Vehicle emission testing is a regular part of any Georgia car owner’s year. Every year, we’re required to take our cars in and have them tested for emissions as part of our annual registration. But what are vehicle emissions and why are they important?
What are Vehicle Emissions and Why Are They Important?
Vehicle emissions refer to the colorless, odorless gases produced by your vehicle during normal operation. Emissions are the result of an incomplete combustion of gasoline or diesel and air. Emissions contribute to pollution and smog, which you can often see over the Atlanta skyline, especially during the summer.
Newer cars have on-board computers known as Emissions Control Systems, which are designed to optimize the air-gas consumption ratio. This feature not only improves fuel economy, it reduces the amount of emissions produced by the vehicle, which in turn means less exhaust and a cleaner environment.
The government has established air quality standards that all vehicles must meet. Cities and states have further varying requirements that are regularly checked by way of vehicle emissions inspections. Air pollution can be greatly decreased when all vehicles are operating within these standards.
Why do Cars Fail Emissions Tests?
Despite all the technology that goes into vehicles to keep them running as cleanly and efficiently as possible, cars sometimes fail emissions tests. There are many reasons that this can happen.
Common causes of emissions test failures include:
- Malfunctioning oxygen sensor
- Malfunctioning EGR valve
- Poorly-fitting or broken fuel cap
- Leaks in the vehicle’s vacuum system
- Misfiring spark plugs
- Dirty air filters
- An illuminated ‘Check Engine’ light
Emissions inspectors check for several different things during a vehicle emissions test. Generally, they will look at the gas cap, any dashboard warning lights, leaking fluids, and any smoke produced by the vehicle. In addition to these, they will test the engine itself to determine whether the vehicle is operating within regulated standards.
An emissions inspection usually takes less than half an hour. The exact process depends on the year of your car, and new technology is changing the way that testing is done every year.
Cars older than 1996 are lifted onto a specialized ramp to simulate normal driving while a sensor is inserted into the tailpipe. The engine is revved, and within a few minutes, the computer inside the center has enough information to determine whether the car passes or fails the test.
Cars newer than 1996 can often be plugged directly into a computer system, no lifting onto a ramp or engine revving required. The computer system is scanned to detect whether any of the control components within the vehicle are functioning incorrectly, and if these components lead to excessive emissions output. This process takes less than ten minutes.
Have Your Engine Checked at T3 Atlanta Before Your Emissions Test
If your car has recently failed a vehicle emissions test, or if your registration renewal is coming up and you want your car to pass with flying colors, make an appointment with T3 Atlanta. We are Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, and Infiniti specialists in Atlanta. We’ll inspect your vehicle and ensure that your engine is in top condition so your car will pass emissions testing with ease.