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Arizona Emissions Tests Frequently Asked Questions

Arizona Emissions Tests Frequently Asked Questions

Emissions tests are mandatory in some parts of Arizona and people often have questions about them. Here are a selection of the most frequently asked questions from the official mycaraz.com website. 


If you’re searching for how to pass an emissions test in Scottsdale, Bridwell Automotive Center can help!

Our team understands the state and city’s requirements for emissions and how to help ensure your car, truck, or suv will pass emissions testing.ASE Certified automotive repair technicians can help you prepare for testing or can help repair issues if you have failed and emissions test.

Read more about reasons vehicles fail emissions tests and how much emissions repairs cost.


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General Emissions Testing Information

Q: Why is the Emissions Program important?

A: The program is a key component of Arizona’s initiative to protect air quality while allowing for economic growth. With the pollution reductions achieved, there is more room for new businesses to bring jobs to the area and for existing businesses to expand. Without the emissions program, federal laws would seriously restrict economic growth.

Q: Why does my vehicle need to be tested?

A: Automobiles are a major contributor to ground level air pollution. In Phoenix, the program is an important component of reducing volatile organic compounds and maintaining air quality. High pollution levels affect the future health of our children and make it more difficult to draw new business and create jobs in our communities. In Tucson, the program is key to maintaining a healthy and attractive environment for Southern Arizona. The Emissions Program will help provide a healthy future and a strong economy for Arizona and for our families.

Q: Who is required to have their vehicle emissions tested?

A: All residents of the greater Phoenix and Tucson areas and those who regularly commute into the areas for work or school are required to have their 1967 or newer vehicles pass an emissions test. Most vehicles newer than 6 years old are exempt from testing, and certain other vehicle exemptions apply (see Exemptions). If you are not sure if you live in the emissions control area, CLICK HERE.

Q: How will I be notified if my vehicle needs a test?

A: Motor Vehicle (MVD) will send a renewal notice stating if your vehicle requires emissions, or you may call (602)771-3950.

Q: Do I need an appointment before taking my vehicle to a test station?

A: No, vehicles are tested on a first-come, first-serve basis. No appointments are necessary. For your convenience, inspection stations are open until 7 PM weekdays and 8 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays.

You may save some time by visiting the inspection stations in the evening (from 5 PM – 7 PM on weekdays), on Saturday afternoon and avoiding the end of the month.

Q: How far in advance can I have my vehicle tested?

A: Vehicles cannot be tested more than 90 days prior to your registration date for registration purposes. If you are purchasing a car from someone or just want to know how well it is performing, you may test any time. If purchased from a dealer, the dealer is required to have the vehicle pass emissions prior to sale. Please note: Once tested, the test fee cannot be refunded.

Q: Who can take my vehicle in for a test?

A: Any licensed motorist may take a vehicle to the testing station.


Testing Specifics & Payment

Q: What vehicles must be tested?

A: Vehicles that are model year 1967 and newer and more than 5 years old require emissions—this includes gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles. Alternative fuel, flexible fuel (E85) and hybrid vehicles also require emissions. Newer vehicles are exempt for the first 5 years of registration. Some vehicles may require a different schedule. If unsure, call 1-877-myAZcar (1-877-692-9227.)

Q: How often will my vehicle need to be tested?

A: Depending on the vehicle’s year and weight, emissions test frequency can vary from 1 to 2 years. Vehicles 1981 and newer that are light duty vehicles (not diesel) will require emissions every 2 years. Vehicles that are 1980 and older, and most vehicles in Tucson, require emissions every year. Check the registration renewal notice to see if your vehicle is due.

Q: What paperwork do I have to take with me to emissions inspection?

A: If you have been registered in Arizona for some time, you will not need to bring anything with you—we will have your vehicle information in the computer database. If you are new to Arizona, we will need to see the current title or registration of the vehicle and your residence address. Of course, you will also need the test fee in cash, check or credit/debit card.

