to open at 8 a.m.
Tues., Dec. 10.
may be limited early
until very low
We appreciate your
patience and understanding.
Vehicle emissions testing is part of the State of Colorado's overall strategy to improve air quality in and around Denver, Boulder and the North Front Range. Vehicles are one of the largest contributors to harmful air pollution that leads to adverse health effects. The testing program is designed to reduce those pollutants including harmful ozone emissions. To find the answers to specific questions choose from the menus above, or visit our search our site.
HOURS: Mon. to Fri. 8 am to 5:30 pm & Sat. 8 am to 1 pm
PAYMENT: Cash or check only. 1982 & newer: $25 1981 & older $15
(Please, NO temporary checks or checks with address different from ID.)
NO CREDIT CARDS accepted.
**Electric & hybrid electric vehciles are exempt from testing.
When the weather outside is frightful…it’s tempting to let your car run for a few minutes in the morning so it’s nice and toasty warm when you climb in for the morning commute. However, idling is not only bad for your car’s components and fuel economy, winter temperatures also cause extra harmful pollutants to be released into the air.
According to a study from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, in 14-degree weather a car will take 12 minutes to reach an ideal operating temperature while driving, but 30 minutes to reach this temperature while idling. This study debunks the myth that it’s necessary to let your vehicle “warm up” before driving. In reality, driving is much more effective to warm up the engine, and in fact works about twice as fast as idling.
Idling is linked to harmful emissions, since the fuel doesn’t fully combust when idling, and, equally important to reducing emissions in the winter, is the rate at which your catalytic converter gets warm. The catalytic converter adds oxygen to exhaust emissions before they ever leave your tail pipe. The idea is to add enough oxygen to absorb the fuel in the air. This is called the stoichiometric point, or the point at which all the fuel will be burned using all the oxygen in the air. For gasoline, the ratio is about 15:1, meaning for every pound of gasoline, about 15 pounds of air will be burned. At optimal operating temperature, today’s catalytic converters eliminate up to 97% of pollution.
In very cold temperatures, the catalytic converter is essentially useless. It needs to be warmed up before it begins working; the quicker a car warms up, the quicker the converter will begin reducing the amount of emissions produced. Before this ideal temperature is reached, 20 percent more carbon dioxide, nitrogen and other harmful pollutants will be emitted into the environment.
Block heaters can be used to heat a car’s catalytic converter prior to driving, but most regular 12-volt electrical systems would take longer than drivers are willing to wait to reach an appropriate temperature. Hybrid cars, however, are equipped with a much larger battery and could warm up the catalytic converter in as little as 30 seconds.
If this isn’t reason enough to limit your idling in frosty temperatures, consider this: when starting your car, the oil that lubricates each moving part needs to warm up. In low temperatures, this oil is thick as it begins to flow, causing your engine to work harder to overcome this internal friction. Frigid temperatures during the winter mean your car is going to take longer to warm up and will work harder getting there. 20-30 seconds of idling is sufficient to get oil flowing, even in extremely low temperatures; after this point it is more economical to begin driving to expedite the rate at which your vehicle heats. Keep in mind, the temperature you feel in the driver’s seat is not reflective of the engine’s temperature.
The Environmental Protection Agency warns to drive slowly for the first few miles, since it does still take some time for your car to fully warm up, even while driving. Our best advice – dress warmly and in layers when you get into your car. As the vehicle warms up, you can peel off layers and get comfortable for the drive ahead.
We all share the air, so what can we do to keep our air clean? Create a picture that shows simple steps that we can all take to help keep the Front Ranges’ air clean and you could win a new bike for yourself and $1,000 for your school. Winning entries will be featured at Envirotest – Air Care Colorado stations along the Front Range, and you will have the chance to record a clean air message to be heard on Radio Disney this fall.
Envirotest - Air Care Colorado, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Regional Air Quality Council, the American Lung Association of Colorado and National Jewish Health have teamed up to launch the “Kids 4 Clean Air Colorado” poster contest. The contest will help kids learn about and teach their friends and family how they can all do their part to help keep the air clean and protect it for the future!
