Automobile Emissions Testing
Emissions Testing Station locations, wait times, and other up-to-date information is available through the State of Colorado's vehicle emissions testing contractor:
The Automobile Inspection and Readjustment (AIR) Program's purpose is to reduce motor vehicle related pollution through the inspection and emissions-related repair of gasoline powered motor vehicles.
Emissions testing of gas and diesel powered vehicles is required when registering, renewing registrations, or selling vehicles within the program areas in nine counties along Colorado's Front Range.
The current AIR Program covers the nine-county Front Range area, including all or portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, Larimer, and Weld counties.
The RapidScreen program provides an opportunity for vehicles to forego testing if they are found to meet emissions standards after driving by a roadside monitor.
1982 and Newer Vehicles:
An enhanced test is required for gasoline powered passenger cars and light trucks 1982 and newer in the seven-county Denver metro area, which includes the counties of Broomfield, Denver, Jefferson, Boulder, Douglas, and western Arapahoe and Adams counties (west of Kiowa Creek). New cars are exempt from testing to the original owner for four years. The enhanced inspection is performed at any one of 14 inspection stations operated by AirCare Colorado. The inspection utilizes a dynamometer which simulates actual driving conditions. The test is good for two years. Motorists are alerted to the need for a test by a notice on their registration renewal forms.
Older than 1982:
A basic two-speed idle test is required each year for vehicles older than 1982 and heavy trucks in the six-county Denver metro area. The basic test can be performed at Air Care Colorado facilities, or at an independent, licensed test station.
The basic two-speed idle gasoline test emissions program in El Paso County was discontinued on January 1, 2007, based on long-term compliance with the carbon monoxide standards.
Changes to Vehicle Emissions Testing Coming in 2015
Effective January 2015
- Exemptions for new vehicles will increase from 4 to 7 model years.
A model year 2011 vehicle, for example, would not need any emissions tests until 2018.
Check the registration renewal card that your county clerk mails to you about a month before your vehicle’s registration renewal is due. If the words “Emissions Test Required” appear on the card, then you will need to take your vehicle to an Air Care Colorado emissions testing station and pass an emissions test.
- Vehicles that are 8 to 11 years old will only need a test of their "On-board Diagnostic (OBD)" computer systems.
2008 vehicles would get an OBD test starting in 2015.
Learn more at www.epa.gov/obd or www.obdclearinghouse.com.
- Vehicles that are 12 years and older will still get the “I/M 240” dynamometer (treadmill) test.
I/M 240 is still the most comprehensive way to test vehicle emissions under real-world conditions.
- Hybrid vehicles that are 8 years and older will require emissions testing.
The program will test all gasoline-powered vehicles (including older hybrids) to make sure they are still running clean.
- Vehicles with their “Check Engine” light turned on during an OBD test will need repairs to pass the emissions test.
Making these repairs can improve your vehicle’s performance, make it last longer, and save you money.
- You can still use the RapidScreen roadside emissions testing program.
1982 and newer vehicles could skip the trip to an emissions testing station. Drive past a RapidScreen roadside emissions testing unit at least two different times between 14 and two months before your vehicle’s registration renewal date.
Maps of RapidScreen Unit Locations
If your renewal is due in September 2015, for example, then drive past a RapidScreen unit at least twice between May 2014 and July 2015. If the words “Passed Roadside Emissions” appear on your registration renewal card, then you do not need to also go to an emissions testing station.
In addition to the white RapidScreen trucks you’ve already seen on roadsides, RapidScreen will also use small green remote sensing units. These units use the same state-of-the-art technology as the trucks, letting you pass your emissions test while driving.
- No increase in testing fees!
Colorado’s emissions testing fees have stayed the same for 20 years, and they will stay the same even with these changes.
- Air Care Colorado emissions testing stations will be accepting cash, checks, and credit cards!
They will accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and possibly others in the future.