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Working toward a cleaner environment is a team sport. The more people participating, the better! That's why most states now require vehicle emissions testing to reduce air pollution. Jiffy Lube® is here to break it down for you:

  • Learn more about emissions testing

  • Maintain your car, truck, SUV or minivan to comply with state and local regulations


  1. What is an emissions test? Sometimes referred to as smog checks, emissions testing measures the level of pollutants — including hydrocarbons, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen — present in vehicle exhaust.

  2. Do I need an emissions test? You likely do. More than 30 states now require some level of testing on registered vehicles. If you’re not sure what’s currently required where you live, contact your state’s environmental agency for accurate, up-to-date information.

  3. How long does an emissions test take? Emissions testing typically takes between 15-30 minutes. Since there’s no standard federal test — each state and municipality can set its own requirements — the timing can vary. After all, more requirements take more time.


Now that we have answered “What is an emissions test?”, we can help you prepare.

  • Call ahead to confirm the hours that emissions testing is performed and make an appointment.

  • Bring the proper documentation with you when you head out for your emissions tests. While different states have different requirements, here’s what you typically need:

    • Certificate of vehicle registration

    • Prior inspection report

    • Letter from the department that oversees the emissions testing program in your city or state

    • Renewal notice, which you may have received via mail, eNotify, or email

Be sure to check with your state’s environmental agency for a current list of required documents before you go.


Most cars (model year 1996 and newer) have an OBD (Onboard Diagnostic II) port, usually located near the steering column. A trained Jiffy Lube technician will attach a diagnostic device to the OBD port to determine if there are any Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs).

If your vehicle is older, or, if for some reason the OBD is not ready for testing, a tailpipe emissions test will be performed. The Jiffy Lube technician will place a probe in the tailpipe that can detect emissions.

Your vehicle’s emission system will be visually inspected, too. Designed to control exhaust and pollutants, the emission system can reduce the harmful gasses that escape into the air. But to perform this vital function, it has to be operating properly. Like other vehicle systems — such as the battery and the brakes — the emission system sustains wear-and-tear with every mile you drive. So, beyond its role in the emissions test, this visual once-over can help keep you running cleanly and efficiently by catching a small problem before it becomes a major one. This is why your answer to “Do I need an emissions test?” should always be “yes.”


Those are the only two outcomes of an emissions test. If you pass, great! You’ll receive a certification — usually good for 90 days — that you can present when you renew your vehicle’s registration.

But what if your vehicle fails? Naturally, that’s not the news anyone wants to hear. But when you visit Jiffy Lube for your emissions test, you can rely on a trained technician to explain where and what the problem is and how to correct it. If you have questions about the test results, you’re encouraged to ask. Rest assured, no work will be done on your vehicle without your approval.


Hopefully now you can answer the question “what is an emissions test?”, and that you will make Jiffy Lube your choice to perform this important test. With more than 2,000 locations across North America, a Jiffy Lube service center is likely nearby, ready to perform the vehicle maintenance that will help keep your vehicle operating as engineered.

One of the many reasons why Jiffy Lube is proud to use Pennzoil® products, which meet or exceed manufacturer recommendations (where applicable), is that Pennzoil is also working to reduce its carbon footprint. Pennzoil is doing this by using 25% recycled resin in its bottles and testing the use of even more, improving the energy efficiency of its facilities and increasing its use of renewable energy.

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