's dealer or automotive parts source that supplies parts for the vehicle model indicating the nonavailability of such parts.

b. The statement submitted must be on letterhead or other official form or document and signed by an officer, owner or other responsible official of the automotive parts source.

c. The statement must identify the parts by description and part number and must indicate whether the parts are not currently stocked, have been superseded by other parts, or are out of production.

d. The department may conduct an independent investigation to locate any such parts or to verify the information on the statement prior to the issuance of any vehicle inspection report. The vehicle shall be held to all applicable inspection parameters, test type and standards or other conditions with the exception of the emissions control components and parts that have been verified as unavailable.

e. Any additional requirements to repair the vehicle to meet the applicable emissions standards or to qualify for an emissions inspection waiver under subsection M of this section shall apply.

f. If the department is able to determine that (i) the unavailable part, or parts, is the only method of controlling the emissions for which the vehicle has failed an emissions inspection or (ii) no other repairs will be effective in reducing such emissions, the department may issue a temporary waiver notwithstanding the provisions of subsection M of this section.

3. For OBD vehicles, an electronic inspection of the applicable on-board diagnostic (OBD) system according to manufacturer specifications and procedures approved by the EPA. The exhaust emissions test may also be performed on a limited basis as specified by the department for quality control or program evaluation purposes.

a. Emissions-related failure codes that cause the malfunction indicator lamp to be commanded "on" provided by OBD systems of OBD vehicles shall cause the vehicle to fail the emissions inspection. If testing equipment or visual inspection indicates that the malfunction indicator lamp is inoperable, the vehicle shall fail the emissions inspection. If the testing equipment indicates that the OBD system is in a "not ready" status, the vehicle shall be rejected from testing according to subdivision C 8 of this section.

b. Emissions-related failure codes that cause the malfunction indicator lamp to be commanded "on" as provided by OBD systems of light duty diesel powered vehicles of model years 1997 and newer shall cause the vehicle to fail the inspection. In addition, if the testing equipment or visual examination indicates that the malfunction indicator lamp is inoperable, the vehicle shall fail the emissions inspection. If the testing equipment indicates that the OBD system is in a "not ready" status, the vehicle shall be rejected from testing according to subdivision C 8 of this section. The director may increase or decrease the number of "not ready" monitors allowed based on an analysis of the program data, data from other state's programs and the EPA.

c. The department may exempt vehicle models or some classes of vehicles from OBD testing due to known OBD system problems or anomalies associated with such vehicles. If exempted from OBD testing, such vehicles shall receive the ASM or TSI test as applicable.

H. For vehicles otherwise subject to ASM testing based on model year and weight classification, the department may determine, due to complications identified in this or other state programs, or consultation with vehicle manufacturers, that certain vehicle makes or models shall be tested using the two-speed idle test in lieu of the ASM test or using a mixture of test modes such as an ASM 2525 coupled with an idle test.

I. For 1981 model year and newer vehicles with a GVWR up to and including 8,500 pounds, the exhaust emissions inspection procedure, if applicable, shall be an ASM, two-mode (ASM 5015 plus ASM 2525), loaded test, performed while the vehicle is operating on a dynamometer. The test shall be preceded by a 30-90 second preconditioning period, as determined by the department, using the ASM 2525 load simulation.

J. The exhaust emissions inspection procedure, if applicable, shall be a two-speed idle test as specified in section (II) of Appendix B of 40 CFR Part 51, Subpart S, and 9VAC5-91-440 for the following affected motor vehicles:

1. Vehicles with a GVWR greater than 8,500 pounds and up to and including 10,000 pounds;

2. Vehicles of model years 1980 and older;

3. Vehicles which employ full-time four wheel drive systems;

4. Vehicles which have traction control or anti-lock brake systems which have been determined by the manufacturer or the department to interfere with proper ASM testing; or

5. Vehicles which have some other configuration which has been determined by the department to interfere with proper ASM testing.

