Arizona Smog Check / Emissions Test
The state of Arizona requires a vehicle emissions test both for original registrations and annual registration renewals for drivers residing or commuting into Tucson and Phoenix. Vehicle owners receive notices each year to vehicle owners to inform the owner when to complete their test.
The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality run a mandatory Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program or VEIP for Arizona residents. This helps to regulate and reduce car emissions in the state.
Besides testing requirements, drivers should also check to see the insurance requirements for staying legal in the State of Arizona.
Requirements to Pass the Arizona Smog Check
All 1967 and newer model year vehicles must pass an emissions test if the owners are residents or commute to and from the Phoenix or Tucson metropolitan areas for work or school. The model year, weight, suspension, fuel type, and where a driver lives and works determines the frequency a car, truck, motor home, or RV must get a vehicle emissions test in. New Arizona residents must pass a vehicle emissions test when they register their vehicle. A vehicle emissions test is valid for only 90 days after the test is completed. If a vehicle falls into one of the following categories listed below, passing an emissions test is necessary.
Phoenix Vehicle Owners
If a vehicle owner lives, studies, or works in Phoenix, the state of Arizona requires they pass an emissions tests every 2 year for 1981 and newer model year gasoline vehicles weighing less than 8500 lbs.
And, if a vehicle owner lives, studies or works in Phoenix, the state of Arizona requires they pass a yearly emissions test for:
- All 1967-1980 model year vehicles
- All 1967 model year or newer diesel vehicles
- All vehicles weighing more than 8500 1bs
- 1981-1995 model year all-time 4×4 or traction control vehicles weighing less than 8500 lbs
Tucson Vehicle Owners
If a vehicle owner lives, studies, or works in Tucson, the state of Arizona requires they pass an emissions test every other year for 1996 and newer model year gasoline vehicles weighing less than 8500 lbs.
And, if a vehicle owner lives, studies or works in Tucson, the state of Arizona requires they pass a yearly emissions test for:
- 1967 – 1995 model year vehicles weighing less than 8,500 lbs
- 1967 and newer model year diesel
- Heavy duty vehicles weighing greater than 8,500 lbs
Smog Check Exemptions for Arizona Drivers
A vehicle may qualify for an Arizona Vehicle Emissions Testing exemption if:
- The model year is within the past 5 model years. This does not apply if a vehicle is rebuilt or specially built
- A vehicle is registered outside of an Arizona vehicle control area. The vehicle owner’s zip code determines if the vehicle qualifies
- Vehicles with model years older than 1966
- Electric Vehicles
- Golf carts and small electrically operated carts
- Registered outside of Arizona
Smog Check Fees
The State of Arizona determines smog check fees based off of where the owner’s residence is, vehicle model year, vehicle weight, and the fuel the vehicle uses.
Phoenix Smog Check Fees
Phoenix vehicle owners must get a test every two years if they drive a 1981 or newer model year gasoline vehicle weighing less than 8500 lbs. The smog check fee is $17.00. Phoenix vehicle owners who require a test every year:
- All 1967 model year or newer diesel vehicles $16.00
- All vehicles weighing more than 8500 1bs $16.00
- 1981-1995 model year all-time 4×4 or traction control vehicles weighing less than 8500 lbs $16.00
- All 1967-1980 model year vehicles $25.00
Tucson Smog Check Fees
Tucson vehicle owners must get a smog check every two years who own a gasoline vehicle made in the 1996 model year or newer model year weighing less than 8500 lbs. The smog check fee is $ 12.25. Tucson vehicle owners who require a test every year:
- 1967 – 1995 model year vehicles weighing less than 8,500 lbs $12.25
- 1967 and newer model year diesel $12.25
- Heavy duty vehicles weighing greater than 8,500 lbs $12.25
Smog Check Waivers for Arizona Drivers
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality provides a list of step to take to qualify your car for a waiver:
- If a vehicle does not pass an Arizona vehicle emissions test at least two times in a current test cycle
- The car’s mechanical issue must be diagnosed. A mechanic must perform a low emissions tune-up following the initial failure. The vehicle inspection report the owner receives after their test will define what a low emissions tune-up is for their car under “A” on the back of the test.
- A state waiver facility must be shown the vehicle, the vehicle’s last failing test report, detailed repair receipts and/or estimates
- The state waiver facility may issue a waiver if it determines more repairs to reduce the vehicle’s emissions are unable to be made within the maximum repair cost limits. Maximum repair requirements for failing an emission tests depend on the vehicle’s age and location. Because of the severity of the air pollution in the city of Phoenix, repair cost limits are higher than in Tucson.
- If a vehicle is emitting two times the applicable emission standard, or has a faulty catalytic converter, a waiver can not be issued
- If a vehicle’s emissions control equipment is removed, altered, or defeated a waiver can not be issued
- There is a $15 fee, if waiver a state waiver facility grants a waiver.
Performing Emissions Testing in Arizona
There are 4 types of vehicle emissions tests Arizona performs through their Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP). The Arizona emissions test personnel may conduct:
IM 147 Test in Arizona
During the IM 147 test vehicle test personnel drive the vehicle on a dynamometer. The dynamometer resembles a set of rollers which the test personnel drive the vehicle on at different speeds to simulate city driving conditions. A vehicle’s emissions are measured during the test and test results are expressed in grams per mile. Most gasoline vehicles made in 1981 – 1995 model years gasoline weighing less than 8500 lbs take the IM 147 in Phoenix.
