Arizona Car Inspection

Find out if you're getting ripped off on your car insurance in less than two minutes.
Find insurance savings (100% Free)
No long forms · No spam · No fees
Why you can trust Jerry
Jerry partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more baout how we make money, review our editorial standards, reference out data methodology, or view a list of our partners
In Arizona, residents must get a smog check for their vehicle when registering their car in the state for the first time. Otherwise, most vehicles—but not all—in the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas require emissions testing every other year.
In 1977, Congress passed an amendment to the Clean Air Act requiring states to implement vehicle emissions inspection programs in cities where federal air quality standards were not being met. Each state has its own requirements that can vary depending on the type of vehicle you drive, and where you live.
To help you understand your state’s emissions rules, the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry has compiled everything you need to know about car inspections in Arizona.
RECOMMENDED
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
avatar
Gabriella R.
Find insurance savings (100% Free)
rating primary
4.7/5 Rating on App Store

What are the vehicle inspection requirements in Arizona?

When new residents register a vehicle in Arizona for the first time, they are required to get an emissions inspection. This helps the state keep its air clean and ensures all vehicles adhere to Arizona’s emissions regulations.
Besides mandatory emissions tests for new residents, drivers in Phoenix and Tucson are required to get smog checks, but both the type of test and their frequency depend on location as well as on what kind of vehicle you drive.
If you are living, working, or studying and using a motor vehicle in the Phoenix metro area, you’ll need to get a smog check every two years for a motor vehicle that:
  • Is from the model year 1981 or later
  • Weighs less than 8,500 lbs
This test costs $17.
You’ll need to get an emissions test for your vehicle in the Phoenix metro area every year if:
  • The vehicle is from the model years 1967 to 1980
  • The diesel-powered vehicle is from the model year 1967 or later
  • The vehicle weighs more than 8,500 lbs
  • The vehicle Is a 4 x 4 or traction control model from the model years 1981 to 1985 and weighs less than 8,500 lbs
These tests all cost $16.
If you are living, working, or studying and using a motor vehicle in the Tucson metro area, emissions inspections are required every other year if:
  • The vehicle is from the model year 1996 or later
This test costs $12.25
You’ll need to get an emissions test for your vehicle in the Tucson metro area every year if:
  • The vehicle is from the model years 1967 to 1995 and weighs less than 8,500 lbs
  • The vehicle is a heavy-duty vehicle weighing more than 8,500 lbs
  • The diesel vehicle is from the model year 1967 or later
These tests all cost $12.25
If your vehicle doesn’t pass its emissions test, bring it to an approved Voluntary Vehicle Repair Program (VVRP) facility to get it fixed, and then bring it in for a re-test. The repairs before the re-test will be covered by the VVRP facility.

Four types of emissions test in the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP)

Arizona utilizes four types of tests to check vehicle emissions. The tests are as follows.
IM 157 Test (Level 1)
  • Most vehicles in Arizona are put through this test—the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) must match ownership documents
  • Vehicle is placed on a dynamometer, and staff drive at various speeds to simulate city conditions
  • Emissions are measured in grams per mile
  • Most vehicles from 1981 to 1995 and weighing less than 8,500 lbs in Phoenix take this test
  • Any out-of-state vehicles without proof of insurance or registration take this test when brought to Arizona
Steady State Loaded/Idle Test
  • For most vehicles from the model years 1967 to 1995 in Tucson weighing more than 8,500 lbs
  • For most gasoline-powered vehicles in Phoenix from the model years 1967 to 1980 weighing more than 8,500 lbs
  • Vehicle is run on idle
  • Based on vehicle class, it is tested at higher speeds, ranging from 25 to 30 miles per hour
  • Test results are measured as a percentage or in parts per million
Onboard Diagnostic (OBDII) Test
  • For Arizona vehicles from model years 1996 or later weighing less than 8,500 lbs
  • Diagnostic computer in vehicle reads the engine’s operating data
  • Vehicle’s emissions control system performance is analyzed
Diesel Vehicle Testing
  • Test uses an opacity meter, which measures the level of opacity in vehicle’s exhaust
  • Vehicles are placed on dynamometer under load
  • For all diesel vehicles weighing less than 8,500 lbs in Arizona
  • For all diesel vehicles in Tucson metro area
  • All diesel vehicles weighing more than 8,500 lbs take the snap acceleration test
  • Vehicle is placed in neutral or park
  • Gas is pressed to increase RPMs to maximum level allowed
  • Opacity monitor placed on tailpipe measures vehicle’s exhaust opacity

Inspections for Tampering

If tampering of a vehicle is suspected, Arizona Emissions personnel will conduct a visual inspection focusing on the following:
  • Catalytic converter
  • Operational air pump
  • Positive crankcase ventilation system
  • Evaporative control system
Emissions personnel may conduct an evaporative system integrity (pressure) test if warranted.
Let Jerry find your price in only 45 seconds
No spam · No long forms · No fees
Find insurance savings (100% Free)

Exceptions to the state requirements

Some vehicles are exempt from Arizona’s emissions requirements. You don’t need a smog inspection if:
  • Your vehicle is from a model within the past five years (this does not include rebuilt vehicles or specially-built vehicles)
  • Vehicle is registered outside the Arizona control area
  • Vehicle with a model year of 1966 or earlier
  • You drive a motorcycle
  • You drive an electric vehicle
  • You drive a golf cart or small electronically operated vehicle registered in Arizona

Where to get a car inspection in Arizona

To get an emissions test in Arizona, contact the DMV for emissions testing locations.

How often do you need a car inspection?

In Arizona:
  • All new residents registering a vehicle for the first time must get an emissions inspection
In Phoenix metro area:
  • Every two years
    • All vehicles from model years 1981 or later, weighing less than 8,500 lbs
  • Every year
    • All vehicles from model years 1967 to 1980
    • All diesel vehicles from model years 1967 or later
    • All vehicles weighing more than 8,500 lbs
    • All 4 x 4 and traction control vehicles from model years 1981 to 1985 and weighing less than 8,500 lbs
In Tucson metro area:
  • Every two years
    • All vehicles from model year 1996 or later
Every year
    • All vehicles from model years 1967 to 1995 and weighing less than 8,500 lbs
    • All heavy-duty vehicles weighing more than 8,500 lbs
    • All diesel vehicles from model years 1967 or later

Finding affordable car insurance 

Once your vehicle meets Arizona’s emissions regulations, make sure it meets the state’s car insurance rules as well. The car insurance broker app Jerry compares 50+ top providers so you know you’re getting the best coverage for the most affordable price. The best part? The average Jerry user saves $879 a year on car insurance!
RECOMMENDED
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

√
No long forms
√
No spam or unwanted phone calls
√
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free