Why Is Emissions Testing Important?

Why Is Emissions Testing Important?

March 12, 2022

Have you ever wondered why we have emissions testing? For many, getting your emissions tested on your vehicle every year or two is just another annoying occurrence to deal with as a car owner and driver. However, the importance of emissions testing cannot be stressed enough. The pollution levels in many places are at all-time highs. Let’s discuss emissions testing and talk about why it’s important.

Emissions testing is done on vehicles in the United States, as per guidelines set by the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency. This government agency calculates and figures out minimum standards that are recommended for pollution output by motor vehicles. Their recommendations and findings, in part, help set state and local guidelines and standards for compliance with motorized vehicles. These vehicles are tested every year or two, generally, and the vehicles must pass the minimum guidelines to stay on the road.

If you have a newer vehicle than 1996, an emissions test is required. What does an emissions inspection do? Your emissions testing service attendant or mechanic will hook your car up to an On-Board Diagnostics, or OBD reader. This reading checks the engine, transmission, and emissions control systems and lets the mechanic or service person know if any issues are going on with the vehicle. They will then usually perform a visual inspection of your car. This is to be sure that everything appears to be in proper working order.

If you pass the inspection, you will be given proof of it, and nothing else will be required. But what happens if you fail your emissions test? If you live in a state where you’re required to have your car tested for emissions, failing an emissions test can lead to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) not allowing you to re-register your vehicle when that time comes. If your registration is current, you’re usually temporarily in compliance. If it isn’t, then you’ll need to quickly get your car repaired.

If you fail an emissions test, you should get a report about what you specifically need to fix. Most states will give you somewhere around 60 days to have your vehicle repaired, and then you’ll have your emissions re-tested. Should you fail a second time, your vehicle may be eligible for a cost waiver. To qualify for one of these waivers, you’d need to meet certain guidelines, which may include economic reasons, meaning you’ve spent a minimum amount getting your vehicle tested and repaired. Or visual, meaning the mechanic or testing person has inspected your vehicle’s emission control equipment. The third is receiving a second failure after getting the recommended repairs completed.

For the safety of our planet and our fellow humans, it’s important to take steps to reduce pollution. Be sure to get your vehicle’s emissions inspected and, if need be, repaired. Air pollution can be deadlier than cigarette smoking. Let’s all do our part to help reduce vehicle pollution.

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