Texas Smog & Emissions Test

What to Know

As most vehicle owners know, the smog and emissions test is an important step in getting their vehicle registered. Although you may be able to avoid it based on where you live, it is required by the DMV for a handful of counties. Prior to the test, please make sure you have a proof of insurance and any applicable fees. These fees will be based on the location and type of emissions test, so make sure you check in with your inspection station prior to visiting.

In Texas, only a handful of areas are required to take the test. If you are within these areas, you should expect to take the test. These areas include:

  • Austin-Round Rock

  • Houston-Galveston-Brazoria

  • Dallas-Fort Worth

  • El Paso

Along with that, there a couple of exemptions to keep in mind. If your vehicle falls within these three exemptions, you do not have to take the test:

  • Vehicle is under two years old

  • Vehicle is over 24 years old

  • Vehicle is diesel-powered

How You Can Pass

Now that you understand the testing requirements for Texas, it’s time to discuss how you can pass the test. Nothing is more frustrating than failing an emissions test, as you’ll have to get everything that failed repaired and retested, which can take up a considerable amount of time. Although there are a variety of methods you can follow, we recommend these three methods to ensure that you are passing the emissions test more often than not!

Be Proactive

If you notice something is wrong with your vehicle, don’t take the smog and emissions test. If you decide to take your vehicle in for the test before having it repaired, you’ll fail the test, lose money, and be told to repair the vehicle anyway. Instead, be proactive and have your vehicle repaired first. This will help you pass the test the first time, so you’ll be saving time and money!

Get Rid of the Check Engine Light

It’s important that you get rid of this light before taking the test. If this light is seen, you will automatically fail the test. There are a couple ways you can determine the cause of the light. You can either take your vehicle into our shop and let our technicians take a look, or purchase an OBD II system that can read and translate the codes sent from your vehicle’s computer system. Regardless of what you do, make sure that the issue is fixed prior to the test!

Drive Around

Before taking your test, make sure to drive your vehicle for 15-20 minutes. This drive will give your vehicle time to reach and maintain optimum levels for your coolant, oil, and catalytic converter. This will help cut down the time on your test as the technician typically needs to warm up the vehicle before evaluating it.

Written by Dave Erb