Here at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood, we want to share some of the emissions test information you need to know. In Colorado, all vehicle owners who are residents will need to go through a vehicle inspection at the DMV and some Colorado counties require an emissions test to ensure that cars that are operating on the roads are helping to control smog levels in our communities. Passing is required for those vehicles that must have a DMV vehicle inspection completed, with a few exceptions and exemptions.
Testing Rules in Colorado
In Colorado, emission tests vary based on the model year and fuel type of your vehicle which also determines the kind of vehicle inspection given. Colorado offers 5 different kinds of emissions tests:
- Onboard Diagnostics (OBD): This test is given to vehicles that are hybrid vehicles that are over 8 years old, as well as gas-powered vehicles that are 8 to 11 years old because these vehicles have the same emissions standards. Those vehicles that have a check engine light on will automatically fail this test.
- I/M 240 dynamometer (treadmill) test: This test is given to vehicles that are at least 12 years old but whose model year is not older than 1982. These vehicles may be able to pass inspection even if the check engine light is on.
- Two-speed idle test: Gas fueled vehicles that are 1981 models and older are given this test.
- RapidScreen Roadside Test: This test is used for vehicles that have very small amounts of emissions.
- Diesel emissions tests: Owners of diesel-fueled vehicles will need to obtain independent smog certification from an approved provider. DMV smog test sites do not administer diesel emissions tests.
If you need an emission repair so that your vehicle will pass the smog test, contact us here at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood.
Exemptions from Smog Checks in Colorado
Not all vehicles are required to have testing in the state of Colorado. Smog certification is required in specific counties and there are some exceptions for certain vehicles in all counties. The following counties require smog certification: Boulder County, Broomfield County, Denver County, Douglas County, Jefferson County, and some parts of Adams, Arapahoe, Larimer, and Weld County.
The following vehicles are exempt from emissions tests, regardless of which county they are registered in:
- Motorcycles, farm vehicles, mopeds, horseless carriages
- Models that are seven years old or less than seven years old
- A collector’s vehicle model years 1975 and older
- Fully electric vehicles (hybrids are not fully electric)
Colorado residents may be required to submit an emissions test even if the vehicle and owner are located temporarily in another state. Colorado will accept certifications from out-of-state, but a little extra paperwork is required. A smog test provider in their area must be used or alternatively, an inspection performed by a law enforcement officer is acceptable.
The results of the test/inspection must be sent to the Colorado DMV along with an Application for an Affidavit of Emissions that has been completed. If the test was performed in a state that does not offer DMV emissions test, a Verification of Vehicle Identification Number form must be additionally included.
Colorado Emission Waivers
There are some additional instances where vehicle owners can obtain a test waiver. If a vehicle owner has spent over $715 in professional repairs to pass the test and they have failed again, they may receive an inspection waiver. If the vehicle is from 1967 or earlier and did not pass the emissions inspection and the owner has spent more than $75 in professional repairs, the owner may be eligible for a waiver. The waiver is valid for one inspection.
People who are experiencing an economic hardship may also qualify for a waiver. Car owners who enroll in a financial aid program to pay for their emissions test repairs and who have no other means of transportation may qualify for a waiver. For this waiver, there is no minimum repair expenditure required.
Test Fees and Locations
Though the smog test varies depending on the model year of the vehicle, most smog tests will cost $25. Owners of diesel vehicles are subject to the emissions test price at Diesel Emission Testing Centers, which can be the equivalent of one hour of labor.
There are several emission testing locations for non-diesel vehicles located throughout the state of Colorado. Testing is available in Boulder, Denver, Castle Rock, and Fort Collins, as well as other locations. Each location is an official Colorado DMV testing provider and the tests are conducted by licensed professionals. These professionals will conduct appropriate tests for the type and model year of your vehicle.
Test centers are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Testing centers are not open on Sundays or holidays.
Failing an Emissions Test
Not all vehicles are going to pass. Typically, older vehicles that have never been tested are more likely to fail an emissions test. If your vehicle fails, the Vehicle Inspection Report given following the test should provide the reason for failing. Common reasons for failing the test include emitting too much carbon dioxide, unacceptable levels of smoke from the tailpipe, the check engine light is on, and the vehicle’s gas cap does not function properly.
To resolve your emission issue, take your report to a reputable auto repair shop and get the specific issues listed addressed. Once the problem has been fixed, you can then return to the appropriate testing facility for a re-test.
Hopefully, this emission test information you need to know is useful and can provide you with the directions you need to get your vehicle tested. If you end up needing a repair on your vehicle to pass your smog test, contact us here at Sundance Automotive in Lakewood. We can provide needed repairs so that you can pass your vehicle emissions test.