AZ Emission Testing

Emissions Testing in Tucson, AZ

Local Tucson Area Testing Centers

Emissions Testing Locations in Tucson, AZ

Tucson’s transport sector is a major contributor to the prevalent air pollution experienced in the area and the entire Arizona state. Cars, trucks and other motor vehicles have continually released pollutants into the air, posing a threat to humans and other living organisms. 

Part of the government strategies to at least reduce the level of pollutants coming from motor vehicles was the introduction of emissions tests. Emission testing in Tucson is done to ensure that no vehicle produces pollutants at unacceptable levels in the area.

This article is a guide explaining the vehicles covered in the test, the exempts and the common types of tests and how they are done. The cost of the tests and some tips to ensure that your vehicle passes the Emission testing in Tucson without too much hustle will also be discussed in the end.

The Vehicles Covered:

All 1966 and newer model gasoline vehicles weighing less than 8500lbs must pass the Emissions Testing in Tucson every two years. Yearly emission tests cover the following:

  • 1967-1995 model vehicles weighing less than 8500lbs
  • 1967 and newer model diesel vehicles
  • Large vehicles weighing more than 8500lbs

Smog Checks Exemptions:

The following are exempted from Emission testing in Tucson:

  • Vehicles with model years older than 1966.
  • Vehicles with model years within the past 5 model years. Note that these do not include vehicles that are rebuilt or specially-built.
  • Electric vehicles.
  • Golf carts and electrically operated carts.
  • Motorcycles.
  • Vehicles registered outside Arizona emission test areas such as Tucson or those registered out of the state of Arizona.

What Types of Emissions Tests Are Available in Tucson?

Personnel from the Vehicle Emission Inspection Program can conduct any of the following 4 tests:

  1. IM 147 test
    1967-1995 model vehicles weighing less than 8500lbs need to take the IM 147 test in Tucson. This is the most common test considering that most personal cars fall under the model and weight specifications provided here. The test is done on a dynamometer (an area that resembles a set of rollers) where the testing personnel runs your vehicle at different speeds to simulate the city’s driving conditions. As the vehicle is run on the dynamometer, emission-related data is recorded and expressed in grams per mile.


  2. Steady-State Loaded Test
    If you own a 1967-1995 model vehicle in Tucson weighing more than 8500lbs, you need to prepare to pay for this test. Your vehicle will be run at idle then at different speeds depending on its class. The testing speed ranges between 25-30 miles per hour. The test results are reported as a percentage or parts per million.


  3. Diesel Vehicles Testing (Opacity Test)
    If you have a diesel vehicle in the Tucson metro area, then you should take it to an emissions testing center for opacity measurement. This test indicates the kind and intensity of the pollutants present in your vehicle’s exhaust. An opacity meter is put on the diesel engine’s tailpipe to take the opacity measurements that are later interpreted against a predetermined opacity level setting.
  4. On-Board Diagnostics Test
    All 1996 or newer model vehicles weighing less than 8500lbs must take this computerized test. A diagnostic gadget is connected to your vehicle to read the data of the engine operations. The computer uses this data to analyze the performance of your vehicle’s emission control system.

  5. Visual Test
    This applies to all vehicles and is tailored to ensure that all the vehicle’s emission control system components are not tampered with and that they are in their perfect shape. The test personnel should focus on checking components such as the operational air pump, catalytic convertor, a positive crankcase ventilation system, and the evaporative system. Although these seem like minor details, they can lead to an emissions test failure if found compromised.

The Arizona department of air quality is responsible for running emission testing programs in Tucson.

What Should You Do If Your Vehicle Has Failed The Smog Inspections?

If your vehicle fails to meet the emissions test requirements, you need to repair the damaged components, then go for a free retake test. Keep in mind that this test can only be free if the repairs are done within the stipulated 60 days after completing the first test. If the vehicle fails for the second time, a waiver may be offered under these conditions:

  • If you provide proof that the vehicle had an emission control tune-up
  • If you produce a copy of the first test results
  • If the cost of repairing the vehicle in a bid to reduce the emissions cannot be done within an acceptable cost limit.
  • If the emission control components of the presented vehicle are not altered in any way.

Cost of Emissions Testing in Tucson

The smog check test will cost you $12.25 for 1996 and newer model vehicles weighing less than 8500lbs on a 2-year basis. The yearly emissions tests cost, as indicated in the following breakdown:

  • 1967-1995 model vehicles weighing less than 8500lbs- $12.25
  • 1967 and newer model diesel vehicles- $12.25
  • Large vehicles weighing more than 8500lbs- $12.25

Tips to Pass the Emissions Testing in Tucson

Although Tucson does not require emission tests for drivers, you can do the following to ensure that you pass the test each time you visit an emission testing center:

  • Ensure that your vehicle does not have the check engine light on. If this light is on, your vehicle will automatically fail the test because it indicates a probability of defects in the engine’s emission control system.

  • For accurate readings, run your vehicle for at least 10 minutes before heading to an emissions test station.

  • Resolves any codes your vehicle may show with a code reader since these car problems may lead to an emissions test failure.

Closing Thoughts

Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona and is highly populated with people as well as vehicles. The temperatures here are also high considering that the city is within desert climatic conditions.

This means that the metro area has a higher chance of experiencing air pollution from active vehicle emissions. The emissions tests have, however, proved to reduce the contribution vehicles make in polluting the air by ensuring that the vehicles running in Tucson roads have properly working emission control systems.

If vehicle owners, car manufacturers and the government join hand in this, air pollution from vehicles can be significantly reduced, leading to even cleaner and fresher air in Tucson.