What is the New
Hampshire OBDII and Safety Testing (NHOST) Program?
NHOST is a statewide testing program that is
an addition to the Safety Inspection program already in place. It
tests the emission control systems of vehicles to ensure they are
performing correctly. This helps New Hampshire comply with the Federal
Clean Air Act, decreases the emissions from motor vehicles, and
reduces air pollution.
The NHOST Program tests emissions
by checking the operation of a vehicle's on-board diagnostic system
(OBD) using authorized testing equipment at DMV-licensed inspection
stations. The equipment includes a new computerized system which
steps the mechanics through the testing procedure and transmits
the result to a centralized database. Safety inspection information
is also collected at the same time. This automation makes the process
of gathering and monitoring inspection information quicker, easier
and more efficient for the state.
When did the NHOST Program Begin?
The NHOST program went into effect in May 2005.
In the beginning, it was in Advisory mode which meant that OBD testing
was required and motorists were advised to correct any problems
found but OBD rejection would not result in the denial of an inspection
sticker. On December 1, 2006, the program went Pass/Fail for vehicles
2002 and newer. Vehicles model year 1996 through 2001 remain in
advisory for the time but are slated to become Pass/Fail on July
1, 2007. Vehicles that are Pass/Fail for OBD are required to be
repaired before a full windshield sticker will be issued. The Safety
Inspection remains the same for all vehicles: a vehicle must be
safe to drive before a sticker can be issued.
What is "OBD"?
"OBD" is the acronym that indicates "on-board
diagnostics". The OBD is a computer system in a vehicle that
monitors the engine and the other systems of the vehicle. All light-duty
vehicles that were manufactured since 1996 have included the OBD
system. The OBD system diagnoses the vehicle and then warns the
driver or the automotive technician about a possible problem by
illuminating the MIL (malfunction indicator light) or "Check Engine"
light. Some of the problems the OBD system detects can increase
the exhaust emissions to levels that are higher than the levels
allowed by Federal standards.
Which vehicles must get the new OBD test?
The new OBD test is required for any vehicle that:
- Has a model year of 1996 or newer, and
- Displays a weight that is less than 8,501 lbs. on the
The new inspection program using NHOST equipment does not affect
the emissions inspections for vehicles that have a model year
of 1995 or older
The new test does not affect the safety
inspection portion of the inspection for any vehicle.
Some vehicles that are older than the model
year of 1996 have OBDII. Is the new emissions inspection required
for these vehicles?
No. The emissions inspections for vehicles
that are model year 1995 and older will not change.
Can a station continue to conduct emissions
inspections if the station does not participate in the new NHOST
No. To remain or become a DMV-licensed inspection
station, a station must participate in the new program and sign
a station agreement which provides equipment and service.
What are the benefits that a station or a
certified mechanic will receive from the NHOST Program?
The benefits of the NHOST Program include:
- Your records will be more accurate and you will have
more control over who conducts the inspections at your station
- You can help reduce exhaust emissions and air pollution
- There will be a standard emissions inspection with standard
- OBD training will be done right on the NHOST unit, in
- The NHOST equipment will keep electronic records of
inspection activity for your station
- The station manager can print reports about inspection
activity at the station
- Your customers will receive inspection reports that
explain the reasons their vehicles was rejected
- You will be able to print detailed information about
why a vehicle was rejected
What does the NHOST equipment include?
The NHOST equipment that DMV-licensed inspections stations uses
to conduct the new OBDII test includes:
- A computer system that includes a modem, a barcode scanner,
and a printer
- An OBDII cable that connects the equipment to the OBDII
system on the vehicle.
Where do stations get the NHOST equipment
and what is the cost of the equipment?
Gordon-Darby NHOST Services will supply the
station equipment needed to complete the OBD test and record the
results and there is no capital investment needed by the station.
The station will pay $3.38 per inspection to cover the cost of the
equipment, service on the equipment and all other program services.
There is no charge for retests if the prior rejection was for OBD
only. There will be a minimum charge of $60 per unit per month.
New stations that would like a unit can request enrollment documents
by calling 1-800-383-4124.
The station must provide an available
telephone line (or access to high-speed internet) to transfer data
from the NHOST equipment to the central computers. "Available"
means just that - the line must be available for program use whenever
inspections are being performed and available at night for software
downloads. The phone line is not necessary if the station has high-speed
internet access that can be configured for use with the unit.
How do the stations pay the per-inspection
Gordon-Darby NHOST Services invoices each station
once per month. Invoices are sent electronically, either to
the station unit or to an email address designated by the station.
Payment is by direct debit from the station's checking account.
This is called an ACH transfer. It is simple, quick and efficient.
Gordon-Darby NHOST Services will notify the station prior to initiating
Are there other costs that a station must
pay to participate in the NHOST?
A station must purchase the printer cartridges,
the paper, wear items such as cables and other supplies for the
NHOST equipment. The inspection station must pay for any repairs
to the NHOST equipment that are the result of vandalism, incorrect
use, or failure to maintain the equipment correctly.
How do mechanics conduct the emissions inspection?
To conduct the additional test of the OBDII, the mechanic uses
the OBDII cable to connect the NHOST equipment to the OBDII
diagnostic link connector (DLC) on the vehicle.
A vehicle will be rejected from the OBDII test if:
- The DLC on the vehicle is obstructed, missing or broken.
- The OBDII malfunction indicator light (MIL) on the vehicle
does not illuminate when the ignition is set to the ON position
and the engine is not in operation, (KOEO).
- The MIL remains illuminated when the engine is in operation,
- The OBDII readiness monitors on the vehicle report that
the OBDII system is "Not-Ready" for the test
- If the system reports "Non-Communication" when the DLC
is connected to the vehicle and the engine is running.