Q: Are there any restrictions on where I can have my vehicle tested?

A: Vehicles that are registered in Maricopa County cannot be emission tested in the Tucson area, due to the different test requirements. Therefore, you must test in your respective area, but you may use any inspection station in that area. However, if the vehicle is tested using the OBD test, it may be tested in either area.

Q: Do I have to pay if my vehicle fails the test?

A: A vehicle test fee is charged for the first test. A FREE retest is done if the failing vehicle is tested within 60 days of the initial test.

Q: What will my vehicle be tested for (tailpipe test only)?

A: The tailpipe test measures your vehicle’s emissions under various operating conditions. It is designed to measure levels of hydrocarbon (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Vehicles will be required to meet emissions standards established for the year the vehicle was manufactured.

Q: What type of testing is required for diesel vehicles?

A: Diesel vehicles are tested for “smoke opacity”, in other words, how much visible pollutants are in the exhaust plume.

Q: What is tampering?

A: “Tampering” means removing, defeating, or altering an emissions control device that was installed on a vehicle at the time the vehicle was manufactured. Defeating includes failure to repair any malfunctioning emission control system or device.

Q: My vehicle did not pass; will the test station make necessary repairs?

A: No, the inspection stations do not make repairs. You may take your vehicle to a service facility of your choice to have the necessary repairs made.

Q: Where can I find the testing history of a vehicle?

A: To look up a vehicle’s test history, CLICK HERE.

 

Q: My car is a hybrid, but my registration renewal states “Emissions Required”. Do I need to have it tested?

A: Yes. A hybrid vehicle is not designated as an exempt vehicle like a total electric vehicle. It must be tested.

 

Q: Do I have to have my motorcycle emissions tested?

A: No. As of June 21, 2013, motorcycles are no longer required to be emissions tested in the State of Arizona.

 

Q: What is a “drive cycle” and how do I do it?

A: Most newer vehicles are equipped with computers and engine emissions monitors. The manufacturer establishes a drive cycle in order to properly reset monitors to a ready state, enabling testing. The drive cycle may be fairly simple or very complex, depending on the vehicle. It is often necessary to rely on trained professionals to properly complete the drive cycle. Check with your repair facility.

 


Out of Area Exemption

Q: What does “out of the area” mean for emissions testing?

A: Arizona has a clearly defined emissions control boundary for both Phoenix and Tucson. You are considered out of the area when your place of residence is located outside the indicated boundary line.

Q: How do I determine if I am “out of the area”?

A: Check your physical address using our address locator at http://gisweb.azdeq.gov/arcgis/veiareas/. You will see some areas are shaded pink. The pink area is the emissions control area. Your address will be marked by an “X” and there will be a disclaimer on the left hand side of the screen. The disclaimer will say either “is in VEI area A or B” or “is NOT in VEI area A or B”.

Q: If the locator map indicates that I am “out of the area”, do I qualify for the “out of area” exemption?

A: You must meet the following criteria to qualify for an “out of area” exemption.

  • You reside in a partial zip code. These are zip codes that are right along the boundary line with part of it inside and part outside the area.
  • The address locator shows that you are outside the area.
  • You do not use the vehicle to commute into an emissions control area on a regular basis (for work or school).

Q: How do I apply for the “out of area” exemption?

A: Complete the “out of area” exemption form located at http://myazcar.com/pdf/Out-of-Area-Exemption-Application-and-Instructions.pdf and submit for processing. Remember to include the documents requested in the form”s instructions. Once the application is approved and processed you will be notified by either email or regular mail, whichever is quickest and easiest. After notification that the application has been approved you will able to finish registration renewal with Motor Vehicle.


Out of State Exemptions

Q: My vehicle is located in Arizona but I am out of state, do I qualify for an out of state exemption?

A: No, an out of state exemption is for a vehicle located in another state at the time the vehicle’s registration is due in Arizona.

Q: Can someone else take my vehicle to the emissions test station for testing?

