Do Motorcycles Need Smog Check? Here’s what You Should Know!

Look, your motorcycle is a motor vehicle. It has laws you must follow, just like every other motor vehicle. If you think your first duty as a motorcyclist is to obtain a high-performance machine with no potential for auxiliary emissions*, then it’s time to re-think your approach. In this article, you will know if a motorcycle needs smog checks and everything about the safety emission standards you must know.

Usually, Motorcycles do not need to be inspected for Smog checks. However, you must have an inspection if you have a turbocharger or aftermarket exhaust system installed. Unlike cars, there are no state laws that require motorcycle smog tests. Every motorcycle on the market comes up with vehicle emissions standards.

But still, some states may require you to have a motorcycle smog certificate depending on your motorcycle type.

Motorcycle Emission standards

Motorcycle manufacturers and smog check locations must comply with the EPA and its regulations. Maintaining and following the manufacturer’s recommendations will ensure your vehicle meets all emission standards.

Motorcycle owners do not need to register their vehicles with the DMV or obtain an emissions certificate. However, many motorcycles are classified as “motorcycles” or “incomplete motorcycles,” which require smog certification. If your bike meets the requirements for registration with the DMV and complies with smog requirements, you do not need to comply with additional emission testing.

You can check the vehicle emissions inspection requirement for further details. Here are the states which usually require smog tests:

How to Check Motorcycles For Smog?

If the bike you’re considering has emissions requirements, the test will be performed at a certified testing station. Motorcycles without an emission requirement will not require a smog test. In contrast, vehicles that need a smog test may have additional features that increase their susceptibility to testing (e.g., aftermarket exhausts).

Smog test requirements vary widely depending on the vehicle. If you’re unsure of its needs, call the DMV’s automated telephone hotline to get more information. If your bike is a new model, check online for updated requirements.

Schedule a smog check before taking possession of your new motorcycle. This can help avoid unnecessary repairs and save time and money over time.

If you are purchasing a used motorcycle, be sure to inquire about the bike’s emissions history and current status. If it is not certified for sale in your state, verify that the seller will take care of registering and taking the motorcycle to a smog inspection station.

In addition to emissions testing, many states require riders to have a motorcycle license or endorsement. You can check this information with your state’s department of motor vehicles for more information on requirements.

Check: How Do Motorcycle Gears Work?

Motorcycles vs. Other Vehicles When It Comes to Emission Standards

Motorcycle Vs Car Emission

The EPA sets emission standards for the different types of vehicles. EPA emission standards help to establish new standards that are stricter than current laws. These emissions limits depend on the pollutants a car emits during regular operation. The essential pollutants to consider are NOx, CO, and particulate matter.

When buying a car, it comes with a class. Some cars are light trucks, some are sports utility vehicles (SUVs), and some are just cars. 

According to federal emissions regulations, your light truck must be less than 8,500 pounds overall weight and less than 4×4 when equipped with four-wheel drive. Your car can weigh more than that but still be in its class if it doesn’t have an auxiliary engine heater in its hood.

A motorcycle falls under the “incomplete” category and does not have to meet the same emission standards as other vehicles. However, many manufacturers recommend motorcyclists follow their recommendations to ensure compliance with all emission regulations.

The categories of Emission Standards

If you’re looking for a new vehicle, it’s essential to understand the difference between cars and light trucks. Cars are generally small and compact, with models typically weighing less than 4,500 pounds. 

There are two core definitions of gross vehicle weight ratings at the Federal level: light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles. Light-duty cars weigh less than 4,500 pounds, while heavy-duty vehicles weigh more than 6,000 pounds.

Motorcycles with no engine over 2.3 liters in displacement (120 cubic inches) are classified as incomplete vehicles and do not have to meet the same emission standards as other vehicles. 

Emission standards for motorcycles by EPA

Motorcycle Smog Test In The Us

However, The EPA currently has five emission standards for motorcycles. But fortunately, you don’t have to comply with the standards after purchase! The criteria are met while being manufactured. 

Let’s take a look at the five emission standards for motorcycles by EPA:

500 ccs or less – standard motorcycle emissions (SME) only apply to these bikes. No additional restrictions. But emission doesn’t depend on the ccs. It depends on the speed at which a motorcycle operates and engine handling capacity.

500ccs – 1000cc – all motorcycles must meet the Clean Air Act Emission Standards for New Motorcycles, as outlined in 49CFR Part 571 and appendix A of this part. These standards are also known as “ACM” regulations and were initially a crucial part of a new type of motorcycle that did not have an aftermarket exhaust system (later, a law was in effect covering retrofits ). The standards are also known as “Phase-in” regulations because they allow manufacturers more time to bring their bikes in line with the new requirements based on engine displacement. In 2013, all motorcycles over 2009cc (small engines) had to meet this standard.

1500cc and up – all motorcycles must meet EPA’s New Motorcycle Standards, which are more stringent than ACM and initially went into effect for newly manufactured machines only. These standards are called “PCN” or “Part 572” regulations. All existing motorcycles that do not have an electric start or an aftermarket exhaust system that does not meet the restrictions of 49CFR 571.20 are also subject to these standards, regardless of engine displacement.

2020cc and up – all motorcycles must meet EPA’s Ultra-Low Emission Standards (RULES), which are more stringent than PCN and initially went into effect for newly manufactured machines only. All existing motorcycles that do not have an electric start or an aftermarket exhaust system that does not meet the restrictions of 49CFR 571.22 are also subject to these standards, regardless of engine displacement. A converter will be required if the bike has an aftermarket exhaust system that meets the PCN restrictions.