Emissions testing in Texas is required for all residents, both new and current. Current residents will need to complete a smog test prior to registering a new vehicle, while new residents will need to complete a test within 30 days of moving to Texas. The Texas smog check program requires some residents to only undergo emissions testing, while residents of other counties will need to undergo both safety and emissions tests.

In addition, a safety-based vehicle inspection is required for all residents prior to a registration renewal. To learn more about emissions testing and what laws apply to you and your vehicle, continue reading the sections below.

Texas Emissions and Smog Check Requirements

You must obtain your smog certification in Texas if you wish to renew your vehicle registration. To complete DMV emissions testing, you will need to visit a DPS-certified location in your community and bring the following:

  • The safety and emissions test fee
  • Proof of car insurance
  • A valid photo ID

Fees vary by location, so call your local inspection office ahead of time to find out exact pricing. Once your vehicle passes the emission test, you will be issued a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR). You can obtain this report up to 13 months before it is time to renew your registration.

Smog Check Exemptions in Texas

Smog checks do not need to be completed by the owners of certain types of vehicles or by the residents of certain counties. Unlike auto emissions testing, vehicle safety testing must be completed by all residents, regardless of the county they live in. Vehicle emissions testing is not required prior to the initial registration of brand new vehicles until they are two years old. Not including new vehicles, emissions testing is required for all gasoline-fueled vehicles on a yearly basis.

As for location, residents of certain areas in the following counties do not have to undergo an emissions test:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Houston-Galveston-Brazoria
  • El Paso
  • Austin-Round Rock

Out-of-State Emissions Testing in Texas

As a new resident, you must complete a car emission test within 30 days of moving to Texas. An out-of-state smog certificate will not exempt you from completing a test in Texas, so you will need to find an inspection station in your new community.

You must pass both a safety and emissions test before you are allowed to register your vehicle in the state. Drivers do not have to register diesel-powered vehicles, or brand new vehicles at the time of purchase.

Emissions Waivers in Texas

Your smog check certificate will indicate whether you have passed or failed your test. If your vehicle did not meet the minimum emissions requirements, you will need to have your vehicle repaired to meet state standards and undergo a subsequent test.

If you need assistance repairing your vehicle to meet state emission standards, the Repair Assistance program may provide you with funds in the form of a waiver. Funds from this program will only be accepted at certain certified emission repair facilities, so you will need to find one in your community.

Testing Fees in Texas

Before or after your emissions inspection in Texas, you will need to undergo a safety inspection. The inspection fee is nominal, and you must provide payment at the time of the inspection. If your vehicle inspection is successful, you will receive a document that will allow you to renew your registration in person or online. You will also be issued a windshield sticker stating that your vehicle meets the state safety standards.

Most safety inspection locations do not require you to present your current registration, but depending on the area you reside in, you may want to bring it just in case. If you do not pass the vehicle inspection, you will need to have your car repaired and re-inspected.

Where to Perform an Emissions Check in Texas

You may undergo DMV emissions testing in Texas at any location that has been recognized by the Department of Safety. If you need help finding a smog check station in your community, you can use the official state DOS website. If you fail your safety or emissions test, you may also be able to have your vehicle repaired at these sights.

Failing a Texas Smog and Emissions Test

If you fail your TX smog check, there are other options available to you. Through the vehicle inspection program, the state aims to keep high-polluting vehicles off the roadways, and if you elect to replace your polluting vehicle with a cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicle, the state may be willing to put up to $3,500 towards the payment of your new car. The program is known as Drive a Clean Machine, and it is overseen by the AirCheck Texas agency.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.