- The MIL is "Commanded ON" indicating an emission related
Will the vehicle pass the inspection if the
vehicle battery is disconnected to clear the OBDII malfunction codes?
No. If you disconnect the battery, the OBDII
readiness monitors on the vehicle will report that the OBDII system
is not ready for the test. This result causes the vehicle to fail
Will the vehicle pass the inspection if the
light bulb in the MIL is removed?
No, the vehicle will fail the inspection. Before
the mechanic conducts the OBDII test, the mechanic must make sure
that the MIL operates correctly.
How much time will the OBDII test require?
The OBDII test itself will require less than
five minutes. The mechanic will conduct the safety inspection, and
then the OBDII test to complete the inspection.
Can the station use the NHOST equipment to
diagnose a vehicle for other work at the station?
No. A station can use the NHOST equipment only
for performing OBD inspections, recording Safety inspection results
and communications related to inspections. A station cannot install
software on the NHOST computer and cannot use the equipment for
work that is not related to inspections.
My station has an OBDII scan tool. Can I
use the same scan tool to do the OBDII test?
No. You must conduct the OBDII test with the
equipment that is provided. You can use your current OBDII scan
tool for other diagnosis and repair work.
How will I use the printer, the barcode scanner,
and the modem?
Printer: The station will use the printer
to print Vehicle Inspection Reports (VIR), handouts for motorists,
and miscellaneous administrative documents.
The mechanic will use the barcode scanner to enter the information
from the vehicle into the system. The barcode scanner can enter
the information more accurately and faster than the mechanic can
enter the information manually.
Modem: The modem will
communicate the results of the inspection to the program central
computers. Gordon-Darby NHOST Services will also use the modem to
send important information about the NHOST to the inspection stations.
For example, if the inspection regulations change, the Department
of Safety - DMV can provide the information to Gordon-Darby NHOST
Services who can then send the text of the change to the NHOST computer
at each station.
Will the NHOST require a new type of inspection
No. The DMV does not plan to issue a new type
of sticker for the NHOST Program.
Will a certified mechanic need a new certification
card to conduct the NHOST inspections?
No. A mechanic must complete the OBDII training
and pass the NHOST certification test to perform the inspections
that include the OBDII test. If you pass the test, your certification
is valid to conduct all NHOST inspections. There will not be any
changes to Safety Inspection training.
How do I get training for the NHOST and the
The NHOST equipment includes onboard multimedia
training or computer based training (CBT). Mechanics can familiarize
themselves with the OBD information at their own pace.
A CD containing the same information will be sent with each unit.
Are any vehicles exempt from testing?
As mandated by the State of New Hampshire,
Department of Safety - Division of Motor Vehicles, most vehicles
and motorcycles registered in New Hampshire require safety inspections.
Those rules will not change. The NHOST program includes both automating
the collection of safety inspection data and implementing OBD testing.
All 1996 and newer cars, vans and light trucks (under 8500 GVWR)
will require an OBD test. During the process of an automated inspection,
certain vehicles may be exempt from the OBD portion of the inspection.
The NHOST unit software will make that determination.
How much will stations charge a motorist
for an inspection?
The fee charged the motorist will still be
decided by the station performing the inspection.
Does this equipment hook into the OBD connector
only, or is there a wand that goes into the tailpipe?
The only item connected to the vehicle is the
OBD data cable. Tailpipe testing is NOT being implemented in New
How long is the OBD data cable?
How long is the bar code reader cable?
Approximately 13ft when fully extended. It
is a coiled cord.
Are there wheels on the NHOST unit?
Yes, the unit may be relocated in the shop
as needed. Please keep the data and power line requirements in mind,
in order to operate the NHOST unit.
My shop is not always the cleanest place.
Can the NHOST unit be located in an office where it will not get
The NHOST unit must be accessible to the mechanic
performing both the safety & OBD inspections, and located in
the proximity of where the vehicle is being inspected. So, the shop
area is where the unit likely needs to be located.
I have a high speed network. Will the NHOST
unit work with my server?
Yes. The NHOST unit will work with a high-speed
network. The computer has an RJ45 Ethernet connector in the back
of the computer. The unit's IP address can be configured through
the NHOST software. Additional drivers can not be added to the NHOST
unit so your network will need to have a router, bridge, game adapter
or some other device that can be configured on another computer
and does not need to have software installed in order to opererate.
This device is what will interface with your cable or DSL modem
and then connect to the NHOST Unit. Many multi-computer shops already
have a router installed. Gordon-Darby NHOST Services is not responsible
for the set-up or support of your high-speed network. However, information
and guidelines for high-speed networks is available in the
I have a wireless high-speed network. Will
the NHOST unit work with my wireless high-speed network?
Yes, as long as the network looks like a wired
network to the NHOST unit and does not require driver installation.
This can be accomplished using a wireless Ethernet bridge or gaming
adapter. Usually, the bridge must be configured from another PC
while the bridge is connected to your wired network, then moved
to the NHOST unit. The NHOST unit works in our shop with a Linksys
WET54G wireless bridge. Gordon-Darby NHOST Services is not responsible
for the set-up or support of your wired or wireless high-speed networks.
However, information and guidelines for high-speed networks is available
It does not seem very feasible to keep my
NHOST unit "free from dust and debris." What should I do?
We have engineered the NHOST unit to withstand
the typical shop environment because that is where the unit needs
to be. We recommend keeping your NHOST unit in an area that is as
free from foreign debris as possible. We also have a cart cover
for sale that is designed specifically for the NHOST unit. You can
order the cover directly from the unit by going the Order Spares
section of the Administrative Menu