Is The Air Quality in Arizona Bad & Is It a Health Concern?

Is The Air Quality in Arizona Bad & Is It a Health Concern?

Arizona has received a good score in the Air Quality Check. The problem is that highly populated cities like Phoenix and Tucson continue to fail the air quality test.

The reasoning behind this isn’t all just because of vehicle emissions. Sure vehicles are part of the problem and that is why we test for vehicle emissions but any type of smoke from factories or even natural fires can hurt our air quality.

Sunshine and a high heat index mixed with some pollutants cause a chemical reaction which is how Smog is created. We already deal with some pretty high temperatures which are said to increase the speed at which these chemical reactions occur in the air. Once the pollutants begin to change they cause damage to the Ozone which is why it seems to get hotter each year.

Rain is said to push down and wash away air pollutants but it doesn’t rain very often in Arizona with it being a desert and all when it does come we can enjoy knowing that it is washing away the pollutants in our air and we can breathe a little easier.

So, What Does It Have To Do With Health?

When the Air Quality is bad it’s a good idea to stay home and maybe change out your air filters. This is more important for people who deal with Asthma, Lung Disease, or any other breathing condition that people may have. Breathing heavily polluted air is bad for everyone but for people with lung issues, it could be even worse. You can check the local weather to see what level the air quality is at each day if you are concerned but the best thing to do is to work to reduce pollutants so that we can all enjoy good quality air to breathe.

Beyond Emissions, Here Are Some Things You Can Do To Help.

There are many things we can do to help reduce air pollution. provided these helpful tips that every Arizona citizen can follow to help reduce the air pollution levels in your city.

  • Eliminate tobacco smoke
  • Reduce your use of wood stoves and fireplaces
  • Don’t burn candles, leaves, garbage, plastic, or rubber
  • Use HEPA air filters and air cleaners designed to reduce particles
  • Drive less: carpool, use public transportation, bike, or walk
  • Keep the car, boat, and other engines tuned
  • Inflate tires to the recommended pressure
  • When refueling: stop when the pump shuts off, avoid spilling fuel, and tighten your gas cap
  • Use low-VOC paint and cleaning products, and seal and store them so they can’t evaporate
  • Choose energy-saving appliances
  • Set thermostats higher in summer and lower in winter
  • Turn off lights you are not using

Emissions Testing & The Air Quality Check

The reason that Emissions Testing & The Air Quality Check is mandated by the state is for the health and safety of all Arizona residents and because in 1987 the federal government earmarked federal funds to states that work to reduce emissions. 

As these two areas continue to grow in population there is an increase in traffic which means higher emissions from additional vehicles.

Older vehicles need more maintenance to stay in good working condition and if they are not they often produce more emissions which lowers the air quality and can be unhealthy for those with respiratory problems.

What To Do If You Fail Your Vehicle Emissions Test

As your vehicle gets older it is likely that at some point you may fail the emissions test. Even if your vehicle is in great working order and you maintain it regularly things can still begin to deteriorate and you won’t always see a check engine light if there is a problem with your vehicle emissions. Sometimes you may have to get repairs made to your vehicle before you can retest and in some cases, these repairs can be expensive.

Voluntary Vehicle Repair Program

If you need assistance getting the repairs completed for your vehicle after you have failed the emissions test you can request help through the Voluntary Vehicle Repair Program. This program provides financial assistance for people that need help covering the cost of repairs but only after they have failed the Arizona Emissions Test.

You can receive up to $550 for a standard gasoline vehicle and up to $1000 for heavy-duty diesel vehicles that may need repairs to pass the retest. In most cases, the repairs do not tend to be very expensive but they must be completed at an ADEQ-approved facility. Now not just anyone can be approved for this program so be sure to check to see if you qualify. Here are a few reasons why you would qualify for the program.

  • Your vehicle has been registered in Maricopa or Pima County for at least the last 12 months and the registration has not lapsed by more than 60 days.
  • Your automobile is at least 12 years of age or older.
  • Your vehicle has failed the emissions test within 60 days before your registration expires.
  • It is not a motorhome, motorcycle, salvage vehicle, or a type of fleet vehicle.
  • The emission control system has not been tampered with, removed, or disabled in any way.
  • The owner has not participated in the program within the last 12 months.

What To Expect When You Come To Test Your Vehicle Emissions

  • Pull your car into the station, put it in the park, and apply your emergency brake. If your vehicle is a manual transmission, ensure you put it in neutral
  • Choose where you are most comfortable waiting for the test to be completed: the waiting booth, waiting area, or outside
  • While you are waiting the inspector performs the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) test — without getting into your vehicle — the inspector reaches in to connect the OBD cord to the data link connector (DLC)
  • Once that is complete, you will be asked to return to your vehicle to turn the ignition key to the accessory position, so the inspector can verify the check engine light is functioning
  • You will then starts your vehicle, allowing the inspector to observe that the check engine light turns off from a safe distance
  • After the OBD test is complete, you will turn off the vehicle and exit to the waiting area of your choice (waiting booth, waiting area, or outside)
  • When payment is due, simply insert your credit card and remove it when processing is complete
  • You then return to your vehicle, and the inspector finishes the test process and delivers your vehicle information report, all while maintaining social distancing


This website is not affiliated with either ADEQ or It is simply an additional Emissions Testing & The Air Quality Check resource for people who are trying to find the station closest to them. Please use the site to double-check that your chosen location is still open before driving there.