Smog & Emission Checks in Nevada
Nevada legislators are concerned about air quality. While much of the state is free from excessive smog and congestion, the urban areas located in Clark and Washoe counties are subject to strict emission testing requirements for most vehicles.
Depending on where you live and what type of vehicle you drive, you may need an emission test before registering or renewing your vehicle's registration. Your renewal notice will notify you when and if an emission test is required.
Most new vehicles do not need a test until the third registration year. If you buy a used car, most dealers will give you a current emission test verification with all your other paperwork. In private sales, the emission test on a used car will be your responsibility.
Your vehicle will need to be tested if at least one of the following conditions apply:
- You drive mainly in the urban areas of Clark or Washoe counties.
- Your vehicle is gasoline powered, or diesel powered with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) up to 14,000 pounds.
- Your vehicle is a 1968 model or newer.
If one of the above conditions applies, your vehicle will require testing unless one of the following is true:
- Your vehicle is brand-new and on its first or second registration.
- Your vehicle is a motorcycle or moped.
- Your vehicle is an alternative-fuel model.
- Your vehicle is registered as a Classic Vehicle/Classic Rod and is driven fewer than 2,500 miles per year.
Classic Vehicle and Classic Rod Status
Check out the DMV-prepared fact sheet relating to Classic Vehicle and Classic Rod status for your car.
To renew registration on these vehicles, fill out the Restored Vehicle Odometer Certification for Emission Exemption and bring it with your other required paperwork to your nearest DMV office. You'll also need to complete the Classic Vehicle License Plate Application or Classic Rod License Plate Application, whichever applies.
Any state-authorized emission test center offers the same standard of testing. Authorized stations can be recognized because they display the official sign from the DMV. These stations are also required to post testing requirements and fees.
If you have a diesel vehicle, please call your area Emissions Lab for participating stations, because not all stations test those vehicles.
When your vehicle passes the emission test, you are then free to register the car or renew registration. Submit the emission certification as part of your paperwork.
Nevada residents temporarily living outside the state who need to have the emission test conducted in order to renew their registration may complete the Emission Control Residency Affidavit. If you're staying in a state that requires emission testing, you'll need to have your vehicle inspected in that state. This will take care of your Nevada emission inspection requirement for the next year.
After completing the affidavit, mail it along with your registration renewal form, the emission certificate from the state (if applicable), and a check or money order for your fees to:
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Central Services and Records Division
- Registration Renewal By Mail
- 555 Wright Way
- Carson City, NV 89711-0700
If the state you're in does not require emission testing, then you'll need to have your vehicle tested within 10 days of your return to Nevada.
Any questions? Call the Compliance Enforcement Division at (775) 684-4790.
Cars can fail the test for many reasons. Usually the emission test technician can let you know what sort of repair work needs to be done on your car to bring it up to passing condition, but you are in no way obligated to have the repairs done at that station.
Many emission testing centers offer "no-pass, no-pay" deals, which can be a bonus if your vehicle has problems.
If you've made the recommended repairs, and your vehicle fails the test again, you may have the option of obtaining a waiver.
Washoe County Waiver Requirements
To receive a waiver in Washoe County, you'll need to show proof that you spent at least $200 on parts (not including catalytic converter, fuel inlet restrictor, or air-injection system) or labor that was directly related to the problems causing the emission test failure. If the work was done by professionals, they must be an authorized service center.
If you repaired the vehicle yourself, you can show proof that you spent at least $200 on parts (not including the parts listed above) to repair failure-related problems within 14 days of the date of your original test.
Clark County Waiver Requirements
To receive a waiver in Clark County, you'll need to show proof that you spent at least $450 on parts (not including catalytic converter, fuel inlet restrictor, or air-injection system) or labor that was directly related to the problems causing the emission test failure. If the work was done by professionals, they must be an authorized service center.
Repairs at any other location (including your home) will not be acceptable to receive a waiver, no matter how much you spent for the work.
In addition, waivers will not be given to smoking vehicles or vehicles still under warranty.
Getting the Waiver
If you meet the individual cost limits set by the applicable county, and your vehicle still fails the emission test, bring both fail certificates and proof of repair work and costs to your nearest Emissions Lab for a waiver.
Smoking vehicles are vehicles that emit smoke from the tailpipe or hood. Smoking is an obvious sign of emission-related problems that need to be taken care of. If your car is smoking, you will be required to get it repaired, no matter what the cost, if you live in Clark County.
If you see a vehicle that is smoking, the Nevada Department of Air Quality Management would like you to report the vehicle so the owner will be compelled to make necessary repairs. You can call the hotline or even report the vehicle online (make a note of the vehicle license plate, make, and model, if possible).
When a smoking vehicle is reported, the owner will receive a letter requesting a visit to the nearest Emissions Lab for testing. They can also be cited for excessive vehicle smoke, so obviously the state is serious about this problem.
Find helpful hints and smoke-free suggestions in the following DMV-prepared tip sheets:
Emission requirements for vehicles might seem like a lot of trouble to go to, but there's a lot of science to back up the need for smog checks on cars. Read more about how to preserve Nevada's healthy air quality:Local Smog Check Stations
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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