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Vehicle Emissions Testing in Colorado

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In Colorado, a vehicle emissions test is required for many original registrations, as well as for annual registration renewals. Renewal notices are sent annually to vehicle owners, and indicate whether and by what date an emissions test must be completed. Vehicle ownership change also requires a new emission test certificate.


In Colorado, the Emissions Program is comprised of two kinds of tests depending on the county the vehicle is located in:

  1. Enhanced Area tests need to be conducted for vehicles in the counties of Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, and parts of counties of Adams and Arapahoe.
    • An Enhanced Emissions Test (I/M 240) is conducted for 1982 and newer vehicles that are gasoline-powered passenger vehicles and light trucks at an Air Care Colorado every two years.
    • Vehicles manufactured in 1981 and before and powered by gasoline require a two-speed idle test.
  2. Basic area tests are performed in the counties of Weld, Larimer, and El Paso.

If you are unsure of your county's requirements for emission testing, you can contact the local Title and Registration Office.


Emission tests are valid for one year for vehicles manufactured in 1981 and older. 1982 and newer vehicles have a validity for two years.


A vehicle is exempt from emissions testing if:

  1. It is a new gas-powered vehicle in which case it is exempt for four years.
  2. It is registered in any of the categories of horseless carriage, street rod, and farm
  3. It is an electric powered vehicle
  4. It is a motorcycle
  5. It is a two-stroke powered engine manufactured prior to 1980


There are several Air Care Colorado Testing Centers where tests are conducted. Basic tests are done at full-service gas facility centers, oil change facilities and dealerships. Diesel vehicles are not tested at Air Care Colorado Testing Centers and can be tested at Licensed Diesel Emission Testing Stations.


The fee is $25 for 1982 and newer vehicles, and $15 for 1981 and older vehicles. Cash or check may be used for payment. Credit cards are not accepted.


If your vehicle fails the emissions test, you must have the vehicle repaired, after which it must pass the after repairs emissions test.
If your vehicle is unable to meet the emissions standard following the necessary repair work, you may be able to obtain a waiver issued by DMV if you provide proof of expenses. Depending on the age of the vehicle, the DMV has set different rates of expenses.
You can call the DMV customer service staff at (303) 205-5603 to get further details. If you reside in the Colorado Springs area call (719) 594-8709, and if you are a resident of Larimer County and Weld County area, you can call (970) 494-9808.


  • If you are out of state, or military personnel, you can request emission extension by completing an Application for an Affidavit for Emissions Extension.
  • If you have any emission related questions or concerns, you can contact the Emissions section of the DMV at (303) 205 5603 or at their office:
    Department of Revenue
    Division of Motor Vehicles
    1881 Pierce Street, Room 128
    Lakewood, CO 80214    
  • See also Vehicle History Reports.
Submitted by edmondskl on 6th Feb 2015

but don't call them at 4:52

but don't call them at 4:52 on a'll get the after business hours message:(

Submitted by parseman on 23rd Dec 2014

Intersting hustle. I have an

Intersting hustle.

I have an emissions test from previous seller less than three months old, car passed fine (model year 1991).

I went in the day after purchase for a test to get registration, car passed fine except for the gas cap. No big deal, $10 part. Fixed during lunch break.

I go in after work (<8 hours later) for my free retest, failed for HCO emissions (which read 75% higher on this test than the previous two tests).

At this point staff started pushing list of repair shops/mechanics, which I'm sure was "fairly" selected. I'll be retesting somewhere else (and forking over another $25). Should be noted that on the second test they reset the computer between the previous customer and my car; I could see it from the waiting area.

I wonder if there is any real oversight in these places? Unfortunately, it's not like there's a way around them, so I guess I'm stuck.

Submitted by tucci on 9th Sep 2014

Is there motorcycle emissions

Is there motorcycle emissions requirements in Colorado?

Submitted by applecreeker (not verified) on 27th Mar 2013

I went to the Boulder, CO

I went to the Boulder, CO testing station and the ambient air in the facility was ABOVE the accepted level of air pollutants Before the test began! There were five or six cars waiting at idle and the process was slowed by people being in the wrong lane for testing. Several employees were standing around smoking as well. What a joke of a system! We spend extra time and money to test newer cars and add to the air pollution by waiting in line and pouring more exhaust emissions into the atmosphere than if we were driving to our destinations.

Submitted by psiracus (not verified) on 5th Dec 2012

just had my 13 year old car

just had my 13 year old car inspected and was rejected by the fact that I had the wrong gas cap. This is the same gas cap that had been on the car every year since I bought the damn thing and went through inspections every other year since and the gas cap is just now a problem at the same? This is assinine.

Submitted by Oppressed and pissed (not verified) on 17th Nov 2011

I have an emission exempt

I have an emission exempt 2007 vehicle, that is why I bought it. They recently changed the laws (obviously) and now expect me to PAY. Don't sit back and let them oppress you too!! This is rediculous and it is all about greed. Are you getting all of the government you are paying for? We have the right to revolt against corrupt government and oppression. Don't push us assholes!

Submitted by Layback and Take it (not verified) on 13th Apr 2012

Revolt is not the answer

Revolt is not the answer Grasshopper. Get off your whining arse and work within the system to vote out the greedy Demoncrats and wimpy Republicans and put some good Tea-Partiers in office.