A: Yes. The vehicle can be brought for testing by whomever the vehicle owner designates to do so.

Q: How do I apply for an out of state exemption?

A: You can apply online 24/7 by visiting myazcar.com/exemptions and clicking “Apply and Pay Online.” The $9.50 application fee can be paid by Visa, Master Card, American Express or electronic check. Once your application is approved, a notification will be emailed to you. You can then renew your vehicle registration with the Motor Vehicle Division in person, by mail, online at www.servicearizona.com or over the phone by calling 1-888-713-3031.

Q: Will you accept an emissions test from another state?

A: Yes, we will accept a passing emissions test.

Q: I tested my vehicle in another state, but failed the Safety Check, is that ok?

A: Arizona does not require a Safety Check. If you have a passing emissions test and a failed Safety Check, you may still submit an out of state emissions exemption request.

Q: Can I fax or email my out of state exemption to ADEQ?

A: No, ADEQ only accepts out of state exemption applications through the online portal | Learn More >

Q: I am from another state can I test here in Arizona?

A: Yes, our stations will test any out of state vehicle.

Q: I sent in my emissions test but got it back with a letter with “compliance” check marked, what do I do?

A: If you see “ADOT” at the top left then the paperwork was sent to the incorrect agency. The Emissions Exemption paperwork must be sent to ADEQ’s main administrative office in Phoenix (1110 W. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85007) or Tucson (400 W. Congress St., Suite 433 Tucson, AZ 85701) prior to registering vehicle with Motor Vehicle Division.

Q: How do I find out if my out of state exemption has been accepted?

A: Click on the vehicle emissions history link below, enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) and press the “submit” button to review the current emissions status of your vehicle.
Vehicle Emissions History >

Q: I had my car tested; do I have to have the out of state exemption/verification form completed?

A: If you see “ADOT” at the top left then the paperwork was sent to the incorrect agency. Emissions testing paperwork must be sent to ADEQ’s main administrative office in Phoenix (1110 W. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85007) or Tucson (400 W. Congress St., Suite 433 Tucson, AZ 85701) prior to registering the vehicle with Motor Vehicle Division.

Q: After my exemption is processed how can I renew my registration?

A: After we process your exemption you can renew your registration online at: www.servicearizona.com, call (602) 255-0072/(520) 629-9808, or via mail to: Motor Vehicle Division, P.O. Box 2100, Phoenix, AZ 85031.

Q: How long does the online out of state exemption take to process?

A: Once your online application is received it may take one to two business days to process.

Q: Can I send my registration renewal money with my out of state exemption fee?

A: No, the emissions exemption process is completed by ADEQ and your vehicle registration is completed by AZDOT. Additionally, ADEQ only accepts online payment for the out of state emissions exemption fee.

Scottsdale Emissions Repair Service

If you want to ensure you will pass on the first try for emissions testing, or if you have already failed and need help repairing your vehicle so it will pass; Bridwell Automotive Center is here to help!  From your daily driver Fords and Chevy’s all the way up to your McLaren or Ferrari our ASE Master Technicians are ready and waiting to help your pass emissions test in Scottsdale, AZ.

Schedule emissions repair or give us a call at (480) 948-4781

How To Pass Emissions An Test

How To Pass An Emissions Test

To pass an emissions test the check engine light needs to be off, oil changed, good gas cap, use a fuel additive, and warm it up on highway.


If you’re searching for how to pass an emissions test in Scottsdale, Bridwell Automotive Center can help!

Our team understands the state and city’s requirements for emissions and how to help ensure your car, truck, or suv will pass emissions testing.ASE Certified automotive repair technicians can help you prepare for testing or can help repair issues if you have failed and emissions test.

Read more about reasons vehicles fail emissions tests and how much emissions repairs cost.