Kids here’s where we need your help, and where you can help your school! Kids 4 Clean Air Colorado is holding a poster contest for all kids in first to eighth grade. There will be four winners, one in each group, and these winners will receive a bicycle for themselves and a $1,000 grant for an environmental initiative at their school! The poster themes are separated as follows:
1st to 2nd Grade: Put a Cap On Ozone –
Broken or missing gas caps can allow up to 30 gallons of gasoline to evaporate per year. These stinky fumes can create harmful ozone that can make your lungs burn. Help demonstrate how we can put a cap on these gross ozone gasses and make our environment more fun outside!
3rd Grade to 4th Grade: Stop at the Click! –
If you help out by filling the family car with gas, you might be tempted to put just a little extra in after the gas pump clicks off, or you might see your mom or dad do this. Don’t. It’s bad for the car and bad for the air. Learn why you should not overfill a car’s gas tank and illustrate your ideas to remind people to Stop at the Click!
5th to 6th Grade: Engines Off! -
When your parents are waiting to pick you up from school or soccer practice, leaving their car running creates nasty pollution, as well as wastes their gas. In order to help our environment and save your parents some money, teach them to turn off their car during long waiting periods. Help show how we can demonstrate the benefits of turning your car off when going nowhere!
7th Grade to 8th Grade: Maintenance Matters –
Keeping up with your car maintenance is not only important to keeping your car running, but also to protecting our air. Encouraging your parents to keep their car maintained not only helps them get you to your games on time, but it also helps keep our air clean. The pollution produced from not properly maintained cars is the leading cause to the brown cloud over Denver. Your poster should help educate your parents on how to keep their car running great and keep our air and get the smog out of the air!
Show us your creativity by entering the Kids 4 Clean Air poster contest today. Posters must be submitted by 5 p.m. Friday, September 20, 2013. Students may either send or bring their posters to the Envirotest – Air Care Colorado offices at 5175 Marshall St., Arvada, CO 80002, or at the Regional Air Quality Council located at 1445 Market St., Suite 260, Denver, CO 80202.
Winners will be chosen in late September and award presentations will be held in October.
Visit www.AirCareColorado.com for rules and regulations, entry forms and more information on how to help keep our air clean. You can also follow Air Care Colorado on Twitter.
The initial use of a gas cap was to keep dirt and water out of the fuel tank. However, as automobiles got more sophisticated, the function of the gas cap increased. Over time, it has become an emissions control device.
One element of the Colorado vehicle emissions inspection is the Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) check. An automobile EVAP prevents vapor from the fuel system and gas tank from being released into the atmosphere. One reason for an emissions EVAP system failure is a defective/missing gas caps.
The Car Care Council states that, "A missing or leaking gas cap can allow up to 30 gallons of gasoline per year to evaporate into the atmosphere." Using today’s gas prices, a bad cap could cost you more than $100 a year. In addition, these escaping gas fumes, when combined with heat and sunlight, cause the type of harmful air pollution known as ground-level ozone.
Unlike the good, protective ozone layer in the stratosphere, ground level ozone is a harmful air pollutant that affects all of us. It’s formed when emissions from everyday items combine with other pollutants and “cook” in the heat and sunlight. Weather plays a key role in ozone formation. The highest ozone levels are usually recorded in summer months when temperatures approach the high 80s and 90s and the wind is stagnant of light.
Colorado Puts a Cap on Ozone
If you are due for a vehicle emissions test, here is a reminder to make sure your gas cap is in place and secured tightly to give you the best chance to prevent a failure. However, from July 1 through Aug. 31 , 2013, any vehicle that fails the Colorado emissions test due to a faulty or missing gas cap will be provided with a voucher good for a new cap redeemable at NAPA Auto Parts stores located throughout the Greater Denver area and the North Front Range.
All failed vehicles must be retested. Retesting is FREE if completed within 10 calendar days.
For more information on solving the ozone problem, call the Regional Air Quality Council at 303-629-5450, or visit www.raqc.org.