Car Inspection in New Mexico
New Mexico Emission Testing
If you live in Albuquerque or the surrounding county of Bernalillo, the information on this page will be relevant to you.
Albuquerque and Bernalillo have instituted an emissions program which you must comply with in order to have your vehicle registered. It is the only neck of the woods in New Mexico that requires any sort of smog testing. Thus, anyone living and commuting in the greater metropolitan area and the county will need to have their vehicle checked (or get an exemption) before registering it.
Even if you're not a resident of these counties, you must still have your vehicle pass an emissions inspection if it is driven in the area for 60 days or more in a year.
On this page, you'll find an overview of the New Mexico emissions testing program.
If you live in or commute to Bernalillo county, your vehicle must pass an emissions test every 2 years to renew your registration. Additionally, vehicles in the testing area must pass an emissions inspection upon any change of ownership.
All gasoline-powered vehicles with a model year of 1980 or newer and weighing up to 10,000 lbs. are subject to the emissions test.
All diesel-powered vehicles with a model year 1998 or newer must also pass an emissions inspection.
The following vehicles are exempt from the New Mexico emissions testing requirement:
- New vehicles for 4 years from the initial registration with the manufacturer's certificate of origin.
- Vehicles that are powered by a gas and oil mixture.
- Vehicles designed for off-highway use.
- Farm vehicles.
- Vehicles that are 35 years old and older.
- Vehicles that are 10,000 lbs. or more.
- Electric vehicles.
- Hybrid vehicles that were already exempt until there is a change in ownership.
What is Tested?
The actual test assesses the following elements on the vehicle:
- Smoke puffing from the tailpipe or other areas of the automobile.
- The effectiveness of the catalytic converter, which is the essential module in controlling pollution.
- A computerized gas analysis measured via the exhaust pipe while the vehicle is idling and at high speed.
Where to Get Tested and What to Pay
There are more than 100 locations spread out across the metropolitan area; these range from mom-and-pops to mega-chains like Jiffy Lube. Authorized testing locations will have and "Air Care Station" sign displayed at their facility.
The cost for the services varies by business, but tests typically range from $15 to $25.
If your vehicle fails the emissions test, you are eligible for a free re-inspection at the Vehicle Pollution Management office facility within 90 days of your failed test, after you have attempted to make the adequate repairs.
If your vehicle needs major repairs that exceed $300, you may be eligible for an emissions test extension and a registration that is valid for 1 year (60 days if your vehicle is classified as a smoking or gross-polluting vehicle).
To apply for an emissions test time extension, you'll need to visit the Vehicle Pollution Management office and provide:
Local Smog Check Stations
- Your failed emissions test documents.
- Your vehicle.
- Your repair receipts or written repair estimates from a licensed emissions testing repair shop.
- Your proof of ownership.
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