We do a pretty good job of emissions repair here at All Tune and Lube Total Car Care and have a good reputation with ADEQ, the state department that performs the tests. Customers are often very nervous about the cost to get their system up to snuff but, like most car repair, it’s not usually as bad as they fear. Also, there are a few common mistakes and misconceptions about what to do in order to get your car to pass.
First mistake: Taking your car in to emission inspection with the check engine light (CEL) on. If you have a car built from 1996 on it came equipped with an On Board Diagnostic II system, what is usually referred to as OBD II. If the CEL is on its’ saying that there is some sort of problem that effects the emissions your car produces. If that light is on, no matter what, your car will not pass inspection.
Second mistake: OK then, if the CEL is lit, just disconnect the battery for a second and it’ll turn it off. Then the car will pass, right? Wrong. When you do that all the monitored systems are re-set and will show a Not Ready status to the inspectors. In order to get all these systems to show Ready you’ll need to go through a number of Drive Cycles (More on Drive Cycles in another post) and in all probability the problem that caused the CEL to set will re-appear.
Third mistake: Having an auto parts store pull the offending codes for you, replacing a couple of parts and assume that’ll take care of the problem. OK, to be fair, this sometimes works. If your car has a code for a faulty gas cap and you replace it, you’ll probably be fine. But oxygen sensor fault codes, evaporative emissions fault codes and even catalyst efficiency codes can have multiple causes. Take your car to a reputable shop, hopefully All Tune and Lube Total Car Care, and have them pull the codes. There’s no charge for that and the technician can explain possible causes to you.
Forth mistake: Taking the car back to the emissions inspection station too soon after the repair. Even once the repair has been completed your car will need to perform the Drive Cycle appropriate for the system to check itself and show that it’s ready. Any shop worth a darn, like ours for instance, will have a scanner that can tell you if your OBD II system is in ready status.