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What Is An Arizona Emissions Waiver? How Do I Get An Arizona Emissions Waiver?

Vehicle being tested for emissions In order to renew your vehicle registration in the state of Arizona, many vehicles may first require an emissions test. An emissions test measures the amount of air pollution that a vehicle emits from the exhaust. The test measures levels of hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and the emissions from evaporation. Occasionally a vehicle may fail due to certain mechanical failures that cause the vehicle to emit more than the allowable pollutants. But what happens when you just can’t get your vehicle to pass the emissions test? You may be able to obtain an AZ emissions waiver.

Arizona Emissions Waiver

An emissions waiver is an official state document that allows qualified vehicle owners, who have spent monies on emission system repairs, to register their vehicle even though it may have failed the emissions test. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. There are certain requirements that one must meet to be eligible for the emissions waiver.

How It Works

If you take your vehicle to an Emissions Testing facility and the results indicate a failed status, you must take your car to an auto center for repair. Once there, you will need to present the Vehicle Inspection Report, from the test center, to your Technician, so that he or she can fill out the repair form to confirm inspections and repairs were made. The completed and signed form must be brought with you when you return to the testing facility for a retest. Note: If you return to the test center within 60 days of the first test, the second test is free.

If your vehicle fails again, you may be able to apply for the emissions waiver, however, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • The vehicle must have failed the emissions test a minimum of two times during the test cycle.
  • The vehicle’s malfunction must be diagnosed, and a low emissions tune-up must be performed after the initial failure.
  • The vehicle must be taken to one of three waiver facilities, along with the most recent failed test report, as well as copies of receipts, repair orders, estimates for repairs, and other supporting documents.

A waiver will be issued if it is determined that additional repairs needed to reduce the emissions cannot be made within the maximum repair cost limits (depending on the age and location of the vehicle). Note that Phoenix repair maximums vary greatly from Tucson due to higher levels of pollution.

  • Maximum repair fees for Maricopa County:
    • 1980 & newer – $450
    • 1975 – 1979 $300
    • 1974 and older $200
    • Heavy Duty Diesel $500
  • Vehicles that emit more than two times the acceptable emission standard or those that have faulty catalytic converters are not eligible for a waiver.
  • Waivers will not be issued to vehicles where the emissions control equipment has been removed, damaged, or altered in any way.
  • Upon approval, the waiver fee of $15.00 must be paid at the waiver facility.

No appointment is necessary to apply for a waiver; however, facility hours may vary. Once a vehicle is granted a waiver, the vehicle is not eligible to receive another in its lifetime.

Many vehicle owners worry that they will need to pay a penalty fee if their vehicle fails the emission test and thus are unable to register their vehicle. Though vehicle registrations expire on the 15th or the last day of the registration month, you will not have to pay a late penalty if:

  • The vehicle’s first inspection was completed prior to the registration’s expiration.
  • Your vehicle was repaired, retested, and passed inspection.
  • The registration renewal is completed and postmarked within thirty days of the first inspection.