New Mexico Smog Check / Emissions Test
The state of New Mexico requires vehicle emissions testing for many original and annual registration renewals for vehicles registered in Bernalillo County. The State of New Mexico sends out testing notices by mail stating when they must complete their emissions testing by. The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department runs New Mexico’s vehicle inspection program.
Requirements to Pass the New Mexico Smog Check
All motor vehicles in New Mexico that are more than four years old, and driven into, operated, or are otherwise present in Bernalillo county for 60 or more days per year must pass a smog check if they fall into one of the following categories:
- Vehicles manufactured in the 1984 model year or newer, weighing less than 10,000 lbs must pass an emission test every two years and during any change in ownership
- Gas-electric hybrid vehicles must pass a smog check every two years
Vehicle owners can check to see if they live in a zip code where the New Mexico MVD requires a vehicle to pass a vehicle emissions test.
Smog Check Exemptions for New Mexico Drivers
The New Mexico MVD exempts vehicles falling under the following categories from passing a smog check:
- Vehicles not owned by residents living in, or commuting into Bernalillo County
- Electric vehicles owned by residents living in or commuting into Bernalillo county
- Diesel vehicles owned by residents living in or commuting into Bernalillo county
Smog Check Fees
There are a 130 smog check locations in and around Bernalillo County. Smog check locations must display a sign stating their testing fees. Fees are usually between $15 and $25 plus tax.
Performing Emissions Testing in New Mexico
New Mexico vehicle owners must drive their vehicle to a vehicle emissions testing facility to get a vehicle emissions test . The New Mexico MVD recommends that residents call ahead to confirm testing hours and fees.
If a vehicle passes its emissions test, the owner will receive a New Mexico Emissions Certificate of Inspection from test personnel. The New Mexico MVD requires vehicle owners to use this certificate when getting:
- An initial registration
- A registration renewal
- A vehicle ownership transfer
New Mexico vehicle owners who are out-of-state during the time they must get their vehicle tested have a couple options: They can:
- Take their vehicle to an out-of-state vehicle testing facility and submit the results to the New Mexico MVD
- Apply for an Out-of-State waiver
Vehicle owners can find out more about out-of-state vehicle inspections at the City of Albuquerque’s website. The New Mexico MVD validates emission test results for 90 days. There are usually five parts to an emissions test that an emissions testing technician will complete on a vehicle:
- Vehicles manufactured in the 1996 model year or later will complete an On Board Diagnostic (OBDII) Test
- For vehicles manufactured in the 1995 model year or earlier will complete a tailpipe exhaust analysis test
- All vehicles will get a pollution control equipment test inspection
- All vehicles will receive a visual inspection of the its emissions to check for visible smoke coming from the vehicle’s tailpipe
- All vehicles will receive a gas cap test to make sure the gas cap is in good working order
Failed Smog Inspections – Next Steps
Vehicle owners with vehicles that do not pass a New Mexico emissions test must get the vehicle repaired and then get the vehicle retested. Vehicle owners can repair the vehicle either at the automotive repair station they got the vehicle tested at, or they can take it to another location. The New Mexico MVD requires vehicles to get retested at the MVD’s vehicle pollution management headquarters. There is no cost for a retesting.
Bernalillo county will give certain allowances to eligible residents for the cost of repairs and refunding vehicle owners for improperly tested vehicles. Vehicle owners can learn more at the Bernalillo County’s vehicle reinspections website.
Moved to New Mexico – Smog Check Requirements
Once a new resident has established residency in New Mexico, they must get their vehicle to pass a smog check and get the vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspected before they can get it registered. Some New Mexico testing locations do not do VIN inspections. The New Mexico MVD suggests calling ahead to make sure they do.
Transferring a Vehicle Title in New Mexico – Smog Check Needed?
New Mexico requires a smog check whenever a vehicle has its title transferred between owners.
Do Sellers Give Buyers a Valid Smog Certificate?
Used car dealers must provide buyers with a New Mexico emissions test certificate, but buyers purchasing a vehicle from a private seller must get the vehicle to pass a smog check before registering the vehicle in their name.
Special Tips to Pass the New Mexico Emissions Test
New Mexico vehicle owners may want to get their vehicles tested as soon as they receive their first testing notice. Allow extra time to get any needed repairs done before the vehicle’s registration expires. Also, if a vehicle owner plans to be out of town during the date when their registration expires, planning early will give owners time to meet their testing deadline. Here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure passing a New Mexico 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 sure the gas cap is on tight and is not broken. Keep the sealing surfaces in the cap clean so it can make a good seal. 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 it has one, and is not malfunctioning; If it does not have one or it is not working, the vehicle 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 the 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 getting an emissions test
- 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 addressed and fixed. Transmission problems can affect your vehicle’s emissions and cause your vehicle to fail an emissions 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 the 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 New Mexico’s smog check requirements, New Mexico-registered drivers must get their vehicles to pass a vehicle emissions test. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing Locations in New Mexico pages below to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.
Smog Check Stations in Albuquerque, New Mexico
The City of Albuquerque, in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, has a population of 559,000 and is New Mexico’s largest city. New Mexico-registered drivers with vehicles that require testing and living in Albuquerque must get their vehicles to pass a smog check. Check out our DMV & Emissions Testing locations in Albuquerque, New Mexico page to find a DMV office or testing location in your area.