Air Care Colorado: News Flash



1-7 years old 

8 - 11 years old
(including hybrid vehicles)

12 years old to
model year 1982
I/M 240

Vehicles equipped with OBD,  
that are too large or too small
or are otherwise incompatible
with the dynamometer ,
will be given an OBD test

1981 and older


Be sure your vehicle
is READY for its 

If your vehicle
fails its first

BEFORE the retest,
AFTER a repair or
reconnecting the 

your vehicle's 
computer to READY

Then, within 10 days
of the failed test,
return to an Air Care
station for a
FREE retest


Sure your vehicle
needs an 

Vehicles LESS THAN
7 model years old
do not require
an inspection.

Know Before
You Go

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Find out WHY your

vehicle received an
was not tested 
because it was
you were given an

for an


Check out the 

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Is your 
"Check Engine"
light on?

If it's lit,
don't ignore it!



Air Care Colorado: Facts at a Glance

line-of-cars.jpgAvoid waiting in line. High volume times to avoid are Mondays, the lunch hour, the first business day after any holiday, and the first few and last few days of the month.

Know Before You Go

Look up a vehicle's recent emission testing history.Vehicle Test History


Air Care Colorado Emission Test

Welcome to AirCare Colorado

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 inspection 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:  1982 & newer: $25  1981 & older: $15  VIN Verfications: $20
(Please, NO temporary checks or checks with address different from ID.) 

**Hybrid vehicles eight (8) years and older require an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) test every two years.
** All-Electric vehicles are exempt from testing. 



What Do You Mean My Car's Not Ready?!

Imagine your surprise, and frustration, when you take your vehicle for its periodic emissions inspection and the inspector tells you she can't test your vehicle because it's "not ready." Or, you already had an inspection but your vehicle failed. You had repairs done and have now returned to the inspection station for the retest but the inspector tells you he can't test it because it's "not ready."

What?! The engine starts, the vehicle is drivable, what does "not ready" mean?

It basically means that the computer in the vehicle that monitors the emissions control systems is "not ready" to be tested because it has been recently disconnected or reset.

Newer vehicles - less than 12 years old - now require an OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) inspection. The OBD inspection is a "plug-in" computer test rather than the road simulation test that is given to vehicles that are 12 years and older.

Vehicles equipped with OBD systems continuously self-test their emissions control systems using various monitors. These tests are commonly referred to as "readiness monitors." These monitors identify whether a vehicle's computer has completed the required "self-tests" while the vehicle is being driven. Basically a continuous on-road inspection.

If a self-test has been completed, the system will be reported as "ready." An incomplete self-test will be reported as "not ready." A vehicle with "not ready" status cannot be inspected until all of the self-tests are completed and the monitors are set to "ready." This generally means driving for a while to complete at least one full drive cycle, sometimes more, and then returning to an Air Care station for an reinspection.


  • Recent vehicle repairs in which diagnostic trouble codes have been cleared with an OBD scan tool
  • The battery was recently disconnected or replaced
  • The vehicle's computer requires a software upgrade
  • A pending problem has not yet illuminated the "check engine" light


To allow the vehicle's monitors to become "ready" it must be driven so that the self-tests can be completed and the monitors can be reset to "ready." To do this, the vehicle must run through its specific drive cycle, which depends on the vehicle make and model and which monitor(s) need to be reset. In most cases, two drive cycles are required to reset the monitors.


A drive cycle generally requires combined city and highway driving and includes cool periods. You can drive the vehicle as directed in the owner's manual (look under OBD), or consult with your repair technician who should be able to tell you to complete a vehicle or monitor specific drive cycle. 

If your vehicle failed the inspection, be sure to complete the drive cycle and return within 10 days to get a free reinspection.




Emissions Inspection Program Changes Reviewed

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Some significant changes to the vehicle emissions inspection program took effect in January 2015. For all of those folks whose vehicles didn't require an inspection in 2015, but will in 2016, here are reminders of those changes.

