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What to Do if Your Car Fails an Emissions Test

By: StaffSeptember 2, 20211 min

In environmentally conscious and regulatory-heavy California, rigorous smog inspections are the norm for many counties, whereas, in Ohio, only a handful of its 88 counties require “E-checks.”

All counties have one thing in common: you can’t renew a vehicle’s registration without passing a test during test time (typically within 90 days prior to the renewal deadline). Of the places that require bi-annual emissions testing, most allow you second (and third) chances to pass the test if you make changes to your vehicle that would alter the levels of pollution output. So, what do you do if you fail an emissions test? Take it again! What’s the best way to do that? Learn why your vehicle failed, then follow the instructions to fix it. The finished inspections should provide you with: • A Vehicle Inspection Report, which tells you exactly what’s wrong • A repair data form, which outlines the required repairs for your retest • A list of places certified or otherwise qualified to perform repairs

In some areas, the test is free for the first several times for every requirement period (within a year). In those places, you only need to pay for subsequent exams taken after failing the first time. In other places, you must pay for the initial test; only the first retest is free. Check your state’s specific EPA regulations for auto emissions to find the requirements for your county.

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