The registration renewal card you receive from your county of residence will indicate if you need an emissions inspection. If so, the inspection must be performed as part of the registration renewal process. Generally, your county of residence will mail registration renewal cards sometime during the month prior to the expiration of your current registration.
State regulation provides for a 30-day grace period for your annual or biennial emissions test upon expiration. Put simply, this means you have a month (30 days) after your current registration/tags expire to get an emissions inspection and complete the registration renewal process. However, keep in mind that more than 30 days past the expiration date could result in a $50 fine. Requests for extensions beyond the 30-day grace period must be made through your local Motor Vehicle office.
Most vehicles brought into the program area (most locations within the Denver-metropolitan area and North Front Range) from either another part of Colorado or another state are required to obtain emissions inspections before they can be registered in their new county of residence. New residents have 90 days from the establishment of residency to complete this process. Often, a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) verification will be required as well. Please contact the county clerk's office in your new county of residence for more information.
The exemption from emissions inspection for vehicles that have not yet reached eight years old from Manufacturer Statement of Origin applies to all vehicles, including those brought into the program area from other parts of Colorado or another state. These vehicles will require emissions inspections once they have reached eight years old.
Used vehicles that are for sale are required to have a new emissions inspection, even if the current inspection report still has time on it. However, there is an EXCEPTION to this rule:
It is the seller's responsibility to obtain the inspection. This is a consumer protection for the buyer. The seller must provide the emissions inspection paperwork to the buyer for vehicle registration purposes. The buyer must use this paperwork to register the vehicle within one year. A vehicle dealer may offer customers a voucher enabling the buyer to obtain an inspection for free. The customer has the right to refuse this arrangement.
If you purchased a vehicle from a dealer and used a dealer voucher to obtain an inspection, and the vehicle failed the test, access our Dealer Information.
Most vehicles do not require an inspection until they are eight years old. Once they have reached age, most 1982-and-newer vehicles are inspected every two years while most 1981-and-older vehicles are inspected annually. Additionally, an inspection is required when a vehicle that is at least seven years old changes ownership. A valid Certificate of Emissions Compliance must be supplied by the seller at the time of the sale.
There are several categories of collectors's vehicles that have different inspection requirements depending upon the age of the vehicle. Typically, vehicles built before 1976 can be registered as collector vehicles and may not be required to have their emissions inspection. However, this exception must be granted by the state of Colorado and is not assumed. Please contact the Colorado Department of Revenue at 303-205-5603 for more information.