Idaho Smog Check / Emissions Test
The state of Idaho requires vehicle emissions testing in the Treasure Valley Airshed which makes up the City of Kuna and, Ada and Canyon counties. The State of Idaho started the program in 1984 in Ada County and extended it to the City of Kuna and Canyon county in 2010.
Requirements to Pass the Idaho Smog Check
The State of Idaho put their vehicle emissions testing program in place in order to reduce the amount of vehicle ozone air pollution emitted into the atmosphere. The Federal government recognized The Treasure Valley Airshed as a non-compliant are not meeting the air quality guidelines set forth by the Clean Air Act.
Currently, there are twenty locations located throughout Caldwell and Nampa that offer inspections for owners of vehicles that are looking to past the emissions inspection. Many offer their services during the week from 8 to 5, but you will need to call them in order to be certain of their hours, testing procedures, and required documents.
Smog Check Exemptions for Idaho Drivers
The State of Idaho, requires motor vehicles to pass a smog check before the vehicle can become registered. There are a few exemptions to this rule, they are as follows:
- Vehicle’s made in the 1981 model year or earlier
- Vehicle’s not registered or used in Ada County, Idaho
- Motorhomes and motorcycles
- New vehicles less than a five years old
- Vehicle’s with weighing less than 1,500 pounds
- Vehicle’s registered as Idaho “Old Timer” or Classic vehicles
- Farm tractors and other eligible farm equipment
- Vehicles registered on a prorated basis
- Electric and hybrid vehicles
- Motor vehicles weighing more than 14,001
If your vehicle falls into one of these categories, it’s exempt from getting a smog check. Contact the Ada County Air Quality Board at 208-377-9191 for further information.
Smog Check Fees
The fee for an smog check in Idaho is $11 per vehicle test.
Performing Emissions Testing in Idaho
The Idaho DMV mails renewal reminders to vehicle owners in Ada and Canyon counties, and sends the first notice a month before the test’s due date. The notice provides the test due date and testing information for the specific vehicle requiring testing and will provide a list of available local test sites Vehicle owners usually have until the end of the specified month to complete the test.
The Idaho DMV sends the second notice at the end of the end of that month reminding the owner to get their vehicle tested in a timely fashion. The owner will then have the next 35 days to get their vehicle tested, or The Idaho Department of Transportation will revoke their vehicle registration.
On Board Diagnostic Tests – The Idaho DMV will administer an ODBII test on all motor vehicles made in the 1996 or newer model years in Ada and Canyon counties. The OBDII system installed in U.S. manufactured vehicles made in the 1996 and newer model years is a mechanical issue early-warning system. The system records the vehicle’s performance by administering a specific kind of test referred to as a “Monitor”. Monitors test a vehicle’s primary emissions components and subsystems. While the key is in the ignition and the engine is off, a test technician will make sure the vehicle’s DLC (Data Link Connector) works properly. Then, the test technician hooks an emissions diagnostic tool up to your vehicle’s DLC using a cable to allow the technician’s diagnostic tool to communicate with the vehicle’s OBD II system. The Idaho DMV test technician can check your vehicle’s engine and emissions systems, and see if any monitors state a “Not Ready” status. If there are too many monitors stating a “Not Ready” status, then the vehicle will not pass the test. The test personnel can complete the test in around 2 minutes.
Two-Speed Idle (TSI) Test – Idaho DMV personnel perform the TSI Test on vehicles made from 1991 through 1995. A Test technician measures to see how much hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and carbon dioxide (CO2) the vehicle emits from its tailpipe. Like the name implies, there are two speeds used in the TSI test. There’s Low RPM test (revolutions per minute) that measures a vehicle’s emissions at low RPM and the high RPM test measuring the vehicle’s emissions at a higher RPM.
Gas Cap Test – The Idaho DMV requires a Gas Cap Test. Vehicles older than 1995 will have their gas caps inspected visually to make sure they seal properly. Idaho registered vehicles made in the 1996 model year or later will have the ODBII system check their gas cap automatically.
When test personnel finish administering an inspection the vehicle owner will receive a computer-generated Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) containing the results of the emissions and fuel system tests.
Failed Smog Inspections – Next Steps
If a vehicle fails a smog check, they will receive a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) Diagnosing a vehicle to understand the reason it did not pass an emission inspection can be complicated. Vehicle owners are free to choose a technician or repair the vehicle themself. However, diagnosing and repairing an emissions-related mechanical issue can be complex. The Idaho DMV strongly advises vehicle owners select a state-qualified emissions repair technician who has experience with emissions systems and who is able to diagnose and repair the vehicle correctly.
