Preparation is key to ensuring you pass your annual emissions test. An emissions inspection is valid for 12 months or one registration renewal, by the same owner. Georgia’s Clean Air Force (GCAF) recommends that motorists test their vehicle four to six weeks prior to the registration renewal date (the vehicle owner’s birthday) to allow for any needed repairs. Vehicles can be tested well in advance if the owner will be out of the area at the time of registration.
GCAF recommends the following to prepare for your test:
- The most common reasons for emissions test failures include: a malfunction in the components of the vehicle that regulate the fuel/air ratio such as the oxygen sensor and the EGR valve; a dirty air filter; misfiring spark plugs; leaks in the vacuum system; or a poor-fitting fuel cap. Many of these components can be checked and repaired during routine tune-ups. Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.
- Have your oil changed regularly.
- Replace your fuel cap securely after filling up. On 1996 and newer model year vehicles, the “Check Engine” light may illuminate as a result of a loose fuel cap. If the “Check Engine” light is illuminated, try tightening the fuel cap until it clicks, then drive the vehicle until the light turns itself off. If it does not turn off, take your vehicle to a qualified repair technician.
- Keep the sealing surfaces of your fuel cap clean and in good condition.
- Keep your tires properly inflated.
- Check belts and hoses for wear.
- A transmission problem is directly related to the emissions control system and can trigger the “Check Engine” light to illuminate. A diagnostic analysis will yield a transmission code that will help identify the transmission component(s) needing repair. Transmission malfunctions can prevent a vehicle from running efficiently, increasing emissions above federal certification limits.
- Before seeking repairs, research any recalls, technical service bulletins (TSBs), and manufacturer warranties regarding your emissions control system.
Note: Federal law requires emissions control systems on 1995 and newer model year vehicles to be warranted by the manufacturer for two years or 24,000 miles. Federal law also requires the OBD computer and catalytic converter on 1995 and newer vehicles to be warranted by the manufacturer for eight years or 80,000 miles. Many vehicle manufacturers provide extended warranty coverage beyond what is required by federal law. Consult your vehicle owner’s warranty manual for coverage information.