Colorado Emission Test Guide

No one likes to go to the DMV, in fact some people would rather get in a fender bender, than have to deal with the DMV.

I don’t know these things about my car, and I don’t know what you’re testing on my car, it is an inconvenience and I’d rather just not do it.

But, I got served this piece of paper that says I need to go to an emission station, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen, and then do a bunch of other things.

Now that we’ve established this whole process to be a nuisance, I have created this beautiful guide to get it done, and even an option to avoid it for the future all together.

I’m not going to tell you what an emission check is for, because it doesn’t matter, you have to do it.


1. Will Your Car Qualify for an Emission Testing?

Your car must be in a basic drivable state in order to be admitted for emission testing in the first place.

Below are some of the basic checks:

-Any dashboard lights being illuminated

-Unable to open the driver’s door

-Unable to use the brakes on your car, or improper tired

-Transmission problems causing your car to be unsafe on the road

2. Do you Need an Emission Check?

YES – If you have received a statement from your county stating that your vehicle is due for an emission test, you must go get one to register your vehicle.

NO – Your vehicle is less than 4 years old

NO – Your vehicle is a hybrid or electric vehicle, exempt from emission testing

NO – Your vehicle is a motorcycle

YES – Collector vehicles since April 2013 now are required to undergo emission testing

3. Find an Emission Station

Colorado is primarily served by Air Care Colorado – it has been my experience that they are the fastest and most clean locations that will get you in, out, and on your way back to life.

Diesel Station –

4. Cost of an Emission Check

You must pay with cash at all emission stations

$25 for vehicles 32 years old and newer

$15 for vehicles 33+ years old

Upon completing the emission check, you will immediately know if you passed or not.

5. VIN Inspections

VIN inspections will happen at every emission center. It ties your car with its status, so if you fail the emission test, it will be notified and registered via your VIN# to the local Colorado DMV.

6. Results of the Emission Test

Passed – Congratulations, go get your car renewed!

Failed – There’s plenty of things you can do now. The first thing to do is to determine what is specifically wrong with your vehicle. If you fail, the emission testing agent will tell you what area your car failed on. Based on knowing the problem you can then find the right solution.

Take your results from the emission station to the repair facility, and they will write on the back of the form what repairs have been made to your car. If you retest within 10 days, your retest at the emission station is free.

Make sure that the mechanic you are taking your car to have dealt with emission repairs, ask them if they are certified and what their emission effectiveness repair score is?

I hope that this guide has helped you get what you need to know, and get your car registered. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below, give us a call 1-877-79-AAMCO, Ask a Mechanic or add us on Twitter @aamcocolorado