Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Can I Prepare For an Emissions Test?

How Can I Prepare For an Emissions Test?

emissions test prep

Annual emissions testing is required in order to ensure that your car is not producing too much pollution and that your emissions control components are in working order. While not all areas of the US require emissions testing yet, those that don’t are becoming rarer. If your car doesn’t pass the emissions test, you’ll be on the hook for repairs and parts replacement required to get it to pass, or you might face fines, fees or other consequences. How do you prepare for an emissions test?

Check Engine Light

First and foremost, if your Check Engine Light is on, your car won’t pass the test. It’s as simple as that. Have the code pulled, and then make the repairs needed. Chances are good it’s something simple, like a damaged spark plug wire, or maybe a damaged gas cap seal or a failed oxygen sensor. Take care of any Check Engine Light related issues before going for your test. You’ll also need to drive the car for a few days after having the Check Engine Light cleared, as part of the test looks at computer history for the vehicle.

Drive it

One complication that can arise with your test is if your OBD (on-board diagnostics) system is “not ready” for testing. This can happen if the system hasn’t been operated long enough to conduct all of its self-checks. Your car won’t fail, but you’ll be declined and have to retest on another day. The best way around this is to drive your car for at least 20 miles before going to the testing station.

Air filter

Correct airflow into the engine is critical for emissions, and if your air filter is seriously clogged, it can affect your emissions test results. Change your air filter before the test to make sure that your engine has a steady stream of fresh air for combustion.

Don’t turn off the engine

While you’re waiting for the test at the testing station, keep your engine running. Turn off things like your air conditioner or heater, but leave the engine running with the car in park. This will keep the operating temperature in the normal range (your engine can’t be tested if the exhaust system is too cool).

The best advice is to simply have your car tested, and then make any necessary repairs afterwards. The re-test should be free of charge if done within the window allotted by your state government.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...


Related questions

Q: Emissions test failure - UK?

Hello - not entirely sure how motor vehicle testing is done in the UK (?), but here in the United States, the testing agency provides a printed summary of exactly what does not meet the acceptable standard: excess carbon monoxide,...

Q: My car has no power

From what you've described, it sounds like the catalyst in the exhaust is blocked. This will cause low power and the choke down. Have the carburetor choke checked to make sure it is not stuck. Also, make sure the fuel...

Q: Wiper fluid system needs repairs

Your vehicle requires a diagnostic scan tool to be attached to determine what is causing the Emissions light to illuminate. For the washer systems not working, you likely have a broken tube which feeds the system. Further inspection will be...