What to Do if Your Car Fails an Emissions Test

By: Nadia Ibanez June 23, 2012
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Depending where you call home, you may be required to take your vehicle in for a smog check. Pass and you'll be given a certificate, allowing you to register the vehicle. Fail and you'll need to make the necessary repairs (out of your pocket) in order to make your vehicle smog-compliant.


Failing the Emissions Test

Without a passing grade, you cannot register the vehicle. This means no license plates, which means no driving. So in order to obtain a smog test certificate, you must get the vehicle repaired.

After failing, you'll receive a report from the inspection station attendant detailing needed repairs. File this in a safe place. You'll want to present it to the car repair shop, so as to eliminate any confusion on what needs to be fixed.

Once the vehicle is repaired, take it back to the inspection station for a re-test. Don't procrastinate if your registration renewal date is approaching. Otherwise, you'll risk having the license plates expire while tending to repairs.

Smog Test Waivers and Financial Assistance

If your vehicle fails again, you may be eligible for a waiver. This, of course, will depend on the rules of your state. In Illinois, for example, you'll receive a waiver after failing a second test and providing proof of spending at least $450 on emissions-related repairs.

Keeping Your Vehicle - and the Air - Healthy

Once you get your car's smog issues under control, make sure to maintain your vehicle’s health with regular upkeep and environmentally-smart driving. A clean-driving car is a healthy car, helping you reduce your carbon footprint and saving you on repair costs.

What are you doing to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape? Share your knowledge with our online community by leaving a comment below.

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