How do I pass the emissions test

Annual emissions tests are required to ensure that your vehicle is not too dirty and that your emissions control components are in good working order. While not all areas of the US still require emissions tests, those that do not exist are becoming increasingly rare. If your car fails the emissions test, then you may be in search of repair and replacement parts to get it, or face fines, fees, or other consequences. How do you prepare for an emissions test?

Check the engine light

First and foremost, if your Check Engine Light is on, your car will fail the test. It's that simple. Drop the code and make the necessary repairs. Chances are, it's something simple, like a damaged spark plug lead or gas cap gasket, or a failed oxygen sensor. Before you go to your test, look for issues with the Check Engine Light. You will also need to drive the car for a few days after the Check Engine Light is cleared while part of the test looks at the computer history for the vehicle.

Drive it

One complication that can arise with your test is when your OBD (On-Board Diagnostic) system is "not ready" for testing. This can happen if the system has not been run long enough to run all of the self-checks. Your car won't fail, but you will be refused and have to test again another day. The best way to get there is to drive your car at least 20 miles before going to the test station.

Air filter

Proper air flow into the engine is critical to emissions. If the air filter is severely clogged, it can affect the results of the emissions test. Change your air filter before testing to ensure your engine has constant fresh air for combustion.

Do not stop the engine

While waiting for the test in the test station, keep your engine running. Turn off things like your air conditioning or heating, but keep the car running in the park. This will keep the operating temperature within the normal range (your engine cannot be tested if the exhaust system is too cold).

It is best to simply have your car tested and then carry out any necessary repairs. The re-test should be free of charge if it is carried out within the time window allocated by your state government.

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