Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia require emissions testing in at least one county. If you are from one of these areas, you have likely brought your car in for the test. However, if you are from a place where the test isn’t required, it may be completely unfamiliar. Furthermore, even if you have done an emissions test, you likely left your car at the facility. So, what is emissions testing?
As you likely already know, engines produce emissions. These are the exhaust gases and other fluids that come out of your tailpipe when driving. Modern cars are equipped with special exhaust components that convert most of the more harmful emissions into relatively inert gases.
However, cars are expected to follow emissions regulations. If you want to drive your vehicle on public roads in an area that requires testing, you need to prove that it continued to meet those regulations. Wear and tear, damage, and modifications may worsen your emissions. Therefore, this test is often required annually.
To test older cars, facilities would put the vehicle on a dynamometer, something like a treadmill for a car, and hook up testing equipment to the tailpipe. This would analyze the emissions coming out from the exhaust.
Modern cars have a far simpler solution. They have all their diagnostic sensors built-in. The emissions testing facility hooks up a tool to a special port in your vehicle. This part, called the OBD-II port, is required in all vehicles built since 1996. The tester will also do a visual inspection to check for any noticeable issues.
Your vehicle’s onboard sensors deliver diagnostic codes indicating any problems as well as emissions data. The same port can be used by mechanics to help troubleshoot various issues.
In a few areas, even more modern equipment is used. For example, in Virginia, you can pass the emissions test simply by driving by some special roadside equipment. This samples the air as you go by and lets you know if you passed.
If you need smog and emissions testing or other automotive servicing in Encinitas, California, come to Encinitas Foreign & Domestic Auto Repair. We offer friendly, thorough, and professional service on a wide variety of vehicles. Schedule your appointment today.