Your Trusted Auto Repair Shop for 40+ Years
Shop Talk Logo

Pass or Fail: Emission Testing in Nevada

Vehicle ownership is chock full of responsibility that often tugs at your purse strings. Annual vehicle registrations and emissions testing are no exception. Knowing what is required for your vehicle to pass, including exemptions, and the importance of smog testing will help to prepare you for your next visit to the emissions testing facility.

What You Need to Know

Emissions or smog tests analyze the levels of hazardous materials that are produced and escape from combustion engines. Emission tests are used to help improve air quality by decreasing pollutants that your vehicle emits while on the road. Such pollutants are harmful to the environment as well as humans and animals.

Emission inspections are required for most initial vehicle registrations as well as annual renewals in the state of Nevada for those located within the heavily populated and urban counties of Clark and Washoe. If your vehicle is due for testing, your mailed renewal will indicate it’s time to do so.

Passenger cars, trucks, SUVs, and recreational vehicles require emission testing if they are gas powered, diesel powered (up to 14,000 pounds), produced in or after 1968, or are newer vehicles on their third registration, however, hybrids are exempt for five years.


Some vehicles are not required to have emissions tested including:

    • New vehicles on their first or second registration.
    • New Hybrid-electric vehicle for the first five years.
    • Produced prior to 1967.
    • Motorcycles or mopeds.
    • Vehicles in remote areas of Nevada, including some parts of Clark and Washoe counties. Check testing areas here.
    • Alternative fuel vehicles.
    • Vehicles registered as a Classic Rod, Classic Vehicle, or Old Timer and driven no more than 5,000 miles per year.
    • Vehicles registered as a Replica Vehicle.
    • Diesel vehicles over 14,000 pounds.
    • Registration and/or testing 90 days before a transfer of ownership.


engine emission testingTests can only be performed by specialized licensed emission stations. You’ll be required to present your vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and payment (fees may vary) for testing.

Vehicles manufactured in 1996 or after will receive an On-Board Diagnostics test. During this test, the technician will connect a testing device to the car’s OBD computer to analyze data of the vehicle’s emissions system.  Note: On vehicles produced in 1996 or after, if the battery has been disconnected, for any reason, do not immediately have the vehicle’s emissions tested. It is highly recommended that the vehicle be driven for up to one week for the OBD system to reset properly. Testing too soon will result in a failed smog check. A vehicle that emits smoke will fail the emissions inspection and will not qualify for a waiver. Vehicles emitting visible smoke make be ticketed by law enforcement.

Vehicles manufactured prior to 1996 will receive a Two-Speed Idle Smog test. The technician will test the engine at idle speed and then again at 2,500 RPMs. A Dynamometer will be used on older model diesel engines.

Upon passing, you’ll be provided with a Vehicle Inspection Report for your records. Your test results will also be reported to the DMV electronically. Tests are valid for 90 days.

Test Fails

If your vehicle fails the emissions test, you must take it to a licensed facility to have repairs made and then test again. If the vehicle fails the second test, a waiver may be issued. The vehicle must fail the carbon monoxide or hydrocarbon levels exceeding the set standards for 1968 – 1995 for light duty vehicles and all heavy-duty vehicles. Or the “Check Engine” light illuminated for light duty vehicles of 1996 and newer. Waivers are not issued to vehicles with warranty coverage, smoking vehicles, or emission device tampering.

If the vehicle fails yet again, due to hydrocarbons/carbon monoxide or the Check Engine light, after repairs have been completed and all financial standards, as set by the Nevada DMV, to obtain a waiver have been met, return to a DMV Emissions Test Facility along with your vehicle, failed certificates, and receipts for all repair work to request a waiver.

If the check engine light is illuminated, there is very little chance your vehicle will pass the emissions test. Sun Auto Service specializes in on-board diagnostics and offers engine diagnosis. Our ASE Certified technicians will scan your on-board computer for diagnostic codes at no charge to you. If additional diagnostics are required, our technicians can do that too!

Arrive to your next emissions test with confidence, knowing your vehicle has received the best care from Sun Auto Service. Browse the list of our current offers to save on your next service!