Car Inspection in New Mexico

SUMMARY: New Mexico Emissions Tests

New Mexico requires only eligible vehicles registered or operated over 60 days a year in Bernalillo County to complete emissions inspections every 2 years, or upon ownership transfer. In addition to any required emissions tests, new residents are also required to bring their vehicles for VIN inspections.

New Mexico requires certain vehicles in the Bernalillo County area to undergo emissions inspections. Keep reading for requirements and exemptions, as well as testing procedures.

New Residents to New Mexico

You must complete the following inspections prior to vehicle registration:

* Some MVD locations perform VIN inspections (be sure to call ahead for appointments and other details); otherwise, you can choose from among a list of certified VIN inspectors.

Inspection Requirements & Exemptions in New Mexico

Inspection Requirements

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 1989 and newer weighing up to 10,000 lbs.
  • 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.

Inspection Exemptions

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 1989
  • Vehicles weighing 10,001 lbs or more.
  • Diesel-powered vehicles.
  • 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.

How to Get 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.

What if You Fail the NM Vehicle Inspection?

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.

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