Emissions tests are mandatory in some parts of Arizona and people often have questions about them. Here are a selection of the most frequently asked questions from the official mycaraz.com website. Read on to learn more.
Q: WHY IS THE EMISSIONS PROGRAM IMPORTANT?
A: The program is a key component of Arizona’s initiative to protect air quality while allowing for economic growth. With the pollution reductions achieved, there is more room for new businesses to bring jobs to the area and for existing businesses to expand. Without the emissions program, federal laws would seriously restrict economic growth.
Q: WHY DOES MY VEHICLE NEED TO BE TESTED?
A: Automobiles are a major contributor to ground level air pollution. In Phoenix, the program is an important component of reducing volatile organic compounds and maintaining air quality. High pollution levels affect the future health of our children and make it more difficult to draw new business and create jobs in our communities. In Tucson, the program is key to maintaining a healthy and attractive environment for Southern Arizona. The Emissions Program will help provide a healthy future and a strong economy for Arizona and for our families.
Q: WHO IS REQUIRED TO HAVE THEIR VEHICLE EMISSIONS TESTED?
A: All residents of the greater Phoenix and Tucson areas and those who regularly commute into the areas for work or school are required to have their 1967 or newer vehicles pass an emissions test. Most vehicles newer than 6 years old are exempt from testing, and certain other vehicle exemptions apply (see Exemptions). If you are not sure if you live in the emissions control area, CLICK HERE.
Q: HOW WILL I BE NOTIFIED IF MY VEHICLE NEEDS A TEST?
A: Motor Vehicle (MVD) will send a renewal notice stating if your vehicle requires emissions, or you may call (602)771-3950.
Q: DO I NEED AN APPOINTMENT BEFORE TAKING MY VEHICLE TO A TEST STATION?
A: No, vehicles are tested on a first-come, first-serve basis. No appointments are necessary. For your convenience, inspection stations are open until 7 PM weekdays and 8 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays.
You may save some time by visiting the inspection stations in the evening (from 5 PM – 7 PM on weekdays), on Saturday afternoon and avoiding the end of the month.
Q: HOW FAR IN ADVANCE CAN I HAVE MY VEHICLE TESTED?
A: Vehicles cannot be tested more than 90 days prior to your registration date for registration purposes. If you are purchasing a car from someone or just want to know how well it is performing, you may test any time. If purchased from a dealer, the dealer is required to have the vehicle pass emissions prior to sale. Please note: Once tested, the test fee cannot be refunded.
Q: WHO CAN TAKE MY VEHICLE IN FOR A TEST?
A: Any licensed motorist may take a vehicle to the testing station.
Testing Specifics & Payment
Q: WHAT VEHICLES MUST BE TESTED?
A: Vehicles that are model year 1967 and newer and more than 5 years old require emissions—this includes gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles. Alternative fuel, flexible fuel (E85) and hybrid vehicles also require emissions. Newer vehicles are exempt for the first 5 years of registration. Some vehicles may require a different schedule. If unsure, call 1-877-myAZcar (1-877-692-9227.)
Q: HOW OFTEN WILL MY VEHICLE NEED TO BE TESTED?
A: Depending on the vehicle’s year and weight, emissions test frequency can vary from 1 to 2 years. Vehicles 1981 and newer that are light duty vehicles (not diesel) will require emissions every 2 years. Vehicles that are 1980 and older, and most vehicles in Tucson, require emissions every year. Check the registration renewal notice to see if your vehicle is due.
Q: WHAT PAPERWORK DO I HAVE TO TAKE WITH ME TO EMISSIONS INSPECTION?
A: If you have been registered in Arizona for some time, you will not need to bring anything with you—we will have your vehicle information in the computer database. If you are new to Arizona, we will need to see the current title or registration of the vehicle and your residence address. Of course, you will also need the test fee in cash, check or credit/debit card.
Q: ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS ON WHERE I CAN HAVE MY VEHICLE TESTED?
