Pollution produced by vehicles has been a major concern of states in recent years. The institution of smog/emissions testing in many metropolitan areas has created a field of automotive technician jobs focused on identifying and fixing problems which cause vehicles to fail these tests. Each state has its own specific way of handling testing and repairs, working within the framework of federal standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In the state of Arizona, Phoenix and Tucson are the two areas in which vehicles must be inspected. Testing takes place either every other year or every year, depending upon the age of the vehicle. In this state, these inspections are carried out at stations provided and staffed by a private contractor, Gordon-Darby Arizona Testing, Inc.

How to become an emissions inspector in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality contracts with Gordon-Darby to provide the services necessary to identify vehicles which meet, or don’t meet, the required emissions standards.

Because Gordon-Darby provides its own staff and training, you will need to contact either the ADEQ or Gordon-Darby in order to find out how to become employed in an emissions testing station.

How to become an emissions repair technician

Repair technicians work on the other side of the equation, performing repairs which are designed to help vehicles pass the smog inspection. When a vehicle fails this testing in Arizona, owners are free to have their repairs done at the automotive shop of their choosing. Many shops specialize in repairing emissions problems, so the more experience you have in these areas, the better your chances of taking your auto tech career in that direction.

Recognized repair facility program

One of the ways that Arizona is trying to reduce the number of failing vehicles, as well as those which aren’t ready for the test when presented for inspection, is by the institution of the Recognized Repair Facility (RERF) Program. The purpose of the program is to distinguish repair shops which meet certain criteria, which include employing at least one mechanic with certain qualifications. These include ASE certification in A1, A6, A8, or all of A1 – A8. L1 certification is highly preferred although not required for RRFP designation.

In addition, RRFP shops must possess the following:

  • OBD II scan tool which meets SAE1978/SAE J1979

  • Three gas emissions analyzer which is capable of reading HC, CO, and NOx (applies to Phoenix facilities)

  • Two gas emissions analyzer which can read HC and CO (applies to Tucson shops)

  • A repair efficiency of 75% of higher for the three-month period prior to application

If you want to become a smog technician in Arizona, the best course of action is to obtain the relevant ASE certifications and then apply to shops which need specialists in these areas of repair.

If you’re already a certified mechanic and you’re interested in working with YourMechanic, submit an online application for an opportunity to become a mobile mechanic.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Get Smog Technician Certified in Arizona and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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