K. In order to obtain a vehicle registration from the Department of Motor Vehicles, a certificate of emissions inspection shall be issued by an emissions inspector or the department indicating that the vehicle has either passed the emissions inspection or has received a waiver as specified in subsections L and M of this section. A motor vehicle shall pass the emissions inspection and a certificate of vehicle emissions inspection and a motor vehicle inspection report indicating the vehicle has passed shall be issued if the following conditions are met:

1. The motor vehicle meets the applicable emissions control systems inspection requirements.

2. For vehicles subject to exhaust emissions testing, the vehicle emissions levels are the same as or less than the applicable exhaust emission standards in Part III (9VAC5-91-160 et seq.) and Part XIV (9VAC5-91-790 et seq.), as applicable; or for vehicles subject to OBD, the vehicle passes the OBD test and exhaust emissions test, if applicable.

3. There are no visible smoke emissions from the vehicle engine crankcase or tail pipe, or both.

L. If the vehicle fails the initial emissions inspection, a certificate of emissions inspection and a motor vehicle inspection report shall be issued indicating a failure, and the owner shall have 14 days in which to have repairs or adjustments made and return the vehicle to the emissions inspection station which performed the initial inspection for one free reinspection.

M. A certificate of vehicle emissions inspection waiver may be issued if all of the following conditions are met:

1. The vehicle passes the emissions control systems inspection described by subsection G of this section if applicable.

2. There are no visible smoke emissions from the vehicle engine crankcase or exhaust system, or both.

3. The vehicle continues to exceed applicable emissions standards after emissions related repairs required by 9VAC5-91-480 have been performed.

4. An amount equal to or greater than the adjusted waiver cost for enhanced emissions inspection programs specified in subsection N of this section has been spent on emissions related repairs as specified in 9VAC5-91-480 provided that:

a. Proof that emissions related repairs have been accomplished and costs for that specific vehicle have been provided to the emissions inspection station in the form of an itemized bill, invoice, paid work order, or statement in which emissions related parts or repairs, or both, are specifically identified, and to the extent practical, the inspector can confirm the repairs by visual examination;

b. The emissions inspector has been provided with a properly completed emissions repair data form indicating that the repair work was performed at a certified emissions repair facility and that the repairs were performed by or under the supervision or approval of a certified emissions repair technician at a certified emissions repair facility; and

c. The repair work was performed no earlier than 60 days prior to the initial inspection.

N. The repair cost requirements for waiver eligibility for the enhanced emissions inspection program shall be $450 adjusted to reflect the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and adjusted annually thereafter, as described at 40 CFR 51.360(a)(7) and § 46.2-1181 C of the Code of Virginia.

O. A waiver shall not be issued for a vehicle which is eligible for the emissions control systems performance warranty, under the provisions of § 207(b) of the federal Clean Air Act. In accordance with the provisions of § 207(b) of the federal Clean Air Act, the repair costs necessary for compliance with emissions standards specified in Part III (9VAC5-91-160 et seq.) and Part XIV (9VAC5-91-790 et seq.) will be borne by the vehicle manufacturer or authorized dealer representative.

P. The analyzer system shall generate an electronic record of the certificate of emissions inspection and transmit the appropriate data to the department and the emissions inspector shall make distribution of the vehicle inspection report to the customer.

Q. The customer shall be advised as specified below upon completion or termination of the inspection procedure.

1. If the test is terminated prior to completion, explain the problem with the vehicle or equipment and, if applicable, advise of free retest and time limit.

2. If the vehicle passes or receives a waiver, provide a motor vehicle inspection report and advise motorist of registration requirement and process, including the process to be used in case of interruption of the electronic data transfer system.

3. If the vehicle fails:

a. Give vehicle inspection report of failure to customer;

b. Advise of type of failure;

c. Advise of free retest and time limit;

d. Advise of repair facility information as provided by the department; and

e. Advise of waiver requirements, if applicable.

R. In cases of complaints or disputes between the emissions inspector or emissions inspection station and the customer, the customer shall be advised of the location and phone number of a department representative to be contacted to obtain assistance in resolving disputes.

Statutory Authority

§ 46.2-1180 of the Code of Virginia; § 182 of the Clean Air Act; 40 CFR Part 51, Subpart S.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 13, Issue 05, eff. January 24, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 20, eff. October 1, 2002; Volume 29, Issue 24, eff. August 28, 2013; Volume 35, Issue 05, eff. November 28, 2018.

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