Air quality is important to everyone! Exposure to high levels of air pollution can aggravate heart disease, asthma and other respiratory diseases and conditions. Colorado has a long history of taking proactive measures—both mandatory and voluntary—to protect the quality of the air we all breathe. The regular inspection of emissions and the maintenance of our vehicles has been a key part of protecting air quality in parts of Colorado since 1981. The current emissions inspection program began in 1995 and applies to most vehicles and locales in the Denver-metropolitan area and the North Front Range of the state.
1982 & Newer: $25 biennial
1981 & Older: $15 annual
VIN Verification: $20
Seven (7) years old or newer: Exempt
Cash, checks and credit cards accepted. Please make checks payable to Air Care Colorado.
Note: Vehicle sellers must provide buyers either a new Emissions Inspection Certificate or an emissions inspection voucher at the time of sale.
If your vehicle has never been registered in the state of Colorado you must obtain a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) verification prior to registration. VIN Verifications may be obtained at any Air Care Colorado inspection station. If your vehicle requires an emissions inspection, simply let the inspector know that you need a VIN verification as well as an inspection. If your vehicle does not require an inspection, do not drive into the testing lanes, please ask for a VIN verification inside the station office. VIN verification fee: $20.
Important Note: Some county clerks and law enforcement agencies do not provide this service. Call ahead to make sure this service is available before going to a county clerk's office or law enforcement agency for a VIN verification. For more information on the VIN verification requirement, call the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles at 303-205-5603 or your county motor vehicle office.
If the vehicle you are bringing into the program area is six years old or newer, or is brand new and has never been registered in any state, you do not need an emissions inspection. If the vehicle has never before been registered anywhere in the state of Colorado, you will need a VIN verification.
Do not drive the vehicle into the testing lanes for a VIN verification; request a VIN verification at the office.
If you are bringing a vehicle into the program area from another state or another part of Colorado, it must pass an emissions inspection before it can be registered in a new county. This process must be completed within 90 days of establishing residency. Be advised that a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) verification may also be required.
Exceptions are made for vehicles brought into the program area that have not yet reached the seventh model year (based upon the Manufacturer Statement of Origin). Such vehicles do not require an emissions inspection at the time of registration. Vehicles require an emissions inspection once they reach the eighth model year.
By law, any used vehicle offered for sale is required to have another emissions inspection even if the current inspection report has not yet expired. Exceptions are made for USED vehicles that are offered for sale if they have at least one year (365 days) remaining on the original seven-model-year exemption.
It is the seller's responsibility to provide the updated emissions inspection paperwork to the buyer for vehicle registration purposes. This is a consumer protection for the buyer. The buyer must use this paperwork to register the vehicle within one year (365 days). Dealers selling vehicles may offer buyers free emissions inspection vouchers in lieu of an updated emissions inspection. However, it is the buyer's right to refuse a voucher and require the dealer to provide an updated emissions inspection.
If you purchased a vehicle from a dealer, used a dealer-provided voucher to obtain an emissions inspection and the vehicle subsequently failed an inspection, please visit the FAQ page and look to number 13.
There can be a variety of reasons a vehicle fails an inspection. Remedies may be as simple as an oil change. Other repairs may be more complicated, including the replacement of worn or failing components like oxygen sensors, catalytic converters and computer-controlled components. Air Care Colorado encourages motorists to consult with a qualified repair technician to determine the cause of the failure so that the appropriate repairs can be completed.
Air Care Colorado provides and continually updates a list of uniquely-qualified repair technicians in the program area. These facilities have repair technicians with training specific to emissions-related failures and subsequent repairs.
Of course, motorists always have the option of selecting the facility or technician of their choice to complete repairs, or completing repairs on their own.
For more information about the Air Care Colorado Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) Program, you may call one of the convenient Air Care Colorado hotlines:
Customer service representatives are available to speak with directly every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including Spanish-language representatives. Se habla Espanol. Additionally, recorded information is available 24 hours a day. You also may leave a voicemail during off hours with calls returned during regular business hours.
For basic information like hours of operation, cost, best times of the day and month for an inspection, and much more, please access our FAQ page.
To make repairs, locate an Authorized Repair Facility near you.
To inquire about waivers, please contact the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles' Emissions Office at 303-205-5603.
There are three types of waivers: a repair cost, economic hardship, and diagnostic. Eligibility is limited to motorists who qualify based upon a specific set of criteria.
Waivers are not issued for vehicles that have been tampered with (i.e. missing emissions control equipment), are visibly smoking or a faulty or missing gas cap.
The state of Colorado operates Emissions Technical Centers in the program area and will evaluate your vehicle to determine the reason for the emissions failure. There is no charge for this service. However, evaluations are limited to motorists whose vehicles have failed an initial inspection, attempted repairs, and failed the free re-inspection.
Please contact the state of Colorado at 303-744-2442 and press 3 for more information and an appointment.