It might be that time of year when you are required to take your vehicle in to get it’s emissions tested. If you have a car that is old enough to be required to do the testing, it can be a hassle waiting in those long lines. But what if when you go your car doesn’t pass the test? It can be extremely frustrating and concerning when this happens because you obviously want to be clear of any trouble. Here is what to do should your car fails its emissions test, or if you want to prepare for an upcoming one.

Failing An Emissions Test

First, you will want to know what the exact standards are for your state. Emissions standards vary from place to place, but many states require you to have your car checked out to prevent any severe pollution to the environment. As for the details of what is going on with the test, it is actually a pretty technical process that most drivers probably wouldn’t care to delve into. However, if you do want to know what they are the best resource is the Environmental Protection Agency for basic information. However, it is not necessary to know what the standards are to do the test, it just might make it easier to understand what is going on with it.

The second thing you can do is to look up the information about your particular vehicle group.  In some states, there are certain types of vehicles that are required to pass emissions testing in order to be street legal. In other states there are no requirements at all. It all really depends on where you live and what the laws are regarding the environment and air pollution. In any case, it would best serve you to do a little bit of research to see if your car needs to be tested. There are a few common groups of vehicles that get to be excluded from the test. This special group often includes trailers, hybrid cars, electric vehicles, cars manufactured before 1975 and diesel cars manufactured before 1997. Before you drive yourself down to the center, it would be wise just double check that this process even applies to you.

If your vehicle failed a test or you have a suspicion that it might there are a few things you can do to know in advance what the issue is, and potentially how to correct it. The most common reasons for a car to fail the emissions can be vacuum leaks, air injection and EVAP malfunction, out of spec fuel metering or worn out spark plugs.

Before you head out to the test site, make sure that it is a dry day without any rain. Believe it or not, this can cause you to fail the test, so if you see that it’s rainy outside the day you want to do it, it’s best to reschedule. Other things that can cause you to fail are not having clean filters or oil. It would be a shame to fail the test if you could have done something to prevent it. Also, fill your tires with enough air to make them stable because having them slightly flat or unequal can trigger the wrong specs.

Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited offers the best auto repair Columbia MO has to offer!