A: Vehicles that are registered in Maricopa County cannot be emission tested in the Tucson area, due to the different test requirements. Therefore, you must test in your respective area, but you may use any inspection station in that area. However, if the vehicle is tested using the OBD test, it may be tested in either area.
Q: DO I HAVE TO PAY IF MY VEHICLE FAILS THE TEST?
A: A vehicle test fee is charged for the first test. A FREE retest is done if the failing vehicle is tested within 60 days of the initial test.
Q: WHAT WILL MY VEHICLE BE TESTED FOR (TAILPIPE TEST ONLY)?
A: The tailpipe test measures your vehicle’s emissions under various operating conditions. It is designed to measure levels of hydrocarbon (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Vehicles will be required to meet emissions standards established for the year the vehicle was manufactured.
Q: WHAT TYPE OF TESTING IS REQUIRED FOR DIESEL VEHICLES?
A: Diesel vehicles are tested for “smoke opacity”, in other words, how much visible pollutants are in the exhaust plume.
Q: WHAT IS TAMPERING?
A: “Tampering” means removing, defeating, or altering an emissions control device that was installed on a vehicle at the time the vehicle was manufactured. Defeating includes failure to repair any malfunctioning emission control system or device.
Q: MY VEHICLE DID NOT PASS; WILL THE TEST STATION MAKE NECESSARY REPAIRS?
A: No, the inspection stations do not make repairs. You may take your vehicle to a service facility of your choice to have the necessary repairs made.
Q: WHERE CAN I FIND THE TESTING HISTORY OF A VEHICLE?
A: To look up a vehicle’s test history, CLICK HERE.
Q: MY CAR IS A HYBRID, BUT MY REGISTRATION RENEWAL STATES “EMISSIONS REQUIRED”. DO I NEED TO HAVE IT TESTED?
A: Yes. A hybrid vehicle is not designated as an exempt vehicle like a total electric vehicle. It must be tested.
Q: DO I HAVE TO HAVE MY MOTORCYCLE EMISSIONS TESTED?
A: No. As of June 21, 2013, motorcycles are no longer required to be emissions tested in the State of Arizona.
Q: WHAT IS A “DRIVE CYCLE” AND HOW DO I DO IT?
A: Most newer vehicles are equipped with computers and engine emissions monitors. The manufacturer establishes a drive cycle in order to properly reset monitors to a ready state, enabling testing. The drive cycle may be fairly simple or very complex, depending on the vehicle. It is often necessary to rely on trained professionals to properly complete the drive cycle. Check with your repair facility.
Out of Area Exemption
Q: WHAT DOES “OUT OF THE AREA” MEAN FOR EMISSIONS TESTING?
A: Arizona has a clearly defined emissions control boundary for both Phoenix and Tucson. You are considered out of the area when your place of residence is located outside the indicated boundary line.
Q: HOW DO I DETERMINE IF I AM “OUT OF THE AREA”?
A: Check your physical address using our address locator at http://gisweb.azdeq.gov/arcgis/veiareas/. You will see some areas are shaded pink. The pink area is the emissions control area. Your address will be marked by an “X” and there will be a disclaimer on the left hand side of the screen. The disclaimer will say either “is in VEI area A or B” or “is NOT in VEI area A or B”.
Q: IF THE LOCATOR MAP INDICATES THAT I AM “OUT OF THE AREA”, DO I QUALIFY FOR THE “OUT OF AREA” EXEMPTION?
A: You must meet the following criteria to qualify for an “out of area” exemption.
- You reside in a partial zip code. These are zip codes that are right along the boundary line with part of it inside and part outside the area.
- The address locator shows that you are outside the area.
- You do not use the vehicle to commute into an emissions control area on a regular basis (for work or school).
Q: HOW DO I APPLY FOR THE “OUT OF AREA” EXEMPTION?
A: Complete the “out of area” exemption form located at http://myazcar.com/pdf/Out-of-Area-Exemption-Application-and-Instructions.pdf and submit for processing. Remember to include the documents requested in the form”s instructions. Once the application is approved and processed you will be notified by either email or regular mail, whichever is quickest and easiest. After notification that the application has been approved you will able to finish registration renewal with Motor Vehicle.
