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Vehicle Emissions Testing in New Mexico

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In New Mexico, 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. In New Mexico the Inspection/Maintenance program consists of five parts:

  • The OBDII test which is done for vehicles manufactured after 1996.
  • The Tailpipe Exhaust Analysis for manufactured before 1995.
  • The Pollution Control Equipment test done by the Air Care Inspector.
  • The Visible emission/smoke test.
  • The Gas Cap Test.


A car, truck, motor home or RV (recreational vehicle) requires an emissions test when:

  1. It is a 1975 model or newer, registered in or commutes within the Bernalillo County and has a gross vehicle weight rating of 1,000 - 10,000 pounds.
  2. It is a 1975 -1986 model, and then it requires an annual inspection/test.
  3. It is a model manufactured later than 1986 then it is required to undergo the test every two years.
  4. Diesel vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles are required to pass a visible emissions or opacity test at the headquarters test station whenever ownership changes.


Emission tests are valid for 90 days. A valid test is required to reinstate a suspended registration and to complete an original vehicle registration or registration renewal. Used car dealers are required to issue a valid emissions test for any vehicle they sell. Getting an emissions test is the buyer's responsibility when the vehicle is purchased from a private owner.


A vehicle is exempt from emissions testing when:

  1. It is a 1975 model or older.
  2. New vehicles are now exempt for two registration cycles (up to 4 years).
  3. It is a motor home.
  4. Any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more.


Any Authorized Emissions Inspection Station certified by the Vehicle Pollution Management. It is conducted at nearly 120 Air Care Stations located in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, and Sandia Park. Some authorized auto dealers and auto shops also conduct vehicle inspection. Inspectors are also certified by the Vehicle Pollution Management.


The average cost of a test is between $15 and $20 at several Air Care stations.


If your vehicle fails the emissions test, you must have the vehicle repaired, after which it must pass the after repairs emissions test. The vehicle can be repaired at the station or elsewhere.
Re-inspections for failed vehicles are conducted at the Vehicle Pollution Management Headquarters from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday - Friday free of cost:

Vehicle Pollution Management Program

City of Albuquerque

1500 Broadway NE

Albuquerque, NM 87102

You can also call (505)764-1110 for more information.


  • If you are out of state, or if your vehicle is otherwise unavailable for inspection, a one-year time extension is given as soon as the affidavit of vehicle unavailability is submitted to Vehicle Pollution Management office.
  • A two year extension is given as soon as the original test results done in an authorised emission testing area near your location and affidavit of vehicle unavailability/out-of-station is submitted to Vehicle Pollution Management office. These must be signed by a Motor Vehicle Department agent, Law Enforcement Officer or Military/Campus Police as proof of vehicle unavailability. This can be mailed with your complete address and phone number or faxed to (505) 764-1101.

Vehicle Pollution Management Program

City of Albuquerque

1500 Broadway NE

Albuquerque, NM 87102

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