What You Need to Know About Emissions Testing in Utah

Utah requires emissions testing for certain vehicles in Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Weber, and Cache Counties.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
requires emissions testing in five of its counties for most cars six years old or older.
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Utah emissions testing regulations

Utah requires some vehicles to get emissions inspections by order of the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles, who collaborate to manage this program. The intention behind this testing is to improve air quality and reduce pollution in the Beehive State. But not every car—and not every county—is subject to testing. 

Which counties in Utah require emissions testing?

Let’s start with your registered location.
Utah’s smog check program
is active in five counties. If your vehicle is registered in one of the counties listed below, you are subject to Utah emissions testing requirements.
If you have moved from a different county into one of the counties listed above, make sure to change your address with the DMV and schedule an emissions test. 

Which cars need emissions testing in Utah?

On top of location, there are additional rules that impact which vehicles need emissions testing in Utah.
Drivers who live in Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Weber, or Cache counties must get their vehicles tested according to the following criteria:
  • Vehicles less than six years old must be tested every two years
  • Vehicles more than six years old (until 1967) must be tested annually 
If your vehicle is less than six years old, pay attention to the model year to determine when to get tested. Even model years should get tested in even calendar years and odd model years must be tested in odd calendar years (e.g., a 2019 vehicle should be tested in 2021 and 2023). Note that in Cache county, vehicles more than six years old must be smog checked every other year according to the same model-year and calendar-year schema.
In addition, certain types of vehicles must pass a safety inspection in Utah:
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Salvaged vehicles with a rebuilt title
  • First-time registration of street-legal ATVs (or whenever there’s a title transfer)
The testing fee should be between $20 and $30, depending on where the test is conducted. The base fee for a smog check is $20 in Cache County, for instance, but $30 in Weber County. Price is market-driven in Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah counties, so it’s smart to shop around for a good price. 
On top of the base fee, you’ll pay an additional inspection fee of between $1 to $3. Contact the appropriate
county emissions office
for more information.  Note that
eligible vintage vehicles
are exempt from emissions inspections.
Model years
1992 or older
Vintage plates
1968 to 2016
Standard plates
2016 to 2022
Standard plates
Every two years
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In addition to the above requirements, be aware that you may be required to get an emissions test whenever there is a title transfer.

Exemptions from Utah emissions testing

You’re exempt from Utah emissions testing if you drive one of the following types of vehicles:
  • Motorcycles
  • Diesel vehicles (some exceptions apply)
  • Farm vehicles (“implements of husbandry”)
  • Off-highway vehicles
  • Electric vehicles
  • Vintage or custom vehicles
  • Military tactile vehicles
  • Maintenance or construction vehicles not designed or licensed to operate on a highway
  • New vehicles with an MSO (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin)
  • Vehicles manufactured in the last two model years
  • Vehicles made in the 1968 model year and registered in Cache County
  • Vehicles made in the 1967 model year or older and registered in Davis, Weber, Utah, or Salt Lake counties

How does Utah emissions testing work?

If you need to get an emissions test, here are the three basic steps:
  • Find an emissions station in your county. You can use this
    official website
    to search by zip code in Utah County, or
    this one
    for Salt Lake County to locate a center near you. Otherwise, search for an independent testing center online.
  • Bring your vehicle in for inspection. The technician will conduct the appropriate tests for your vehicle’s model, age, and fuel type.
  • Pay the associated fees. You can expect to pay approximately $30.

Types of emissions tests

What really happens in an emissions test? The first step is a basic safety check, including a visual assessment of the dashboard lights and the gas cap. What happens next depends on your specific vehicle.
Newer vehicles can get an OBD (on-board diagnostics) inspection using an OBD-II scanner. Learning how to read car OBD codes will make easy work in locating your emissions problems.
Older vehicles built before 1982 and heavy-duty trucks may receive the I/M 240 test, which is basically a fitness test that allows the technician to simulate your vehicle’s performance on a type of massive treadmill. Also, vehicles are subjected to the two-speed idle test, which measures the engine’s speed. To perform this test, they rev the vehicle up to 2500 RPM between two intended idle times. 

What happens if you fail emissions testing in Utah?

It’s not the end of the world if you fail Utah emissions testing. However, you need to attempt to repair the problem and then get the vehicle re-tested
You may be eligible for an inspection waiver if you fail multiple times. To learn more about eligibility requirements for waivers, call your county emissions office:
  • Cache County: (435) 792-6570
  • Davis County: (801) 525-5100
  • Salt Lake County: (385) 468-3837
  • Utah County: (801) 851-7600
  • Weber County: (80) 399-7140
You can get a
temporary permit
if your registration has expired in the last six months. This permit gives you 30 days to continue operating the vehicle and schedule an emissions test.
What if you can’t afford the repairs you’d need to pass? You may qualify for a repair waiver or financial help. For instance, Weber County offers
financial assistance
for low-income drivers who fail the emissions test. Bear in mind that you may be denied assistance if any equipment is missing or has been tampered with. 
Local health departments administer these grants—
click here
to learn more. 
MORE: Utah electric vehicle incentives

How to save on car insurance in Utah

While you do have to spend money on emissions testing, you don’t have to spend money to get a great car insurance policy.
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Not necessarily. Newer vehicles (i.e., less than six years old) must be tested every two years. Vehicles six years or older must be tested every year. Exemptions apply, such as if you own a farming vehicle, vintage vehicle, or motorcycle.
You can avoid emissions testing if you drive an exempt vehicle—such as an all-electric vehicle or a collector vehicle. However, you can’t avoid legal requirements. If you do, the DMV could deny your registration.
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