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What Everybody Ought to Know About Emission Tests

Posted by henry lee - 13 September, 2013

Despite needing to undergo regular emissions tests, many car owners do not know what everyone ought to know about emissions testing. You should understand what the test is looking for, how to address the results and other important aspects of emissions tests before getting in line at the local facility.

car emissions

What is Emissions Testing?

An emissions test is a state-regulated systems check that determines how much harmful material is being expelled by your car. Ideally, emissions tests prevent cars from polluting more than is deemed acceptable and keep cars with neglected or potentially dangerous systems off of the road. Every state has slightly different qualifications, but every test follows essentially the same protocol.

What is Tested?

The bulk of an emissions test involves a sample of your car's exhaust fumes being analyzed. A machine is attached to the tailpipe of your car. You will be instructed to allow the engine to idle while the gas pedal is engaged. This produces the exhaust needed for the test. The emissions level detected coming from your car's exhaust system is compared to the "clean air" law that your state enforces. An emissions test also generally includes checks of the car's entire exhaust system, including the muffler and catalytic converter. An emissions test component many drivers aren't ready for is the "check engine" light. In most states, if that light is on for any reason, you will not pass an emissions test.

Where to Get an Emissions Test

Most full-service mechanics are qualified to run a complete emissions test, but make sure your state doesn't require you to go to a specific facility to have an official test conducted. As a part of registration procedures, you might have to go to an emissions test drive-through that is managed, staffed and trained by the state. However, if you are concerned about the outcome of the official test, your mechanic can run a preliminary analysis and alert you to any potential problems.

Be Prepared

In order to save yourself a lot of time and a fair amount of money, you should take steps to make sure your car is going to pass its official emissions test. To be prepared for an emissions test, keep up with regular car maintenance and be aware of what is going on with your car's exhaust system components.

An emissions test is required so cars on the road are safer for other drivers and the environment. Everyone ought to know what to expect during an emissions test if they want to register their vehicles without a hassle.

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