Preserving the Environment: 3 Most Important Things to Understand About Emissions Testing

Emission is a release of gas or radiation and every car discharges it. However, your vehicle is only allowed to emit a certain amount because it has federal standards that it needs to meet before it is considered an environmental hazard. In most states it’s mandatory. Testing is imperative to guarantee that your vehicle isn’t giving off an abundance of pollution. This can occur for various reasons, including a failing exhaust system, issues with the components in your engine and much more. A tailpipe test is typically performed to determine the volume of particular gases vented in a vehicle’s exhaust. We all need emissions monitoring to help preserve our environment below are three important things we all need to understand about emissions testing.

  • How the test is done
  • Why the test is done
  • What happens if you fail your emissions test


The Second Generation On-Board Diagnostics (OBD II) Test is the newest and most common test technique and is utilized to test cars that were made in 1996 and up. Data is downloaded during the test that comes from the vehicle’s computer to check for any types of glitches in the emissions system.

The Inspection and Maintenance Test is used to test vehicles made in the year 1981 through 1995 and up. A dynamometer which is like a treadmill we use and an inspector drives the car on this device to capture the emissions to analyze it.

The Single Idle Speed Test normally tests vehicles made from 1976 to 1980. A metal probe is embedded into the vehicle’s tailpipe while the car idles so it can test the fumes. In the meantime, a sensor is put on the hood of the vehicle to gauge the motor speed. This sensor will test the emissions to determine everything is working as it should be.


Manufacturers are required to meet certain standards when it comes to pollution. Vehicles that are not kept up or have failing emission systems tend to surpass these standards. An emissions test is intended to pinpoint these vehicles so that they can be repaired and the emissions system works as it should causing less pollution.

The vehicle assessment and support program is an obligation per the 1990 government Clean Air Act Amendments.  This was put in action to correct the air quality by lowering nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons in certain counties. By performing an emission test, you’re helping to improve the air quality by guaranteeing that your emission controls are working correctly.


We need to have emissions testing to make sure that our vehicles aren’t generating additional pollution. There are many things that can add to the pollution, for instance, the exhaust system in our vehicles could be deteriorating or there could be problems with the engine. Should your car fail any part of testing, you’ll have to correct these things and get your vehicle retested. If you aren’t able to do this within a certain period of time, you may incur fees.

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