Frequently Asked Questions

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Air Check Virginia is a vehicle emissions inspection program operating in the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park to improve air quality by reducing emissions from motor vehicles, the single greatest source of pollutants in the region.

Please refer to http://www.deq.virginia.gov/programs/aircheckvirginia.aspx for more information.

Please click on the About link on the navigation menu for more information.

In 2012, the Virginia legislature approved on-road emissions testing. In Virginia, the on-road emissions testing program is called RAPIDPASS. The RAPIDPASS program is part of Air Check Virginia and it is overseen by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

RAPIDPASS systems are exhaust emissions analyzers similar to those used in traditional emissions inspection stations, but adapted for drive-through testing. Two green boxes placed across a lane of traffic measure a vehicle's speed and acceleration and associated exhaust emissions in order to determine its compliance with emissions standards. A camera captures an image of the vehicle's license plate so owners can be notified their vehicle has qualified for the convenience and time savings of the RAPIDPASS program. Downstream electronic signs displaying test results in real-time will be deployed soon.

RAPIDPASS systems are deployed at highway on-ramps and other locations where vehicles are operating under driving conditions appropriate for on-road exhaust emissions testing. The RAPIDPASS system completes an on-road, drive-through exhaust emissions test in less than a second.
To ensure accurate, uncontaminated readings, RAPIDPASS systems do not operate during rain, snow, high winds, or other adverse weather conditions. The RAPIDPASS program also holds to more stringent emissions limits than applied in traditional station-based emissions inspection.

RAPIDPASS systems are set up along single-lane sections of traveled roadway where individual vehicle exhaust emissions can be tested and evaluated for RAPIDPASS program qualification. Typical RAPIDPASS locations include on-ramps to highways where individual vehicles can be tested in a suitable mode of operation. Visit our RAPIDPASS Locations page to see a current listing of our scheduled locations.
RAPIDPASS Site

RAPIDPASS systems test vehicle emissions on-road under suitable operating conditions. These RAPIDPASS emissions tests are used in lieu of emissions tests conducted at traditional inspection stations to conveniently complete your required Air Check Virginia emissions inspection. The RAPIDPASS system tests only emissions. If your vehicle has an engine check light illuminated or other faults are indicated on the dashboard, you should have the vehicle serviced promptly to prevent damage to components.

A complete qualifying test includes measurement of your vehicle's emissions, speed and acceleration at the time of emissions measurement, and a readable license plate image. Speed and acceleration are only used to establish that the vehicle is operating under suitable conditions for emissions evaluation.

  1. Vehicle must be subject to Air Check Virginia emissions testing.
  2. RAPIDPASS systems must consistently capture complete qualifying emissions tests.
  3. Emissions are among the lowest of vehicles subject to Air Check Virginia emissions testing.

A RAPIDPASS notice is a paper document mailed to owners of RAPIDPASS-qualified vehicles informing them their vehicle has qualified for the RAPIDPASS program and offering them the option of completing their required Air Check Virginia emissions inspection on-line and without visiting a traditional inspection station.
Clean Screen Notice Letter

Please refer to "How It Works".

  1. Keep your vehicle properly and regularly maintained to ensure low exhaust emissions. Proper vehicle maintenance is good for your vehicle, the environment, and your budget. Poorly maintained vehicles burn more gas, emit more pollution, and wear out faster.
  2. Be sure your vehicle is properly warmed to operating temperature before you're tested. "Cold" vehicles emit higher levels of pollution than those at operating temperature. In general, 5-10 minutes of drive time will ensure proper warm-up.
  3. Make sure your rear license plate is clean and readable. In order to recognize your vehicle, RAPIDPASS testing equipment must be able to read your license plate. Dirty or damaged plates, trailer hitches, bike racks, and other obstructions can make your plate unreadable, resulting in an incomplete test.
  4. Accelerate moderately as you drive through the RAPIDPASS system. Moderate acceleration helps to produce an adequate and representative sample of your vehicle's exhaust emissions. Deceleration or heavy acceleration may result in a test that cannot be used to qualify the vehicle for the RAPIDPASS program.

The RAPIDPASS Virginia program will begin by issuing hardcopy qualification notices only. These notices will be mailed to the address on your Virginia DMV vehicle registration. The option to have your qualification notice emailed is not yet available, but is under development and will be offered soon.