Within the state of New Mexico, only the county of Bernalillo requires emissions testing, or smog checks, to be performed on all vehicles that are less than 10,000 pounds, and are newer than 1982. For mechanics seeking an automotive technician job, an excellent way to build a resume of valuable skills is to seek out a smog inspection certification, or an Air Care Inspector Certification.

New Mexico Air Care Inspector qualifications

Smog checks take place at certified Air Care locations around the county. In order to provide these inspections, a mechanic needs to become a certified Air Care Inspector and work in one of these facilities. In order to receive this certification in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, an automotive service technician needs to have the following qualifications:

  • They must submit an application with the Air Care program manager.

  • They must complete a three-day training course, which is offered every month at the Air Care Albuquerque office.

Air Care Inspector certifications are valid for 12 months. In order to reapply for a new certification after expiration, a mechanic must submit a recertification application and take a four-hour recertification course and exam.

In order to remain in good standing as a smog check technician in New Mexico, a mechanic must be considered “active” at a licensed location. If the mechanic changes jobs, and begins inspecting vehicles in a new location, they must submit a Change of Status form to indicate that they are inactivating in one station, and activating in another.

Smog check procedures in New Mexico

During an emissions test in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, the following five procedures will take place:

  • The OBD-II test will be performed to check the vehicle’s emission control equipment functions.

  • A tailpipe exhaust analysis will be performed to measure the hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions.

  • The installation and connections of the pollution control equipment will be verified as accurate.

  • A visual inspection of the tailpipe will be performed, specifically to check for smoke.

  • The gas cap pressure will be checked to ensure that the cap is secured tightly.

If a vehicle fails a smog check, the owner has 90 days to have the vehicle repaired and retested, at no charge, at the Vehicle Pollution Management station in Albuquerque, New Mexico. These re-inspections are provided by ASE certified mechanics who act as “referee inspectors”. In order to become a referee inspector, an ASE certified mechanic must meet all of the above criteria, and inquire within the Air Care company.

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 New Mexico and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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