The State of Texas requires an emissions check every year on most gasoline-powered vehicles once a year. In fact, you won't be able to renew your vehicle's registration without a passing Vehicle Inspection Report.
Keep reading for some practical tips to help your vehicle pass inspection:
- Get regular tune-ups.
Simple regular maintenance to your vehicle including an oil change, air and fuel filter replacement and evaluation of the condition of spark plugs, gas caps, etc. is recommended for many reasons:
- your vehicle will run a lot smoother than before,
- you'll get more gas mileage (saving you money at the gas pump),
- you reduce the risk of future costly repairs, and
- your chances of passing the emissions test are increased!
- Confirm required emissions components.
The annual emissions inspection includes a visual inspection of the vehicle's emissions systems and components to ensure that important equipment like your catalytic converter will do its job to reduce tailpipe emissions. You may not think of the gas cap as a part of the emissions system, but a properly fitting cap prevents evaporative emissions and is also checked during the inspection. If there is excessive cracking or if the cap used isn't designed to work with your vehicle model, you'll want to replace the gasket or cap before your inspection.
- Make sure your check engine light works.
Most vehicles are equipped with a check engine light. If your vehicle comes equipped with a check engine light but it does not work, it could cause an immediate failure as the "MIL" or manufacturer indicator light is a necessary part of the On-Board Diagnostics system used to evaluate vehicle models 1996 and newer.
- Use fuel cleaners.
Using a fuel cleaner regularly will help remove gunk stuck to your engine’s valves and head to help it run more efficiently. Just don't put it in right before you take your car to get checked, as the fuel cleaner will need time to work all of the junk from your vehicle’s systems.
- Use all your senses.
Keeping your eyes, nose and ears open for potential problems can help you catch an issue before it turns into a emission test failure or costly repair.
- Pay attention to your “check engine” and other indicator lights to catch problems early on.
- Watch for fluid leaks where you park your car, as low fluid levels can affect the efficiency of your vehicle.
- Inspect your gas cap to avoid excess evaporative emissions from your tank.
- Jerking and jumping, sudden drop in fuel efficiency, difficulty in starting or staying running, or a foul smell can all be signs of a faulty catalytic converter (which is a very common cause for emisison test failure).
- If you need to replace a catalytic converter before its normal life, rather than replace it again, there may be a deeper underlying issue in the emissions control system that should be diagnosed by a certified repair facility.
Follow these key tips to improve your chances of passing your emissions inspection while you keep the air we breathe cleaner!
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