Some states have emission test. The point of the emission test is to make sure that your car is not putting out hazardous gasses into the air to help keep the environment safe and reduce the carbon footprint of your vehicle.
Each state the test varies some, but one common question is can you pass an emission test with the check engine light on.
Well, in this article we will look at the answer to that question for you and explain the reasoning for the answer.
What is check engine light?
Most people know what the check engine light is, but if you don’t, it is the light on your dash that looks like an engine and says check or says service engine soon. The light can vary from vehicle to vehicle, but it is pretty easy to identify.
Can you Pass Emission Test with a check engine light?
So, with this light on can you pass an emission test?
The answer is it depends, but normally NO!!
If the car is 1996 or newer and has OBD2 capabilities, then you will not pass an emission test with the check engine light on. Pretty much any state with emission test will not even test a car with the light no.
However, if your car is older than 1996, then you might be able to pass with the light on, but the chances still aren’t good. That is because older cars are grandfathered in to not having to meet all the requirements of newer cars.
Why won’t you pass?
Why won’t you pass an emission test?
Well, outside of the fact that they won’t even test the vehicle, you won’t pass the emission test because if the light is on, then there is something wrong. It could be something as simple as a loose gas cap, or something worse like a hole in the exhaust.
There are a lot of different things that it could be. These problems are meaning that the exhaust is not going thru all the proper things and not enough of the CO2 is being removed. The carbon dioxide is changed chemically in the exhaust and also trapped by parts of the system. Depending on why the light is on is where the problem is.
What to do?
So, if your check engine light is on and you need to pass an emission test, then what can you do? Well, some of you might be thinking you can just use an OBD2 scanner and reset the light, but this will not work. That is because your car has to go thru the self-check cycle before it can pass the emission test. If you just turn the light off or remove the bulb, then they will see when they plug in the OBD2 scanner that the car hasn’t done the cycle and they will tell you to come back.
That means, if your check engine light is on and you need to pass an emission test, then you will have to find out the problem and fix it. Finding the problem is pretty easy. All you do is use the best OBD2 scanner or code reader and get the code. The code will tell you why the light is on and then you just have to have that thing fixed. Once it is fixed and you have driven the car thru a cycle of the self-check, then you can have the emission test done and pass it.
Checking at home
You can actually use an OBD2 scanner on your car and check everything the test people will check to make sure that you will pass before going.
This is good because it can give you peace of mind and help you not be nervous about the test.
On older cars, though that doesn’t have the port, you have a better chance of it passing. They check different things.
With an older car, you might be able to have the check engine light turn off on your own and get passed the test. Also, in different states they will still test older cars with the light on since like it has been mentioned they have different standards.
So, will you pass an emission test with the check engine light on? The answer is no you will not pass if the car is newer than 1996, but you might pass if it is older.
Also, on a newer car don’t try to be sneaky and turn it off on your own because they will know. You will be able to get them to do the test this way, but it will not pass and be a waste of your time.
If the light is on, then something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Once you fix it, you will have to drive the vehicle enough for it to do the self-check.
Before going to the emission test, you can use an OBD2 scanner and check everything that the testers will check. This way you can make sure your car’s computer has done the self-scan and will make sure your car will pass. Now you know the basics of why your car won’t pass an emission test with the check engine light on.