The state of North Carolina requires that most vehicles be inspected for emissions or have a smog check before registration. This means that any time a vehicle must be registered, the owner must take the vehicle to any of the 7,500 licensed inspection stations, and pay the fees associated with a smog check. Upon receiving a passing inspection sticker, the vehicle can be registered and legally operated on North Carolina roadways. Mechanics seeking an automotive technician job may consider seeking an inspector’s license as an excellent way to build a resume of valuable skills.
North Carolina smog technician qualifications
However, there is no specific certification necessary in the state to be a smog repair technician. In order to perform smog checks, or emissions inspections, in the state of North Carolina, an automotive service technician needs to have the following qualifications:
Must have already earned their safety inspection license, by completing a state-sponsored eight-hour course offered in a North Carolina community college, and passing the written exam for safety inspection.
Must have completed an eight-hour state-sponsored Emissions Inspection Course in a North Carolina community college.
Must have passed the inspector’s written examination with a score of at least 80%.
Smog check training in North Carolina
North Carolina sponsors training through many community colleges around the state. For example, Central Piedmont Community College offers an eight-hour course that requires no prerequisites, and that culminates in the smog inspection examination.
These community college courses must cover the following objectives:
- Identification of all components that must be inspected
- Calibration and use of special tools, such as a window tint meter
- Successfully following all safety and emissions inspection procedures
- Passing the inspection license exam with at least an 80%
Smog check licenses are valid for two years. In order to renew an expired license, mechanics must take a shortened version of the initial inspection courses, offered at various North Carolina community colleges.
Required smog checks and exemptions
These are the types of vehicles that are exempt from smog checks in North Carolina:
- Vehicles manufactured before 1995
- Diesel-operated vehicles
- Vehicles licensed as farm vehicles
- Vehicles with fewer than 70,000 miles that are less than three years old
If a vehicle does not fall into one of these categories, it is required to have a smog check during the registration and renewal process. North Carolina conducts smog checks using the on-board diagnostic (OBD) system.
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