For your car to achieve legal registration, it will need to pass an emissions test. Emissions tests check your vehicle for smog and assess the levels of dangerous gases it emits on ‘95 and older. For ‘96 and newer, the tests check for trouble codes in the ECM.

A failure of your emissions test means you won’t legally be able to drive your car in 13 metro Atlanta counties in Georgia, so passing is non-negotiable for registered vehicles in the Atlanta area.

Why Cars Fail Emissions Tests

There are many reasons your vehicle may fail an emissions test. Common causes include:

Exhaust Problems

Both changing temperatures and regular wear take a toll on your car, requiring exhaust repairs to correct the damage. Some telltale signs that your car’s exhaust is in need of a fix-up are a check-engine light coming on, exhaust noise that’s louder than normal, or the car not running properly.

You Need an Oil Change

Old, dirty oil produces more toxic gases than a car with fresh oil would. If you haven’t had your oil changed in some time, this could result in emissions test failure. Different makes and models require oil changes at varying frequencies, so you’ll need to ask your mechanic to make sure you’re keeping up with the oil changes in the time frame necessary for your specific vehicle.

Engine Issues

You should never ignore your check engine light, as this is the quickest way to fail an emissions test. The check engine light could mean many things, from a damaged or missing gas cap to requiring an engine replacement. No matter the reason, you’ll want to address these issues the moment you see “check engine” flash.

I Failed My Emissions Test – Now What?

Upon emissions test failure, the inspector will supply you with a report that lists the trouble codes or any other problem in your vehicle. To get your vehicle back in safe driving condition, you will need to bring the emissions report to a trusted mechanic who will then remedy any issues so that your car can pass its next emissions test.

If you experience a second emissions test failure, some states (including Georgia) provide a Repair Waiver if you have proof that the repairs related to your emissions failure meet or exceed a certain amount. These laws vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your local DMV to see if you qualify for a waiver.

The best way to ensure you pass every emissions test is to undergo regular maintenance for your car, so it’s always in the best condition. Vehicles require constant upkeep, and by staying on top of any potential problems, you can solve them before you take an emissions test.

Has your vehicle failed its emissions test? The experienced mechanics at Scott DeLong’s Auto Service provide emissions repairs for any issues that result in emissions failure. Contact us today to get your vehicle back in shape!