Car Inspection in New Mexico
New Residents to New Mexico
You must complete the following inspections prior to vehicle registration:
- An emissions test, if applicable (see Inspection Requirements & Exemptions below).
- A vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection*.
Inspection Requirements & Exemptions
The following vehicles registered or frequently driven in Bernalillo County* must undergo emissions inspections prior to registration and then again every 2 years AND at change of ownership:
- Model year 1980 and newer weighing up to 10,000 lbs.
- Diesel-powered vehicles model year 1998 and newer.
- Vehicles older than 4 model years old operated or otherwise present in Bernalillo County for at least 60 days annually, even if they're registered in another county.
* Check the state's page on emissions testing to see whether your ZIP code requires a smog check.
The following vehicles are exempt from emissions testing:
- Any vehicle not registered in Bernalillo County UNLESS that vehicle is present in Bernalillo County for at least 60 days annually.
- After initial registration, all new vehicles for 4 model years from the date on the Manufacture's Certificate of Origin (MCO).
- Vehicles manufactured before 1982
- Vehicles weighing 10,001 lbs. or more.
- Vehicles powered solely by electricity.
- Previously exempted electric hybrid vehicles UNTIL a time of ownership change.
- Vehicles fueled by a gasoline and oil mixture.
- Vehicles sold among licensed dealers.
- Vehicles leased OUTSIDE Bernalillo County, even if the leasing company is located in Bernalillo County (unless otherwise stated).
- Legally sanctioned competition vehicles not operated on public roadways.
- Road machinery or implements of husbandry not operated on public roadways.
- Any other vehicle not operated on public roadways AFTER providing proof from the program manager.
Completing a NM Vehicle Inspection
To have your New Mexico emissions test completed, bring your vehicle to an emissions testing location; call ahead for fees and any required documentation, as they vary by location.
Once your vehicle passes its emissions test, you'll receive an Emission Certificate of Inspection to use for:
- Initial registration.
- Registration renewal, if your renewal schedule coincides with the testing schedule.
- Ownership transfer.
Out-of-State Emissions Testing
If your vehicle is out of state at the time of emissions testing, you can:
- Have it tested where you're located, if the area provides emissions testing services.
- Apply for a waiver with the MVD.
Learn more at the county website's section on out-of-state vehicle inspections.
Failed Vehicle Inspections
You must have your vehicle repaired and retested; however, the county makes certain allowances for situations such as:
- Retesting fees.
- Repair costs.
- Refunds for improperly tested vehicles.
Learn more at the county website's page on vehicle re-inspections.
About the NM Vehicle Emissions Program
The NM emissions testing program consists of several parts. Your vehicle will undergo:
- Second-generation on-board diagnostic (OBD II) testing to check that all emissions components are working properly.
- A tailpipe exhaust analysis to measure emissions of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon.
- A check of the pollution control equipment to make sure equipment is properly installed and connected.
- A visible emissions check for smoke from the tailpipe.
- A gas cap pressure check to make sure the gas cap has a tight enough seal.
New Mexico Incentives for Eco-Friendly Driving
As mentioned above, vehicles powered exclusively by electricity are exempt from emissions testing.
Find out more about how New Mexico motorists can benefit from practicing eco-friendly driving habits at our page on green driver incentives.