Collectively, the January 2015 changes improved customer convenience for a large number of Coloradans in the program area while continuing to protect air quality.

Among the changes:

  • Extension of the initial model year exemption for newer vehicles from four to seven years. This change reflects improvements in vehicles that allow gasoline-powered engines to start out cleaner and stay cleaner longer.

  • Beginning in the eighth model year and extending through the eleventh model year, the vehicle inspection process will include an inspection of the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD and OBDII) systems. Instead of being tested on the dynamometer (the “treadmill” test), vehicles will be “plugged in” to read the codes in their on-board computers.
    This means if your “Check Engine” light is on, you will not pass the inspection. Don’t ignore it, get it checked!

  • Hybrid vehicles, beginning in the eighth model year, require an OBD inspection. 

  • Two all-wheel drive lanes at every station (except tiny Castle Rock). 
  • Testing to accomodate over and under-sized tires at three emissions inspection stations, Sheridan, Ken Caryl and Ft. Collins.
  • Credit cards are now accepted at all stations!

Find out about all of the changes at


PUT A CAP ON OZONE - A Way to Help Us All Breathe Easier

2015 Put a Cap on Ozone program runs from

June to August 2015

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The Front Range’s recent string of Action Days for Ozone pollution are a reminder of the importance of reducing emissions from motor vehicles. This summer, Denver-metropolitan and North Front Range area motorists whose vehicles are found to have faulty or missing gas caps during an emissions inspection are receiving coupons good toward the purchase of new caps at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores. 

The Problem

Ozone pollution occurs primarily in the hot summer months when emissions from a variety of sources, including industry, automobiles and smaller, gas-powered engines, chemically react in the presence of sunshine to form a harmful ground-level pollutant. Not to be confused with upper atmosphere ozone which provides protection from ultra-violet rays, ground-level ozone is harmful to the health of all humans, particularly the elderly, the very young and those with respiratory disease.

A Solution

Because ground-level ozone pollution is generated by so many different sources, there is no single solution to its prevention. However, it has been determined that one, relatively simple action can have an immediate and significant impact.  Studies show that the reduction of emissions from faulty or missing automobile gas caps can bring about a meaningful reduction in the region’s ozone readings. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Regional Air Quality Council, Envirotest Corp. and NAPA Auto Parts have joined forces to implement a program that replaces faulty gas caps with new gas caps during the height of the summer months.

Coupons, for $10 toward the purchase of a new gas cap at any participating NAPA store, will be given after a vehicle fails the gas cap portion of the emissions inspection at an Air Care Colorado station; the average retail price of a new gas cap is $10 – more for specialty caps. There are more than 30 participating NAPA stores along the Front Range, with at least one shop nearby each Air Care emissions inspection station.


The Savings

In a typical month, more than 2,500 vehicles fail the gas cap portion of their emissions inspection at Air Care Colorado stations. The “Put a Cap on Ozone” program aims to aid in replacing up to 5,000 gas caps by August 31, which could amount to savings of up to:

  • 1.25 tons per day of volatile organic compounds (VOC) – a type of pollution that can contribute to ground-level ozone formation
  • 22,000 gallons of gasoline lost due to evaporation during hot summer months
  • $57,000.00 - the cost of 22,000 gallons of evaporated gasoline


The Details

  • Between now and August 31 the driver of any vehicle that fails the Colorado emissions test due to a faulty or missing gas cap will be provided with a coupon redeemable for a new gas cap at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores.
  • Gas cap coupons will be provided at the 18 Air Care Colorado Testing Stations in the metro Denver and North Front Range areas.
  • Following gas cap replacement, vehicles will be required to repeat the emissions testing procedure.


For more information on the gas cap program, call the Air Care Colorado Hotline at 303-456-7090 or visit


For more information on solving the ozone problem, call the Regional Air Quality Council at 303-629-5450, or visit