Local Phoenix Area Testing Centers

Emissions Testing Locations in Pheonix, AZ

If you live in Phoenix or any other emission test area in Arizona, you have to get your vehicle emissions tested before registering or renewing your vehicle. The emissions test, also known as smog test or smog check, is valid for only 90 days after the test is completed and hence you must register or renew the vehicle within this timeframe. 

The primary purpose of these Emissions Testing in Phoenix is to try and regulate car emissions in the city and the greater Arizona. The emission tests are, in general, run by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

In this guide, you will learn about what is required for the test, the vehicles covered, types of Emissions Testing in Phoenix, the test results, the condition for smog check waivers, and the smog check fees incurred.

What to bring to your emission test location:

As long as you know what to bring to the appointment, Emissions Testing in Phoenix is relatively easy. Before everything else, you need to confirm that you need the emissions test during the current year. Vehicle owners in Phoenix are required to pass an emissions test every two years or yearly, depending on their vehicle model.

So if this period has elapsed since your last testing, then you need to visit a test location with the following:

  • Your vehicle registration, title, or bill of sale acquired in the past year in case you are registering
  • The registration renewal application you have got from the Motor Vehicle Division in case of a renewal
  • The testing fee and, of course, your vehicle
  • If your vehicle failed in an initial test, you also need to carry a copy of the vehicle inspection report from the initial testing coupled with repair information as proof that you solved the issue.

The Vehicles Covered:

If you live or work in Phoenix, the capital of the state of Arizona, you need the emissions test if you own a 1981 or newer model vehicle. This covers vehicles that run on gasoline and weighs less than 8500lbs. In Phoenix, you also need to pass a yearly emissions test for the following:

  • 1967-1980 model vehicles.
  • 1981-1995 all-time 4×4 or traction control vehicles weighing less than 8500lbs
  • 1967 or newer model diesel vehicles
  • Vehicles weighing more than 8500lbs

Types of Vehicle Emissions Testing in Phoenix

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

  1. IM 147 test
    In Phoenix, this is done for vehicles made between 1981 and 1995 and weighing less than 8500lbs. For this test, your vehicle is driven on a dynamometer at different speeds to mimic city driving conditions. The emissions from the vehicle are measured and expressed in grams per mile.

  2. On-Board Diagnostics
    This test is for 1996 and newer models vehicles that weigh less than 8500lbs. A diagnostic computer is used to monitor and read the vehicle’s engine operating data to come up with an analysis of the vehicle’s emission control system.

  3. Snap acceleration test
    In Phoenix, this test is done on Diesel vehicles weighing over 8500lbs. To conduct the test, the car is put on neutral or park and the gas pedal hit to achieve the vehicle’s maximum allowable engine rpm. The exhaust opacity is also measured using a tailpipe monitor that is put on the tailpipe of the car.

  4. Steady-state/Idle test
    1967-1980 model gasoline vehicles in Phoenix weighing more than 8500lbs need to take this test. The vehicle is first tested at idle and then at higher speeds that range between 25-30 miles per hour, depending on its class. The test results are represented as a percent or parts per million (ppm). The results are interpreted on comparing with a set limit.

Apart from these 4 crucial tests, the personnel is supposed to do a visual test to see if you have tampered with the vehicle’s emissions system components. Here, the personnel will be checking for defects in parts such as the catalytic converter, the positive crankcase ventilation system, and the operational air pump.

The evaporative system may also be checked for pressure issues. In Phoenix, there are around 17 vehicle emissions testing locations where any of the above tests can be done.

Test Results

If your car passes the test, then you can proceed with the registration or renewal process. As mentioned above, you can only do this within 90 days after the test is completed. On the other hand, if your vehicle fails the test, you should focus on fixing the problem as soon as possible before you go for re-inspection. Carry the documents stated above in your subsequent Emissions Testing in Phoenix. The second test is also free as long as you complete the repairs within 60 days.

Condition for Smog Check Waivers

You may qualify for a waiver if your vehicle does not pass at least two emissions tests in a current test cycle. To be eligible for the waiver, a low emissions tune-up on the vehicle must be done and a report of the repairs with the estimates, the vehicle’s initial failing tests reports and the vehicle itself first submitted to a waiver facility.

If the waiver facility determines that more repairs to try and reduce the emission cannot be made within the maximum repair cost unit, then they will issue a waiver. Note that no component of your vehicle’s emission system should be tampered with for the waiver to be issued.

The smog check fees you will incur:

For the 2 years Emissions Testing in Phoenix, you will spend a smog check fee of $17. If you require a yearly emissions test, then you will pay according to the following breakdown:

  • Vehicles weighing more than 8500lbs- $16
  • 1967 or newer model diesel vehicles- $16
  • 1967-1980 model vehicles- $25
  • 1981-1995 all-time 4×4 or traction control vehicles weighing less than 8500lbs- $16

The Bottom Line

Now that many vehicles in Phoenix are powered by gasoline and considering that the area has hot temperatures capable of elevating air pollution, it makes sense to see the relevant bodies put regulations to try and curb the emissions produced when the fuels are burnt.

Part of the plan to attain a ‘greener’ environment in the capital goes to car manufacturers who need to design highly efficient engines and exhaust systems with little and safer emissions. As a vehicle owner, you need to see that your car is inspected once in a while, even with the mandatory tests in place. This way, Phoenix and the whole of Arizona will be cleaner and more habitable for us and the generations to come.