Tips for Passing Your Car’s Next Emissions Test

Emission systems are not the most glamorous or exciting part of cars, but these systems end up being one of the most important car parts to know about. Emission systems serve a variety of functions. The emission system reduces the amount of pollution your car puts into the air and prevents harmful gases from escaping and potentially becoming health hazards. It keeps your car’s engine running smoothly, cleanly, and efficiently. Most states require that cars receive regular emissions inspections to maintain their registration. Here are some tips to make sure your emission system passes its next test.

Address Your Check Engine Light Immediately

The majority of the time, the check engine light coming on indicates an emissions problem. If you address these problems immediately, they are usually small repairs that cost you only a couple hundred dollars. If you don’t get the repairs, it’s very likely that your car is going to fail its next emissions test. Worse, left unchecked, your small problem might cause a big problem and a very expensive repair.

Get Your Test on a Nice Day

Cold and windy days make it harder for your engine to warm up. In winter weather, it takes quite a while for a car’s coolant, oil, and catalytic converter to reach the appropriate operating temperature so they run as efficiently as possible during the test. Rain poses another problem. Wet tires lose traction during the test, creating unstable conditions that can stress the engine.

Warm up Your Car

Taking a drive before heading to the test center is one important thing drivers can do to help their emission systems pass a test. It takes about twenty minutes of constant operation for your car’s various parts to be running optimally. Sometimes you may have to wait for your turn at the test center. To keep your car warm, leave the engine running and in park while you wait.

Get an Oil Change

Regular oil changes are the simplest step towards preventative maintenance you can take to extend your car’s lifespan. They can also have a big impact on your emission test. Try to time your emission system test so that it occurs shortly after your most recent oil changed. Dirty oil contains substances that make the output of your car’s emission system more toxic because the engine burns oil fumes during the combustion process.

Pump up Your Tires

During the emissions test, your car is typically run on a machine called a dynamometer. Correct tire pressure gives the vehicle stability and control during this part of the test. This is important because the engine runs most efficiently when it is supporting a steady load. Make sure all your tires are at the manufacturer’s specified tire pressure to make this possible.

In most states, cars must pass an emission systems test in order to stay on the road. As a result, it’s critical that you don’t allow your car to fail. Luckily, there are a number of simple maintenance tricks that can improve the performance of your emission system. These tricks might not help if your emission system is really in critical condition, but they do make a difference for most cars that are in average condition.