Car Inspection in Idaho
The Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) works with the state's Department of Environmental Equality to regulate emissions control in Idaho. Read on for information about required emissions testing, when and how to have your vehicle tested, and more.
New Idaho Residents
After becoming an Idaho resident, you have 90 days to register your vehicle; after vehicle registration (and if your vehicle qualifies), you'll receive notice that your vehicle must undergo an emissions inspection.
Inspection Requirements & Exemptions
Eligible Idaho vehicles registered in Ada County, Canyon County and the city of Kuna must undergo emissions inspections every 2 years.
These vehicles include:
- Gasoline-powered vehicles model year 1981 and newer.
- Diesel-powered vehicles over 5 model years old.
The following vehicles are exempt from emissions testing in Idaho:
- Vehicles under 5 model years old.
- Vehicles older than model year 1981.
- Hybrid and electric vehicles.
- Vehicles weighing under 1,500 lbs.
- Motor homes.
- Classic vehicles.
- Farm equipment that is motorized.
- Vehicles used solely for agriculture purposes.
If your vehicle qualifies, you must apply for an exemption:
- Complete the Application for Exemption Application.
- Gather the appropriate supporting documents (listed on the application).
- Send the above to the address or e-mail listed on the form.
Completing an ID Emissions Test
After you register your vehicle or renew your registration, you'll receive notice* to have your vehicle's emissions tested. You can also check whether it's time for an emissions test using the state's test lookup tool.
Once it's time for an emissions test, bring your vehicle to an official Idaho testing station with the $11 fee and any applicable paperwork and identification (call ahead, as this may vary by station).
When your vehicle passes, you'll receive a Vehicle Inspection Report; your technician will advise you on how to proceed from there.
* NOTE: The 1st notice details where and by what date you should have your vehicle tested. The 2nd notice arrives only if you fail to have your vehicle tested within that time. After you receive the 2nd notice, and final notice, you have 35 days to have your vehicle tested; after that, your registration will be revoked.
You might apply for an emissions test extension if your vehicle is located outside of the Idaho emissions testing area at the time a test is required*. Such circumstances include, but aren't limited to:
- Active-duty military personnel.
- Out-of-state students.
- Business purposes.
To apply for an extension, complete the Extension Application and mail or e-mail it, along with any supporting documentation, to the addresses listed on the form.
* NOTE: You won't be eligible if your vehicle is located in a state and/or county that has emissions testing reciprocity with Idaho. See “Out-of-State Reciprocity" below.
Idaho has emissions testing reciprocity with various states and counties across the country.
If your vehicle is out of state at the time of testing but located in one of the eligible states and/or counties, you must apply for reciprocity and have your vehicle tested in that area.
Check the Application for Reciprocity for the state and county in which your vehicle is located; then, if applicable, complete the form and mail it along with all required documentation to the mailing or email address listed on the form.
Failed Vehicle Inspections
If your vehicle fails its Idaho emissions test, you must have it repaired and retested.* Your emissions testing technician will provide information about why your vehicle failed and the necessary repairs.
You're allowed 1 retest for free if you bring the vehicle to the same station within 30 days of the original emissions test.
* NOTE: You may be eligible for a repair waiver or a hardship waiver, depending on your circumstances. Please see “Applying for a Waiver" below for details.
Applying for a Waiver
Idaho offers the following waivers:
- Repair Waiver: Available if—
- Your vehicle failed the initial emissions test;
- You made all necessary repairs costing at least $200 within 60 days;
- The vehicle then failed all subsequent tests.
- A repair waiver is granted for 1 year from the original test date IF all conditions are met.
- Hardship Waiver:
- Available on a case-by-case basis if your financial circumstances are such that repair and retesting are not possible.
- Requires financial documentation such as tax returns, proof of unemployment, or proof of government assistance.
Download the applicable document for full details and application instructions.
About the ID Emissions Inspection Program
All vehicles' gas caps are checked for leaks:
- Model year 1995 and older: The technician removes the gas cap and checks that it seals properly.
- Model year 1996 and newer: The OBD test (see below) automatically checks that the gas cap functions properly.
- Model years 1981 to 1995: Receive a two-speed idle (TSI) test that checks whether the vehicle's exhaust meets standards.
- Model year 1996 and newer: Receive an on-board diagnostic (OBD) test that attaches testing equipment to the vehicle's computer system to check that all emissions components are properly operating.
Depending on the model year, diesel-powered vehicles receive either the OBD test (see above) or a snap acceleration test that checks the exhaust pipe with a smoke meter.
Idaho Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving
As mentioned above, certain eco-friendly vehicles such as hybrids and electric vehicles are exempt from emissions testing.
For more information about the perks of driving green, including possible auto insurance discounts and tax incentives, visit our page on green driver incentives.