Out of State Exemptions
Q: MY VEHICLE IS LOCATED IN ARIZONA BUT I AM OUT OF STATE, DO I QUALIFY FOR AN OUT OF STATE EXEMPTION?
A: No, an out of state exemption is for a vehicle located in another state at the time the vehicle’s registration is due in Arizona.
Q: CAN SOMEONE ELSE TAKE MY VEHICLE TO THE EMISSIONS TEST STATION FOR TESTING?
A: Yes. The vehicle can be brought for testing by whomever the vehicle owner designates to do so.
Q: HOW DO I APPLY FOR AN OUT OF STATE EXEMPTION?
A: You can apply online 24/7 by visiting myazcar.com/exemptions and clicking “Apply and Pay Online.” The $9.50 application fee can be paid by Visa, Master Card, American Express or electronic check. Once your application is approved, a notification will be emailed to you. You can then renew your vehicle registration with the Motor Vehicle Division in person, by mail, online at www.servicearizona.com or over the phone by calling 1-888-713-3031.
Q: WILL YOU ACCEPT AN EMISSIONS TEST FROM ANOTHER STATE?
A: Yes, we will accept a passing emissions test.
Q: I TESTED MY VEHICLE IN ANOTHER STATE, BUT FAILED THE SAFETY CHECK, IS THAT OK?
A: Arizona does not require a Safety Check. If you have a passing emissions test and a failed Safety Check, you may still submit an out of state emissions exemption request.
Q: CAN I FAX OR EMAIL MY OUT OF STATE EXEMPTION TO ADEQ?
A: No, ADEQ only accepts out of state exemption applications through the online portal | Learn More >
Q: I AM FROM ANOTHER STATE CAN I TEST HERE IN ARIZONA?
A: Yes, our stations will test any out of state vehicle.
Q: I SENT IN MY EMISSIONS TEST BUT GOT IT BACK WITH A LETTER WITH “COMPLIANCE” CHECK MARKED, WHAT DO I DO?
A: If you see “ADOT” at the top left then the paperwork was sent to the incorrect agency. The Emissions Exemption paperwork must be sent to ADEQ’s main administrative office in Phoenix (1110 W. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85007) or Tucson (400 W. Congress St., Suite 433 Tucson, AZ 85701) prior to registering vehicle with Motor Vehicle Division.
Q: HOW DO I FIND OUT IF MY OUT OF STATE EXEMPTION HAS BEEN ACCEPTED?
A: Click on the vehicle emissions history link below, enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) and press the “submit” button to review the current emissions status of your vehicle.
Vehicle Emissions History >
Q: I HAD MY CAR TESTED; DO I HAVE TO HAVE THE OUT OF STATE EXEMPTION/VERIFICATION FORM COMPLETED?
A: If you see “ADOT” at the top left then the paperwork was sent to the incorrect agency. Emissions testing paperwork must be sent to ADEQ’s main administrative office in Phoenix (1110 W. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85007) or Tucson (400 W. Congress St., Suite 433 Tucson, AZ 85701) prior to registering the vehicle with Motor Vehicle Division.
Q: AFTER MY EXEMPTION IS PROCESSED HOW CAN I RENEW MY REGISTRATION?
A: After we process your exemption you can renew your registration online at: www.servicearizona.com, call (602) 255-0072/(520) 629-9808, or via mail to: Motor Vehicle Division, P.O. Box 2100, Phoenix, AZ 85031.
Q: HOW LONG DOES THE ONLINE OUT OF STATE EXEMPTION TAKE TO PROCESS?
A: Once your online application is received it may take one to two business days to process.
Q: CAN I SEND MY REGISTRATION RENEWAL MONEY WITH MY OUT OF STATE EXEMPTION FEE?
A: No, the emissions exemption process is completed by ADEQ and your vehicle registration is completed by AZDOT. Additionally, ADEQ only accepts online payment for the out of state emissions exemption fee.
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