Buying a used car could save you money.  Many used cars for sale are an environmental and safety risk, many are perfectly just fine.  How do you know the difference?  Vehicles that are not properly inspected for safety could be at a higher risk for accidents due to slick tires, brake failure, weak steering column, etc.  Moreover, your new to me vehicle may be a polluter contributing to poor air quality.  You won’t know it until your check engine light comes on a few months after purchase, costing you expensive repairs.  Without the costly repairs, you can’t register your vehicle in Texas and you risk receiving a ticket.  On-road cars, trucks, and motorcycles are the largest contributing factor to high ozone levels in Central Texas. High ozone levels negatively affect public health. Based on 2007 population, over 10% of children in Travis County under the age of 13 and 5% of adults over 65 are potentially affected by high ozone levels.

Law enforcement officials in Travis County are working hard to improve air quality and meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's air quality standard, raise awareness and insure public safety. Travis County law enforcement officers are identifying vehicles in Travis County with expired, counterfeit state inspection and registration certificates and individuals illegally dealing fictitious and stolen certificates.

Texas Transportation Code §548.603(f) allows for a vehicle to be impounded if a fictitious or counterfeit motor vehicle inspection certificate is being displayed. At this time, law enforcement officers will only issue citations for failure to have a valid emissions certificate: vehicles will not be towed. However, it is a Class C misdemeanor for displaying an expired, fictitious, or counterfeit motor vehicle inspection certificate and the penalty is $169 per violation.

The goal of this program is to improve air quality and meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's air quality standard, raise awareness and insure public safety.

Texas Transportation Code §548.603(f) allows for a vehicle to be impounded if a fictitious or counterfeit motor vehicle inspection certificate is being displayed. At this time, law enforcement officers will only issue citations for failure to have a valid emissions certificate: vehicles will not be towed. However, it is a Class C misdemeanor for displaying an expired, fictitious, or counterfeit motor vehicle inspection certificate and the penalty is $169 per violation.

Buyer Beware

Travis County urges consumers to take a simple step to verify that your emissions certificate is valid or before you purchase a used a car. Visit the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Vehicle Emission Inspection History website to check the validity of a certificate, using either the Vehicle Identification Number or safety certificate. This service is free to individuals.

If your engine light does come on and repairs will cost more than $600, you may qualify for an exemption.  To learn more about the inspection process and how to get an exemption, go to the DPS Vehicle Inspection page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if it's real?

Travis County urges consumers to take a simple step to verify that your emissions certificate is valid or before you purchase a used a car. Visit the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Vehicle Emission Inspection History website to check the validity of a certificate, using either the Vehicle Identification Number or safety certificate. This service is free to individuals.

What if I can't afford to pay for repairs?

Information about financial assistance available for individuals who need assistance with emission related repairs is available on our AirCheck Texas webpage.

TXDPS Inspection and Maintenance Program

To learn more about the inspection process, go to the DPS Vehicle Inspection page

In the News

Statesman Article - 12/15/2009

Constables take to streets in Travis County to improve air quality

700 lavaca sm

Cynthia C. McDonald
County Executive

700 Lavaca Street, 5th Floor
PO Box 1748
Austin, Texas 78767 (Map)

Phone: (512) 854-9383
Fax: (512) 854-4697

Email TNR

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