Oregon vehicle inspection requirements are outlined by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as a way to ensure that vehicles on the road minimize their impact on the environment. Typically performed every 2 years, routine emissions inspections are required in certain metropolitan areas of the state prior to obtaining or renewing a vehicle registration from the Oregon DMV. Learn more about OR DMV emissions testing, including what to do if your vehicle fails the initial inspection, by reviewing the information below.

Oregon Emissions and Smog Check Requirements

Vehicle emissions testing is required for most vehicles driven in Portland, Medford and their surrounding areas. If you are unsure whether your address falls into one of the required emissions inspection zones, call the DEQ at (877) 476-0583 or use the inspection boundary lookup tool online. The types of vehicles that must receive a smog certification vary by location.

In Portland, all gasoline-powered vehicles built in 1975 and later, including cars, trucks, vans, motor homes and buses, must receive an emissions test if registered within the Portland testing boundaries. All diesel-powered vehicles built after 1974 need regular emissions testing if they have a manufacturer’s gross weight rating of 8,500 pounds or less. This includes all passenger cars and most light-duty trucks. Hybrids and vehicles powered by alternative fuels must also be tested if registered in Portland.

Within the DEQ Medford area boundaries, an emissions test is required on all cars, trucks, vans motor homes and buses manufactured in the last 20 years that are powered by gasoline or alternative fuels. Smog checks are also required for hybrid vehicles built in the past 20 years. Diesel-powered light-duty trucks and passenger cars that fall under this category must obtain an inspection if they have a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds or less.

In Portland and Medford, emissions testing procedures are similar. A tailpipe emissions test is performed on vehicles model year 1995 or older. This involves inserting a probe into the tailpipe to measure the number of pollutants in the car’s exhaust. Vehicles built in 1996 and later will have an Onboard Diagnostic (OBD) system car inspection. This DMV smog check involves a data exchange between the car’s computer and the technician’s computer and shows if emissions systems are working correctly in a vehicle.

Oregon DEQ Clean Air Stations conveniently offer drivers the ability to complete emissions testing, renew vehicle registration and receive DMV tags all in one visit. If you plan to utilize this service, bring your car registration renewal documents along with your payment for the smog check and registration fees due.

Smog Check Exemptions in Oregon

Oregon smog check exemptions are granted to all vehicles registered outside of the DEQ testing boundaries. Other vehicles exempt from inspections include heavy-duty diesel vehicles, motorcycles and low-speed vehicles (such as golf carts, mopeds and RVs).

DEQ does not require vehicle inspections on newer model year vehicles because their lower mileage and newer components usually do not pose a negative impact on the environment. Vehicles exempt from testing due to recent manufacturing are those built within the last 3 years.

Out-of-State Emissions Testing in Oregon

If you need have your vehicle inspected for registration purposes but you and your vehicle are out-of-state, you must contact the DEQ Vehicle Inspection Program and explain your situation. Call (877) 476-0583 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Emissions Waivers in Oregon

DEQ vehicle emissions testing in OR does not issue emissions waivers for any reason. Oregon protects air quality more than most states by eliminating the smog test waiver option and requiring all vehicles within DEQ area boundaries to obtain emissions system repairs before renewing registration. The state offers financial assistance for vehicle inspection failure-related repairs through its Clean Air Partners Program, described below.

Testing Fees in Oregon

The emission test cost in Oregon varies by testing location. In Portland, you are charged $21 once your vehicle passes the inspection. In Medford, the emissions test only costs $10, also payable only after the vehicle passes the test.

In either location, there is no charge for failing test results. DEQ Clean Air Stations accept cash, money orders, Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit and debit cards.

Where to Perform an Emissions Check in Oregon

There are six Clean Air Stations offering emissions testing in the Portland area. Most are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Wednesdays, they remain open for testing until 7 p.m.

In Medford, vehicle inspections are offered at just one Clean Air Station, located at 3030 Biddle Road. Smog checks are available in Medford Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Most Clean Air Stations also offer self-service kiosks that enable drivers to conduct their own inspection via a plug-in cable and DEQ touch-screen computer.

Failing an Oregon Smog and Emissions Test

The DEQ conducts approximately one million emissions tests in Oregon annually, and of those, approximately 6 percent fail. Many times, this is due to a simple issue, such as a loose gas cap or a faulty “check engine” light. Occasionally, vehicles fail emissions testing for more serious system problems and require repairs before retesting.

Anyone may make these repairs, as the state does not require repairs to be completed by a certified mechanic. Low-income residents in the Portland area whose vehicles have failed inspection but cannot afford the repairs can participate in the Clean Air Partners Program. Call (971) 673-1630 for more information.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.