Can I Drive With a Failed Inspection Sticker?

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Unless you drive a commercial vehicle, the only vehicle inspection required in Tennessee is an emissions inspection. In some cases, you don’t even need to have that done. This being said, J & R Automotive recommends you have your vehicle inspected regularly to ensure it is running safely and efficiently. Recommended inspections include brakes, electrical system, engine, steering, tires, and undercarriage. Tennessee doesn’t actually have failed inspection stickers.

Required Emissions Inspections in Tennessee

If you’re new to our fantastic state, you need to have your vehicle inspected prior to registering it. The DMV requires emissions certificates on all automobiles brought into the state. Residents of Davidson, Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties must have their vehicle’s smog tested regularly in order to maintain vehicle registration. All vehicle years 1975 and above, gas or diesel-powered, and weighing 10,500 pounds or less must be inspected.


If you drive an electric vehicle, or if you ride a motorcycle, you do not have to have an emissions inspection. Hybrid vehicles use gasoline alongside electricity, so they must be inspected per the above requirements. You may also apply for an exemption if you believe you are entitled to one. Tennessee allows exemptions for vehicles that are out of state or out of the area in which they are to be tested. Don’t assume you’re okay, however. Apply for the exemption.

Failed Inspection

If your vehicle fails its emissions inspection yes, you can drive it, but you won’t be able to register it. Once your registration expires, you cannot legally drive your vehicle. So, no, you cannot drive it with a failed inspection sticker, so to speak. We don’t recommend you drive your vehicle anyway, because a failed smog test indicates engine trouble, such as your catalytic converter or oxygen sensor. It’s best to isolate and repair the cause of the failure.

For example, if it is your catalytic converter, your engine could overheat and further damage other crucial parts. A faulty catalytic converter can also prematurely wear down your bearings, crankshaft, rings, and valves as well as cause engine misfires and stalls. Your emissions system is responsible for isolating dangerous gasses. Should something go wrong, those gasses could be released into the environment or your vehicle’s cabin.

Call J & R Automotive today if your vehicle failed its emissions test. We’re located in Crossville, TN, and you can reach us at 931-456-6569. We’d be happy to inspect your vehicle and recommend any necessary repairs.

Call J&R Automotive at 931-456-6569 for an appointment today!

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