View Our Special Offers

How To Pass Emissions An Test

To give your vehicle the best chance at passing the emissions test follow these tips.  By doing a little preparation you can save yourself the headache of getting your vehicle retested.  If you’ve got more serious problems with your vehicle you will likely need to have professional automotive repair to get your vehicle to pass emissions.

Change Engine Oil

Old dirty oil in your engine can release extra pollutants which can cause you to fail your emissions test.  It’s a good practice to have your oil changed before an emissions test.

Check Gas Cap Seal

One of the most common reasons people fail an emissions test is the gas cap.  Gas cap seals are exposed to heat, cold, rain, snow and the seals break down.  If air is passing by your gas cap it can cause your vehicle to throw a check engine light and fail your vehicle in an emissions test.

Have A Tune Up

Having your vehicle tuned up about 2 weeks before you need to get the test is a great precaution also.  Your vehicle benefits from regular maintenance and it will increase the chances of passing you emissions test.  Filters will be changed and your vehicle will be running at peak performance.

Check Tire Pressures

In some states your vehicle will be ran on rollers to test emissions as if  you were moving.  This is called a dynomometer.  If your tires have low pressure it could cause your motor to release higher levels of pollutants at speed.

Add A Fuel Additive

Fuel additives help clean carbons deposits out of your vehicle’s exhaust and intake system. If you’ve got extra carbon deposits around fuel injectors, cylinders, or in the exhaust it can cause your vehicle to fail an emissions test.

Use The Vehicle

If it is a vehicle you don’t normally drive, but want to get the registration done, you will need to make sure you drive it regularly for 2 weeks leading up to your testing.  This helps clear out the exhaust system and catalytic converter from carbon and other harmful pollutants.

Drive On Highway 20 Min Before Testing

On the day of testing you’ll need to drive the vehicle on the highway for about 20 min to warm up the motor.  This makes it so when you arrive at the emissions testing center you’ll be ready to pass with flying colors.

Reasons To Fail Emissions Test

There are 6 main reasons vehicles fail emissions testing.  A check engine light is a red flag that will cause you to fail along with bad O2sensors, too rich fuel to air mixture, bad EVAP systems, leaky, or incorrect fuel metering.

Check Engine Light

The check engine light in your vehicle comes on for numerous reasons.  If it is on you should stop by our shop and let us read the code to figure out what is happening with your vehicle.  Sometimes it can be as simple as needing a new gas cap to something more serious that if ignored can result in costly repairs.

Bad 02 Sensors

Vehicles today rely on O2 sensors to monitor exhaust fumes.  When they are not working properly the vehicle will likely have a rough idle or decrease in engine power.  You will also lose mountains of MPG efficiency if your O2sensors are not working properly.  If your vehicle is burning too much fuel it will not pass emissions testing as the toxicity of the exhaust will be too high.

Rich Fuel to Air Mixture

When gasoline is injected into your engine it is mixed with a proportion of air.  This is called the “air to fuel mixture”.  How much fuel is used to in each cycle of the pistons affects your fuel mileage, power, an carbon monoxide content in your exhaust.  If you are burning too much fuel you will not pass emissions tests.

Bad EVAP System

Your Evaporative Emissions Control System, or EVAP, stops gas fumes from being released into the atmosphere by your vehicle.  When vacuum hoses are cracked, loose, or broken it will cause the check engine light to come on.  Even a loose or broken gas cap will cause the EVAP system to throw a check engine light and prevent you from passing your emissions test.

Leaky Exhaust

Exhaust leaks will wreak havoc on a vehicle’s ability to pass an emissions test.  If your exhaust system is leaking it will make the O2 sensor read incorrectly.  If the exhaust from your engine isn’t being passed through the catalytic converter it is being released into the atmosphere in categorically illegal levels.  If your exhaust system is leaking, we can repair it so you will pass the emissions test in Arizona.

