Automotive Repair Blog: Tips, Facts, and Fixes


Starting on January 2nd, 2015, the state requirements for emissions inspection in Colorado will change. Here’s what you need to know.

You might need to go to the inspection station.

When your 2015 registration renewal postcard comes in, on the top right portion there will be a box that will tell you whether or not your vehicle needs to take an Emissions Test. If it says you do, you’ll need to head to the Air Care Colorado inspection station. 

New vehicle exemptions will increase to seven years.

Because newer vehicles are cleaner and have better emissions, they don’t need to be inspected as often. New vehicle exemptions will be required every seven years, instead of every four.

Older vehicles will need Onboard Diagnostic systems checked.

Vehicles that are between eight and eleven years old (model years 2005 – 2008) will need to have their Onboard Diagnostic systems checked. If your car has the “check engine” light on, you’ll need to have your vehicle repaired.

Vehicles that are twelve years and older will need a treadmill test.

Vehicles made from 1982- 2004 will require the I/M 240 dynamometer test (also known as the treadmill test). This essentially recreates real-world road conditions in order to test your vehicle’s emissions.

Vehicles made in 1981 and older will get a separate test.

Cars and trucks made in or before 1981 will require a two-speed idle test to test vehicle emissions.

Older hybrid vehicles will now require testing.

If you own a hybrid vehicle that’s eight year old or older, it will require emissions testing for the first time. This will be an On-board Diagnostics system test, and won’t require the dynamometer testing.

Inspection stations now accept cash, checks, and credit cards.

Fees will stay the same and not increase. Also, inspection stations will now accept cash, checks, and credit cards including VISA, Mastercard, and Discover.

The RapidScreen Roadside Inspection process will remain in place.

To qualify for the RapidScreen roadside inspection (a process that allows you to skip a visit to the inspection station) you need to meet the following qualifications:

  • You must have two clean RapidScreen readings for a vehicle within a twelve month window in the fourteen months before registration renewal with a cutoff two months before the registration renewal month.
  • If you own an eligible vehicle, you will see a notice on your registration renewal postcard that says “PASSED ROADSIDE EMISSIONS”.