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.

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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.

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.
Typical 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 used only 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 that 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.
typical RAPIDPASS qualification notice

Please refer to the How It Works link on the navigation menu for more information.

  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 it's 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, bicycle 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.

There are two ways to provide your email address:

  1. On the home page, click on Email Sign Up and provide your customer contact and vehicle information, then select Submit.
  2. If you processed a previous clean screen payment online you were asked to provide your email address for program related correspondence. You are now enrolled to receive additional email reminders and clean screen notifications along with paper clean screen notification mailers.

  1. Any vehicle that failed an emissions test in the previous test cycle or has failed in the current test cycle is not eligible for a RAPIDPASS.
  2. Any vehicle that has been rejected from a traditional emissions test during the current test cycle because the OBD system was not ready for testing.
  3. Diesel vehicles are not eligible for RAPIDPASS.
  4. The Commonwealth of Virginia applies a Vehicle Emissions Index (VEI) to determine the cleanest overall group of vehicles and their eligibility for RAPIDPASS. The VEI is an automated calculation based on the emissions test history of a particular Year, Make, and Engine Size. The VEI is updated quarterly and can range from a VEI score of 1 to 100. A lower VEI represents a vehicle that is expected to run cleaner than a vehicle with a higher VEI. Vehicle groups identified with a VEI exceeding the limit are not eligible for a RAPIDPASS. On the home page, click on VEI Lookup to use the VEI Lookup tool.