In many sections of the country, keeping a car street legal requires the passing of an emissions test. A failed emissions test will often lead to an overall inspection failure. In some states, this will prevent you from renewing your car’s registration. That’s a big stack of falling dominoes poised to take you off the road.
If your car has failed an emissions test, here are some tips to get you back on the road. If your car passed this time, read on to find out how you can make sure it does next time, too.
Getting Back After a Failure
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the simplest way to get your vehicle back on the road is to pay for the repairs it needs. The vehicle inspection facility can usually provide you with a complete assessment of what repairs will be required to pass. After inspection, you should be able to pay to have the issue resolved.
Some car owners keep a special credit card just for car-related expenses. This is a good approach to make sure you have money to pay for car issues when they arise. An even better strategy is to maintain an auto savings account to cover unexpected costs that are part and parcel with owning a car. If this sounds good in theory but doesn’t apply to you, you could always…
Apply for a Waiver
In some parts of the country, you can obtain a waiver to help you get your car registered despite having failed the emissions test. Waivers are granted if the car still fails after a certain level of repairs have been attempted. For example, in Illinois, a waiver can be granted if the owner shows proof of at least $450 in emissions repairs.
Keep Your Vehicle Maintained
Years ago, a certain manufacturer of auto air and oil filters had a famous advertising tagline of “You can pay me now or pay me later.” It’s true. The best way to avoid having to deal with emissions issues is to be proactive about vehicle maintenance. Have your car serviced regularly, change the oil and air filter often, and be sure to correct problems as soon as they become evident. If you take this approach to vehicle maintenance, your car will thank you now and at inspection time.
No matter which side of the CO2/greenhouse gas/global warming argument you fall, you have to admit, it’s always nicer to breathe air you can’t see. That’s why these emission efforts are so worthwhile, and why it’s important to keep your vehicle in good health. If everyone maintains their vehicles properly, the air will stay cleaner for everyone to breathe comfortably.
It takes a bit of effort and money to keep your vehicle running properly over time, especially as it ages, but the effort and money are both worth it. You’ll enjoy a better running vehicle, improved fuel efficiency and a lot less stress when it comes inspection time. Do yourself a favor and stay on top of that maintenance as much as you can. It’s not difficult to do, and it can save you now and save you later.