Emissions Test Arizona

Got my Honda’s emissions tested this weekend in Scottsdale.

I left the house just after 11 am on Saturday and headed over to the emissions testing location in Scottsdale (on Evans). I originally wondered if I’d encounter a long line, but then I remembered that Saturday afternoons, in the middle of the month, are the least busy.

This was the 13th, on a Saturday. I show up, and there’s about 3 cars ahead of me, so I waited patently for about 10 minutes before it was my turn.

Then it was my turn. I pulled into the drive-through garage, and turned off my engine, as instructed.

Next, I popped out of my car and they told me I could sit in the passenger seat, or sit in a little blue boxed-in waiting area (next to my car). I chose to wait in the blue box.

The entire emissions test only took about 10 minutes, and cost me $20 (I paid with VISA, but they also accept Master Card, American Express, Discover, and cash).

I will attempt to get some photos at some point of the process!

In case you are interested, here is what they give you as your receipt, and as verification that you have passed. I’ve blurred the parts that are relevant to me.

vehicle-inspection-report-az-emissions-testing

ADOT Emission Testing

Well, it’s that time again… two years have passed, and now I need to get my Honda tested for emissions testing. This time around, I’m planning to write a blog post about the experience, and share any information I learn about passing the emissions test in Arizona.

Here’s the scrubbed email I just received from ADOT:

Dear CHRISTOPHER,

The vehicle registration for your 2005 HOND 4DSD, Plate XXXXXX, will expire September 15, 2014. Please pay on or before this date to avoid penalty fees.

EMISSIONS TEST IS REQUIRED
For more information or exceptions click here.
You may renew online at WWW.SERVICEARIZONA.COM after complying with emissions requirements.

Fees for a 1 year renewal are:

Veh License Tax

$101.40

Registration

$8.25

Air Quality

$1.50

Total

$111.15

Fees for a 2 year renewal are:

Veh License Tax

$186.33

Registration

$8.25

Air Quality

$3.00

Total

$197.58

Record Number: ########
VIN: ################

TO RENEW ONLINE CLICK HERE

You may also renew by Phone at: (888) 713-3031 or print this e-mail and mail with payment to: Motor Vehicle Division, 4005 N. 51st Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85031-2688.

If you have any questions, please call one of these numbers:

Phoenix: 602-255-0072

TDD Hearing/Speech Impaired:

Tucson: 520-629-9808

Phoenix: 602-712-3222

Elsewhere: 800-251-5866

Elsewhere: 800-324-5425

Regards,

Motor Vehicle Division

You know you can renew your registration on ServiceArizona.com, but there are more than 20 other services that, just like registration renewal, are fast, secure and convenient. Many are free, and all of them are available when you are.

This is an automated message: Do not reply to this e-mail.
If you received this e-mail in error, click here to unsubscribe.

Confidentiality and Nondisclosure Notice: This email transmission and any attachments are intended for use by the person(s)/entity(ies) named above and may contain confidential/privileged information. Any unauthorized use, disclosure or distribution is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by email, and delete or destroy all copies plus attachments.

.

How Frequently Do I Need an Emissions Test?

The answer is that you will be required to have each of your vehicles inspected once every two years.

When you receive your DMV renewal from the state they will indicate whether you are required to have your car tested for emissions. If so, you normally have a month or two to get it done.

Renewal of DMV fees can be done in person or at the DMV.

For a list of DMV locations in Arizona, click here.

Which vehicles are exempt from the testing requirements?

  • Most model year 2007 or newer, except reconstructed, vehicles
  • Most model year 2009 or newer original equipment alternative fuel vehicles
  • Model year 1966 and older vehicles
  • Vehicles designated as “collectible” (requires collectible vehicle insurance, reported to Arizona Motor Vehicle Division by insurer)
  • Electric powered, golf carts or vehicles with engine displacement of less than 90cc
  • Motorcycles registered in the Tucson metropolitan area
  • Apportioned vehicles (licensed in more than one state)
  • Vehicles leased to a person residing outside the emission control areas
  • Vehicles transferred between dealers (wholesale)

Emissions Test Waiver Locations in Arizona

If you have had your emissions test fail at least two times, you may qualify for a waiver.

