Utah Vehicle Inspection Safety

Posted on December 20, 2022

Drivers in Utah have the responsibility to follow all road rules and state vehicle inspection laws. While Utah residents saw big changes in 2018 when the state dropped its mandatory annual vehicle safety inspection law for registering personal vehicles, the state’s laws still require inspections for specific types of vehicles as well as emissions inspections. 

The United States has no federal system regulating vehicle inspections but instead leaves these guidelines up to each individual state’s legislation. While some states have no inspection requirements at all, other states have stringent laws and multi-point inspection requirements. Some states require only emissions testing.

If you own a car and drive in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the State’s complex vehicle inspection laws.

What Vehicles Require Safety Inspections in Utah?

The 2018 legislative change to Utah’s safety inspection requirements means personal vehicles no longer require a safety inspection for annual registration; however, the state still requires inspections for certain types of vehicles including:

  • Commercial vehicles
  • School buses
  • Hiring vans for passenger transport
  • Airport shuttle vehicles
  • Taxi cabs
  • First-time street-legal ATVs
  • Street-legal ATVs with owner-transferred titles
  • Rebuilt salvage vehicles requiring a rebuilt title

Salvage vehicles are any motor vehicle rebuilt after being damaged to the extent that repairs cost more than the market value of the vehicle.

Commercial vehicles such as school buses and taxis require drivers to display their safety inspection certificate or sticker.

Understanding Emissions Inspections in Utah

According to safety standard laws in Utah, all motor vehicles less than 6 years old must undergo an emissions test every two years. Vehicles with model years that are even numbers require emissions tests on even years while those with odd model years must undergo testing on odd-numbered years. For example, a car made in 2020 requires testing in 2022 and 2024. A car with a 2021 model year requires emissions testing in 2023 and 2025.

Some vehicles are exempt from these testing requirements including:

  • Vehicles made before 1967
  • Brand new vehicles with a Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MSO)
  • Diesel vehicles under 14,000 pounds with 1997 model years and older
  • Implements of husbandry (agricultural operations)
  • Farm vehicles
  • Motorcycles and motorized bikes
  • Antique and custom vehicles
  • Construction or maintenance vehicles that aren’t licensed for highway use

Drivers with vehicles requiring an emissions inspection must complete the inspection no more than two months before the registration renewal is required.

Importance of Complying With Utah’s Vehicle Inspection Safety Laws

For those drivers whose vehicle requires a safety or emissions inspection, it’s important to meet the inspection requirements promptly. A Utah police officer may issue you a warning to comply with the standard as soon as possible or you could face penalties. Vehicles that don’t perform according to emissions standards pose a health risk to others and a risk to the environment. Further, because of Utah’s modified comparative negligence laws, having a car accident with an uninspected vehicle when an inspection was required under the law means you could compound your percentage of the fault in an accident which would negatively impact an accident claim.

All Utah drivers should familiarize themselves with the safety and emissions inspection requirements in their county. The legal requirements may vary slightly in different counties within the state.