Incorrect Fuel Metering

How much fuel your vehicle uses is also part of emissions testing.  If your vehicle uses too much fuel compared to it’s make and model you will likely not pass your emissions test.  The right amount of fuel is sent to the engine to make it run smoothly.  If a fuel injector or engine control unit is malfunctioning it will use too much fuel and make it hard to pass an emissions test.

How Much Does Emissions Repair Cost?

The cost to repair your vehicle so it will past emissions testing will depend on what is preventing it from passing.  If it is simply a gas cap, it will cost around $30. In contrasts it costs about $200 dollars to fix an O2 sensor in most of today’s vehicles.  If the catalytic converter needs to be replaced it will cost over $1,000 dollars.  You will save money the sooner you bring your vehicle in when the check engine light turns on.  Small issues like O2 sensors can lead to the bigger more expensive problems such as replacing your catalytic converter.

Scottsdale Emissions Repair Service

If you want to ensure you will pass on the first try for emissions testing, or if you have already failed and need help repairing your vehicle so it will pass; Bridwell Automotive Center is here to help!  From your daily driver Fords and Chevy’s all the way up to your McLaren or Ferrari our ASE Master Technicians are ready and waiting to help your pass emissions test in Scottsdale, AZ.

Schedule emissions repair or give us a call at (480) 948-4781

Common BMW Problems

Common BMW Problems

While BMW’s are some of the finest vehicles around every manufacturer will have problems that are more common than others.  This post will talk about common BMW problems and solutions.  Some of these problems are common to just about every type of vehicle and others are more specific to the BMW brand.

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Top 5 Most Common BMW Problems

BMW’s don’t have a lot of problems, but when they do these are the top 5 most common problems.  The majority of these issues are usually inexpensive to have repaired and don’t take very long to do.  Depending on each of the issues and the reason there is a problem the cost of repairing these problems will vary as will the time needed to fix them.  Our team specializes in providing affordable repairs and quick turnaround to keep you moving.

Slow or Stuck Windows

The 3 Series of BMW is most prone to this problem.  Windows stop working many times because of a damaged or worn window regulator.  The window regulator is the system which uses electricity to power your windows to go up and down.  The most common problem is when the regulator clips break.

Wild Window Wipers & Electronics

Another common problem is window wipers with a mind of their own.  While automatic window wipers are great for sudden rain or snowstorms; window wipers that turn on by themselves can be distracting.  Other electronic systems such as the radio, indicators, heat seats and others are also possible problem areas.

Check Engine Lights

If your check engine light is on there is a good chance you need new injectors, ignition modules, or even a new clutch.  When BMW’s show a check engine light these are the most common reasons.  Most of these repairs are fairly reasonable in cost and won’t take terribly long to repair.

Remote Not Operating Locks

BMW remote key fobs not locking or unlocking the doors is another common problem.  This can be an issue with dead battery, broken fob, or the vehicle’s electronics needing adjustment.

Cracked Wheels

While any size wheel can crack the most common type that cracks on the BMW is the 19 inch alloys with run flat tires.  The alloy can crack if road hazards are hit at high speed such as potholes, curbs, or construction areas.  If this happens there is a chance of the alloy puncturing the tire.

BMW Reliability

BMW is frequently purchased due to its high reputation for quality and reliability.  According to Consumer Reports BMW ranks highly for reliability.  Reliability is a measure of how many repairs a vehicle will need within a timeframe. 80% of BMW’s score higher than the industry average in terms of reliability over the first 3 years of ownership.

While the BMW brand is higher than average across the board there are some models which have more problems than others.  Before purchasing a new or even used vehicle it is always advisable to research the particular model you’re interested in.  Some are built on tried and tested platforms and will be more reliable.  Other newer models such as iDrive will be new concepts that naturally will need some attention as the vehicle model develops and matures.

Choosing A BMW Repair Shop

If you’re searching for BMW repair in Scottsdale or Paradise Valley our team can help!  We specialize in the repair of BMWs and understand their systems and common problems intimately.  Having been in business for decades our experience is deep and our training up-to-date with all the newest models of BMW.