You’ll need to demonstrate that sufficient effort and costs were incurred in an effort to repair your vehicle. See the price table here. There is a $15 fee for the waiver. Save all of your repair receipts. Once a waiver has been granted that vehicle may never receive another. Therefore, you’ll probably need to eventually get it repaired.

Waiver facilities are open 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, except for all major state holidays. There are two locations in Arizona, and they are:

600 North 40th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85008

4040 East 29th Street
Tucson, Arizona 85711

Good luck on your vehicle inspection!

What should I do if my car fails the emissions test

If your vehicle has failed an emissions test at an Arizona facility, they’ll usually give you some indication about why it has failed. You can take that information and provide it to any mechanic and with any luck they will be able to make some repairs to your vehicle. You can take a free-retest after you complete your repairs.

Why do I need emissions test in Arizona? The reason is because Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the country and because of the mountains surrounding our cities (especially Phoenix) air pollution tends to settle in the valleys. This creates a smog build up that is visible in the air. What happened was that the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) partnered with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to administer a program they dubbed Car Care. The program is designed to control emissions and reduce pollution in the air. Arizona risks losing millions of dollars in federal highway funds if they don’t participate in the Clean Air Act, a federal program.

There are 31 states that require vehicle-emissions testing. Of those, 9 operate like Arizona with locations centralized. Other states allow independent auto-repair shops to check emissions. One reason Arizona doesn’t allow independent auto-shops to test is because we have more stringent standards. Arizona tests older vehicles (1967 to 1995 models) on the dynamometer rolling system. This system is too expensive for most auto shops to install.

Data from 2011 shows that only 6.3% of 2006 model vehicles failed the initial emissions test. Older cars made between 1967 and 1977 had higher failure rates usually between 32-43% (that’s high!). Here’s a great article from The Arizona Republic about the emissions testing program.

More than 90% of newer vehicles pass the test on the first run (about 1.3 million Arizonans a year).

First, the good news! You’re car re-inspection is free (as long as you return within 60 days) and you complete the repair information notes (reverse side of the original vehicle inspection report).

If your vehicle fails the emissions test two or more times and you have made reasonable attempts to repair it, then you may qualify for a waiver.

Some common reasons for a smog check failure include:

HC – Hydrocarbon faults:

  • Incorrect ignition timing
  • Faulty spark plugs and/or wires
  • Lean fuel mixtures
  • Vacuum leaks
  • Low cylinder compression

CO – Carbon Monoxide faults:

  • Faulty oxygen sensor(s)
  • Defective MAP sensor
  • Defective TPS sensor
  • Defective ECT sensor
  • Faulty fuel injection/carburetor

NOx – Nitrous Oxide faults:

  • Defective EGR system
  • Lean fuel mixtures
  • Overheating engine
  • High cylinder compression
  • Defective catalytic converter

Note: The possibilities listed above vary based on your vehicles make and model. Some times a vehicle can fail based on something entirely different. Always do a hands on diagnosis and speak with a qualified mechanic.

If the check-engine light is on, you’ll most likely want to check that out with your mechanic prior to getting your emissions test done. The folks at ADEQ actually recommend getting a check-engine light looked at prior to testing since it is likely to fail.

Here is a wonderful article that provides an overview of what you can do to pass an emissions test if your car had previously failed.

Do I need to have my car emissions tested in Arizona?

You’ll want to check with the state, but you typically do not need to have your emissions tested if you:

  • Arizona does exempt most vehicles of the newest five model years
  • Vehicle is registered outside of the test area – typically outside of Phoenix or Tucson – in this case, use the ADEQ address locator.
  • Have a vehicle that is located outside of the State of Arizona.
  • If you are active duty military and stationed outside of Arizona and nobody else is using your vehicle you may apply for an exemption.
  • Vehicles out of state at test time (sometimes you need to get it tested in another state, or they will give you a 1-year exemption).
  • Information from the state about exemptions.

Vehicle inspection for cars in Arizona

Unlike other states actual physical inspection of your vehicle is not required by the state of Arizona as long as the owner can provide proof of ownership in the form of a title and/or registration.

