Car Inspection in 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*.
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 35 model years old or older.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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