Arizona Emissions Guide

Emissions testing has become an important part of protecting our environment and reducing the output of harmful gasses from automobiles, however, the rules and regulations around smog tests can cause confusion and frustration. 

In this article, we’ll go over Arizona’s emissions regulations, and what you need to do to ensure your vehicle’s emissions system is working properly. 

Do I Need to Get Emissions Testing?

One of the biggest sources of confusion regarding smog tests is simply if you’re required to get one or not. In Arizona, it depends entirely on your area and the type of vehicle you drive.

First off, only those living or commuting in the Phoenix and Tucson area are required to have their vehicles tested for emissions. 

Secondly, only gasoline, diesel, or hybrid vehicles made past 1967 and older than 5 years are required to get emissions testing in areas that mandate it. Flex fuel and other alternative fuel vehicles also fall into the category of vehicles that need to be tested.

If you’re still confused, the state of Arizona’s locator website, found here, will outline the exact areas that require testing as well as feature locations of certified emissions shops you can choose from. Emissions tests must be done within the area you reside/commute in (i.e. a Maricopa County resident cannot go to Tucson for their emission testing due to varying regulations). 

How Often Do I Need Emission Testing?

While it can vary between one and two years, the vast majority of vehicles on the road in these areas will need a certified smog test annually. Light duty (non-diesel) vehicles will only need to be tested every two years, while the one-year rule applies to every vehicle made 1980 and older as well as every vehicle without the above exception. 

An emissions test for qualifying areas will also be required upon purchase of a used vehicle along with every year of renewing registration. Tests are required to be less than 90 days prior to your registration date. 

How Do Emissions Tests Work?

While the exact test requirements vary between the Tucson and Phoenix areas, both tests consist of reading levels of harmful gasses (carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides) emitted from the tailpipe.

This is true for all but diesel vehicles. Light duty diesel vehicles 1997 and newer will receive an onboard diagnostics test when hooked up to a computer, while all other diesels will receive a smoke-opacity test, which is based on the shade of the smoke coming from the tailpipe. 

tailpipe emitting exhaust gasses

What Happens if I Fail?

If your vehicle is unable to pass its emissions test, the problem causing this will need to be repaired by a shop of your choosing before you can retest your vehicle. While the repairs are up to you to pay for, your retest will be free within 60 days of the initial failed emissions test. 

Emissions System Repair at Borst Automotive

If your vehicle needs a little work before it can pass emissions, look no further than Borst Automotive! We have locations in Tucson, Mesa, and Phoenix, so you can get the emissions work you need no matter where you are. 

Our ASE-certified technicians will track down the source of your emissions issues and repair it using the highest quality of parts and service! Call or schedule online with us today!

Borst Automotive is here to help when you need it. Give us a call, schedule an appointment, or stop in today!