Emissions testing may still be required.

The make of the vehicle, and vehicle identification number (VIN), body style, and some other general vehicle information will need to be provided to the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).

It should be noted that if there are obvious mechanical or safety problems the registration may be denied until those items are fixed.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) provides a section on their web site about vehicle inspections.

Emissions Testing Locations in Phoenix – Frequently asked questions

So, you’re looking for the best place to get your vehicle inspected for emissions? This little FAQ has been produced by a Phoenix resident who has done it before.

Q: What happens if my car fails?
A: You simply need to take your car to a mechanic, or fix it yourself, and then return for a complimentary test. In most cases, you can ask the attendant to explain why your car failed and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction. If you have to take a third test, you will be required to pay again.

Q: How long does it take?
A: Getting your car emissions tested usually takes less than 10 minutes, not including wait times. You can check webcams of locations online to get a sense for how many cars are ahead of you.

Q: How can I get the best result?
A: While waiting in line, if you leave your vehicle running it can heat up and cause a failure. Less from the heat, and more from the emissions build up due to lack of motion. We recommend revving the engine To avoid over-heating while waiting. Keep the engine running and, while in neutral or park, rev the engine for 15 seconds at a time. Turn off your air conditioner. This is the recommended practice.

Q: Cold engine or hot engine?
A: I have personally experienced taking a car that I just started over to the emissions testing facility… and failed. So, take my advice and drive around for 15 minutes to warm up your vehicle. It will run better and be more likely to pass.

Q: Can I bring a trailer?
A: No, leave your trailer at home.

Q: Can I bring a passenger?
A: They say no, but you can… you are even able to bring your child. The driver will be required to step out of the vehicle for a few minutes, however.

Q: My check engine light is on, will my car still pass?
A: ADEQ recommends that you have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic to determine the reason. They state that “1996 and newer vehicles with on-board diagnostic (OBD) equipment will not pass emissions testing if the check engine light is on.”

Do you have a question? If so, get in touch!

AZ Emissions Testing Cost

Metro Phoenix:

  • 1981 and newer cars and most light trucks (under 8501 lbs.): $27.75
  • Most other vehicles (except heavy duty diesels): $19.00
  • Heavy-duty diesel vehicles (greater than 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight): $28.00

Metro Tucson:

  • All vehicles: $12.25

Payment Method:

  • Credit/Debit cards (Visa or MasterCard only) may now be used for vehicle emission inspection.
  • Cash and personal checks are accepted at inspection stations.

Checks must be:

  • Drawn on an Arizona bank or branch
  • Imprinted with customer’s name and physical Arizona address (no P.O. Boxes)
  • Payable to Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
  • No third party checks
  • Provide valid driver’s license, bank guarantee card or other photo ID when paying with check
  • No refunds

You should always ensure you actually need to get your vehicle tested before actually going. If your registration renewal notice included the words “Emissions Test Required”, then you are required to get your emissions tested.

Motorcycle Emissions Testing in Phoenix

Emissions testing of motorcycles is not required in Arizona. This is fantastic news for motorcycle riders! As of June 21, 2013 motorcycles are no longer required to receive emissions testing (in Metro Phoenix). Tucson residents haven’t needed to get emissions testing since 2007. That means motorcycles statewide are exempt from emissions tests. Hooray!

If you want to verify this yourself, or want further information you can contact the motor vehicle division at 602-255-0072 or ADEQ at 602-771-3954 or read it here yourself.

Motorcycle Exemption Law: Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 49-542(J)(2)(l) exempts motorcycles from the emissions test. The law became effective in Tucson in 2007 and in Phoenix on June 21, 2013.

Did you know that you can see any vehicles test history? To do so, you’ll need the VIN for any car that has previously been tested. Enter that code on this web page and you’ll be shown the test history. Did you know, the state also has a web site where you can enter a VIN to see if that car is reported stolen.

Find out wait times: Lastly, if you are still needing to get a vehicle emissions tested. You can find the wait times at emissions testing locations online. You can even see webcams from each location to get an idea of the number of cars ahead of you.