While the requirements for smog and emissions testing in Idaho may differ from other states, understanding the requirements and how (and where!) to test can save you time, money, and a lot of hassle down the road.
What are Idaho’s emission testing requirements?
In rural areas of Idaho, the concept of emissions testing may seem foreign. Many Idaho counties have no emissions regulations, and vehicles can legally be operated with broken, defective or, even non-existent emissions equipment.
In larger cities, it's particularly important that all vehicles are tested in order to promote better air quality. Emission and smog testing helps to reduce the amount of pollution in the air we breathe. Cities have far more traffic and other pollutants, which is why rural areas don't have testing requirements.
Note: Governor Brad Little signed a bill to repeal the emissions testing requirement in the state beginning July 2023. Current emissions testing requirements are still in place until then, and may be required beyond then in the event of local or federal actions.
Emission testing requirements in Idaho vary by county. Here's a look at some in the Treasure Valley.
Ada County and Canyon County
If your vehicle is registered in these counties, and it was manufactured after 1981 and is at least five years old, you need to have your vehicle inspected every other year.
What Happens if I don’t get my vehicle inspected, or it fails?
If you fail to have your vehicle inspected once every two years, you can have your registration revoked, and that means you will no longer be able to legally operate your vehicle on public roadways. If your vehicle fails the test, you must then proceed with making the necessary repairs, and then test again prior to renewing your registration (this is why the state sends you a reminder in advance of your registration expiring).
There also some other things to consider when it comes to a failed test. In situations of economic hardship or when repairs are necessary, there are waivers in both Canyon County, the City of Kuna, and Ada County that will buy you some time, with receipts to demonstrate that good-faith efforts have been made to correct the issue and retest.
What vehicles are exempt?
Vehicles manufactured prior to 1981, hybrid or electric vehicles, vehicles under 1,500 pounds, and motorhomes are exempt in Ada County.
Canyon County and City of Kuna residents can add the following to the exempted list: vehicles with a GVW of 14,001 or more, motorized farm equipment, or vehicles only used for agriculture. Also, keep in mind that vehicles that are classified as “Classics” are not required to undergo emissions testing (can you imagine trying to get a Model T to pass?).
What Idaho Counties REquire Emission Testing?
As of now, Ada County, Canyon County, and the City of Kuna are the only counties/cities in Idaho that require emissions testing. But as we mentioned earlier, when your emissions systems are up and running properly you can experience better efficiency and performance from any type of vehicle you might own, on or off-road.
Looking for Smog and Emissions Testing, Diagnosis, or Repair?
Whether you are testing, failed a test, and need it fixed, or have questions or concerns about your vehicle’s emission control devices, we offer comprehensive services designed to keep you on the road, and enjoying every clean, legal mile.