Steady State Loaded /Idle Test in Arizona
Arizona requires the majority of 1967 – 1995 vehicles in Tucson and the majority of gasoline vehicles in Phoenix that are 1967 – 1980 model year and newer weighing more than than 8500 lbs to take the Steady State Idle/Loaded test. The test consists of running a vehicle at idle. Then, based on the vehicle’s class, it is then tested at a higher speed, a range between 25 to 30 miles per hour. The unit of measure for the test results is in percent or parts per million.
On Board Diagnostics (OBD II) Test in Arizona
Arizona administers the On Board Diagnostic (OBD) test on 1996 and newer model year vehicles weighing less than 8500 lbs. A diagnostic computer in the car reads the vehicle’s engine operating data and analyzes the performance of the vehicle’s emission control systems.
Testing of Diesel Vehicles in Arizona
For Diesel vehicles, Arizona test personnel use an opacity meter, to measure the level of opacity in the vehicle’s exhaust. Arizona requires all diesel vehicles weighing less than 8500 lbs and all diesel vehicles in the Tucson metro area get tested while running on a dynamometer under load. Arizona test personnel also administer a test procedure referred to as a snap acceleration test on Diesel vehicles over 8500 lbs in the Phoenix metro area. The snap acceleration test involves putting a vehicle in neutral or park and hitting the gas pedal to increase the rpms of the engine to its maximum allowed level. An opacity monitor is put on the tail pipe of the diesel vehicle and test personnel measure the exhaust opacity.
Visual Inspections for Tampering in Arizona
These 4 tests do not include the possibility of having a visual inspection done by test personnel on a vehicle. When Arizona emissions test personnel visually inspect a vehicle, they are typically looking to see if an owner tampered with one of the following components: the catalytic converter, the operational air pump, the positive crankcase ventilation system, or the evaporative control system. They may also administer an evaporative system integrity (pressure) test.
Failed Smog Inspections – Next Steps
If a vehicle’s Check Engine Light is on before taking an Arizona vehicle emissions test, the vehicle fails the test until the owner gets the car repaired and the Check Engine Light is no longer on. If your vehicle fails an emissions test, it must be repaired before the test is done again. The second emissions test is free as long as the owner completes the required repairs and the owner retakes the test within 60 days. If your vehicle fails the test, a waiver may be offered for certain vehicles. Check with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to see if your car qualifies.
Low Income? Try the Arizona Voluntary Vehicle Repair Program
The state of Arizona has a Voluntary Vehicle Repair Program to help serve low – income car owners with repairs to their vehicles in case it fails an emissions test. Gasoline – fueled vehicles may qualify for up to $550 of assistance while Heavy-Duty trucks may qualify for up to $1000 in assistance towards the repair of their vehicles. Vehicle owners must pay $150 toward the repair of the vehicle.
The state of Arizona also created the Recognized Repair Facility (RRF) Program to certify participating repair facilities to ensure that repairs are successful and vehicles pass emissions testing.
Moved to Arizona – Smog Check Requirements
If a vehicle owner has recently moved to Arizona, unless the vehicle is exempt, the state of Arizona requires a smog check before a vehicle can get a state registration.
Transferring a Vehicle Title in Arizona – Smog Check Needed?
Unless a vehicle falls under exempt status, a smog check will be required by one party when transferring vehicle ownership in the state of Arizona.
Do Sellers Give Buyers a Valid Smog Certificate?
That depends. All vehicles sold by dealerships must pass a smog check in the Arizona. Also, if a new vehicle owner bought their vehicle from a private seller who already had a vehicle emissions test done on the vehicle, then the new owner is not required to do so. However, if a private seller has not completed a smog check on a vehicle then the new owner must get a smog check done on the vehicle.
Special Tips to Pass the Arizona Emissions Test
Even though Arizona does not require an emissions test for drivers, here are some general rules of thumb to keep in mind before trying to pass a vehicle emissions test.
- Make sure the vehicle does not have a “check engine light” on. The vehicle will automatically fail the test until the owner resolves the mechanical issue causing the light to come on
- Make sure the vehicles runs for at least 10 minutes before a vehicle takes an emissions test to ensure accurate readings
- Make sure to resolve any codes a vehicle throws using a code reader before taking an emissions test. Do not just clear the codes. Test personnel will know and a vehicle may fail the test
Find Smog Check Stations Near Me
Phoenix and Tucson are the two metropolitan areas in the State of Arizona that require vehicle owners to get emissions testing on their vehicles. The Arizona Department of Air Quality administers the state’s testing program. Checkout our DMV and Emissions Testing Locations in Arizona pages to find a DMV or emissions testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Phoenix
The City of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona is now a major US city with 1.6 million residents and edging Philadelphia out of the fifth spot of the top 10 US metropolitan areas. It is also the largest city in Arizona. With that distinction and the hot desert weather comes the added feature of elevated air pollution. The city has 17 vehicle emissions testing locations. Visit our DMV and Emissions Testing Locations in Phoenix, Arizona page to find a vehicle emissions testing location in Phoenix.
Smog Check Stations in Tucson
The City of Tucson, in Pima County, Arizona, is the second largest city in the State of Arizona. The city population is over 500, 000 but the greater Tucson metro area is over 1 million. Tucson or the “Old Pueblo” Like Phoenix, the desert heat aggravates the effect vehicle emissions has on the cities air quality so the city of Tucson also has an active vehicle emissions testing program administered by the Arizona Department of Air Quality. There are currently 3 testing locations in Tucson to get your vehicle tested at. Visit our DMV and Emissions Testing Locations in Tuscon, Arizona page to find an Arizona DMV or vehicle emissions testing location in your area.