If a vehicle fails its initial vehicle emissions test, vehicle owner has 30 days to get the vehicle retested for free after addressing the mechanical issues that caused the vehicle to fail its test. If your vehicle still does not pass the first retest, any additional retests will cost $11.00.
Low Income? Try Applying for an Idaho Hardship Waiver
If an Idaho vehicle owner is experiencing economic hardship, they may qualify for a Hardship waiver if their vehicle is unable to pass the test. The Idaho DMV reviews hardship waivers on a case-by-case basis. Hardship waivers are good for one year and vehicle owners can apply for two hardship waivers consecutively and must provide information about their current income and expenses. After that, if they are still experiencing difficult times financially, they may apply for a Repair waiver after they spend $200 to try to repair their vehicle after not passing an Idaho emissions test.
Moved to Idaho – Smog Check Requirements
Motor vehicle owners moving to Ada and Canyon counties, or the City of kuna with gasoline vehicles made after the 1981 model year and at least 5 years old must get a smog check. First, they must get their vehicle registered. Then, they will receive a vehicle testing notice from the Idaho Department of Motor Vehicles. The Idaho DMV suggests vehicle owners not get their vehicle tested until they receive their testing notice. The Idaho DMV mails notices to the address provided to them by the owner when they registered their vehicle.
Special Tips to Pass the Idaho Emissions Test
The State of Idaho suggests vehicle owners get their vehicle’s tested within 90 days after receiving their vehicle testing notice. Allow for extra time to get any needed repairs done before your registration expires. Also, if a vehicle owner plans to be out of town during the date when their registration expires, the extra 90 days will give them time to meet the deadline. Here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure passing a Idaho vehicle emissions test:
- Make sure the vehicle does not have its “Check Engine” light on; If it does, it will not pass the test. To fix, check to make the gas cap is on tight. If it is not, tighten it and drive around to see if the light goes off.
- Follow the vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule. Many of the mechanical issues that cause vehicles to fail their tests can be addressed during a routine check-up
- If your vehicle is a make and model year when catalytic converters came standard on the vehicle, make sure your vehicle has one and is not malfunctioning; If it does not have one or it is not working, it will not pass the test
- Allow your vehicle to run for at least 10 minutes before it takes a test to insure an accurate reading
- Research your vehicle manufacturer’s recalls, Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs), and warranties before getting any repairs done. The cost of their repair maybe covered by the manufacturer.
- If your vehicle’s On Board Diagnostic (OBDII) system is showing trouble codes, make sure to get them fixed by a certified emissions mechanic. Do not just try to clear the codes.Test personnel will know and the vehicle will not pass inspection.
- If your vehicle is misfiring when it is idling, make sure to get this addressed before taking the test
- Check your vehicle’s gas cap and make sure it’s not broken. Keep the sealing surfaces in the cap clean so it can make a good seal
- If a vehicle’s battery is brand new, drive the vehicle for a couple of days before taking it to get an On Board Diagnostics test so as to allow the OBD system to reset
- Make sure the vehicle’s oil is not dirty. Get the oil changed on a routine basis
- Maintain the recommended air pressure in your vehicle’s tires
- Inspect your vehicle’s hoses and belts for wear. Get them replaced if necessary
- Get any mechanical issues with your vehicle’s transmission address and fixed. Transmissions problems can affect your vehicle’s emissions and cause your vehicle to fail its test.
- If your motor vehicle’s emissions system has a mechanical issue, check your manufacturer’s warranty. Federal law states emissions systems on vehicles made in the 1995 and newer model years must have their emissions systems warrantied for two years or 24,000 miles.
- If the OBDII diagnostic system or catalytic converter on your vehicle made in the 1995 model year or newer has a mechanical issue, check your vehicle’s manufacturer’s warranty also. Federal regulation states these vehicles must have a warranty on their OBDII and catalytic converters for eight years or 80,000 miles.
Find Smog Check Stations Near Me
To stay in compliance of the State of Idaho’s vehicle emissions test requirements, Idaho-registered drivers required to get their vehicle’s to pass a vehicle emissions test can check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Idaho pages below to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Boise, Idaho
The capital city of Boise, in Ada county, Idaho, has a population of 380,000. Idaho-registered drivers required to get their vehicle’s tested, and living in Boise can check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Boise, Idaho page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Caldwell, Idaho
The city of Caldwell, in Canyon county, Idaho, has a population of 184,000. Idaho-registered drivers required to get their vehicle tested, and living in Caldwell can check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Caldwell, Idaho page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Kuna, Idaho
The City of Kuna, in Ada County, Idaho has a population of around 15,000, and is a suburb of Boise. Idaho-registered drivers required to get their vehicle tested, and living in the City of Kuna can check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in Kuna, Idaho page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.