How to Become a Certified Mobile Vehicle Inspector (State Car Inspector Certified) in Massachusetts

In most states, vehicle owners must have their automobile inspected before they can legally register a vehicle. Inspection certifications are awarded by the state, and can offer those seeking an automotive technician job an excellent way to build their resume.

The state of Massachusetts requires that all vehicles be inspected for safety annually. In addition to a standard vehicle inspection, the state also requires two types of emissions tests for specific vehicles:

  • An On-Board Diagnostic, or OBD, Emissions Test. This test is required for all vehicles that are newer than the year 2002. For diesel vehicles that have a GVWR of over 8,500 pounds, the emissions test will be performed on any vehicle over the year 2007. For non-diesel vehicles that have a GVWR over 8,500, the emissions test will be performed on models newer than the year 2008.

  • An opacity emissions test, performed on diesel vehicles that do not have OBD systems.

Massachusetts mobile vehicle inspector qualifications

In order to inspect commercial vehicles in the state of Massachusetts, an automotive service technician needs to have these two qualifications:

  • The technician must have completed specific training provided by the state.

  • The technician must have an inspection license issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

With these two qualifications, a Massachusetts vehicle inspector is licensed to inspect any non-commercial vehicles, commercial vehicles, or motorcycles. These qualifications license a mechanic to perform both the safety inspections and the various emissions tests required by the state. Commercial inspections also include regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the training provided by the state of Massachusetts addresses this information.

Inspector licenses are valid for one year in Massachusetts.

Certified vehicle inspector initial training

The initial inspector training that is provided by the state is available in these locations:

  • Medford
  • Pocasset (Bourne)
  • Braintree
  • Shrewsbury
  • West Springfield

All training programs require classroom training, a written examination, and a hands-on workstation element for practical demonstrations of inspection procedures. In order to pass the training and receive the inspector’s license, a student must score at least an 80% on the written examination, and also receive a “Pass” evaluation from the instructor.

After finishing the inspector training, and paying the required fees, the RMV will issue the inspector’s license via the mail.

Massachusetts mobile vehicle inspector re-certification

While the inspector’s license is valid for a single year, the training certification is valid for two years. However, if a mechanic allows their license to become expired for more than two years from their graduation date from their initial training, they will have to participate in the periodic re-certification training. This program allows mechanics to regain their inspector’s license by taking the written exam again.

If a mechanic fails to pass the written exam before their recertification period expires, they may be locked out of performing inspections. In order to avoid this situation, it is best to renew an inspection license before the two-year expiration period.

Vehicle inspection requirement

The only vehicles that are exempt from the emissions tests are those that fall under the following categories:

  • Vehicles manufactured before the year 2002.

  • Diesel vehicles that were manufactured before the year 2007, or that are more than 15 years old.

  • Non-diesel vehicles that were manufactured before the year 2008, or that are more than 15 years old.

  • Motorcycles and mopeds.

  • Tactical military vehicles.

  • Vehicles that run exclusively on electricity.

  • ATVs, tractors, construction equipment, and similar mobile vehicles that are designed to be operated off roads.

If you’re already a certified mechanic and you’re interested in working with YourMechanic, submit an online application for an opportunity to become a mobile mechanic.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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