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Vehicle Emissions Testing in Texas

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All vehicles registered in Texas have to undergo an annual inspection which is required for first-time registrations. This includes a comprehensive safety inspection and in some counties may also include an emissions test. The emissions testing program in Texas is called Air Check Texas.


The following vehicles need to undergo emissions testing:

  1. The rules for emissions testing are different in different counties. The following counties require vehicles to undergo emissions testing: Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Montgomery, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, Travis, Williamson and El Paso counties.
  2. All gasoline powered vehicles need to undergo emissions testing.
  3. All vehicles from 2 through 24 years old need to carry out emissions testing. Even upon expiration of the 2 year initial inspection sticker the test needs to be conducted.


Emissions tests, where required, are carried out during the annual inspection. These tests are valid for a period of one year.


The following types of motor vehicles are exempt from emissions testing during annual inspections:

  1. Road-Building Equipment.
  2. Farm Machinery.
  3. Trailers, semitrailers, pole trailers and mobile homes with a registered gross weight of 4,500 pounds or less.
  4. Any vehicle that is required to display a Slow-Moving Vehicle emblem.
  5. Any vehicle with a special license such as a parade license, in-transit license, machinery license, disaster license, farm trailer license, permit license, antique license, charitable organization tag or ATV validation sticker.
  6. A vehicle with a Texas permit such as a factory delivery permit, prorate tab, one-trip permit or temporary permit.
  7. Mobile drilling and servicing equipment used in gas, oil, or crude production with a 72 hour or 144 hour permit.


Any Authorized Inspection Station licensed by the State can test your vehicle. Look for the official sign issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety to authorized testing stations.


The emissions testing fees vary from county to county. The maximum fee that you should expect to pay is $40. For more details of the emissions testing fees click here.


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 any of the recognized emissions repair facilities or any other repair shop of your choice. The advantage of using a recognized emissions repair facility is that all costs of labor and parts count towards the total that you are required to spend in case you have to go for an emissions test waiver.
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 the Texas Department of Public Safety. A waiver can be issued if you can prove that your vehicular usage is minimal, or if your vehicle emission levels are low, or if the cost of meeting the emission standards are too high. You can even request more time to carry out the necessary repairs. Cars older than 24 years are considered antiques and are exempt from the emissions test. For more information on emissions test waivers click here.


  • If you are out of state and your annual inspection is due, you will have to comply with the laws of the state you are in.
  • Vehicles from other states that are plying in Texas and are due for an annual inspection will have to comply with the inspection regulations for the state of Texas.
  • See also Vehicle History Reports.

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