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Car tips & advice | 14.03.2014 - 20:19

What to Do when your Car Can't Pass Safety and Emissions Testing

There are things you can try if your car can't pass local safety and emissions testing.

Your car must pass a yearly safety and emission test to legally drive it on the road in most counties. The standards vary state to state. While most cars can pass that test easily, what happens if your car is not able to pass inspection? Here are a few suggestions to help your car pass the test and get back on the road as soon as possible.


1) Try to Fix the Problem Yourself

The first thing that you can try to do is fix the issue yourself. In some cases, a check engine light may come on if the gas cap is loose or if there is an issue with the computer on board your vehicle. While your car cannot pass an inspection while the light is on, driving the car for several miles should get the light to turn itself off. If you know that you have bad brakes or bald tires, you may be able to take care of those issues on your own in an hour or two.


2) Get to a Mechanic

Some issues are not going to be resolved unless you take your vehicle to a mechanic. If your car cannot pass inspection because of bad tires or brakes, it may be easier to have a professional install new brakes. Taking the car to a local mechanic like Viking Auto Garage is also a good idea when you cannot figure it out on your own what is going on or you need someone to interpret the code that the car's computer is giving you.


3) Drive the Car Until the Current Year's Inspection Lapses

If you don't have the time or money to fix an issue when it is first brought to your attention, you do have the right to drive the car until your inspection lapses. However, once the inspection lapses, you may need to turn in your plates and cancel your insurance until your car does pass inspection. Some states will give you an extension or temporary registration to give you extra time to fix your car.


4) Buy or Lease a New Car

The final option is to trade or sell the car for whatever you can get to put toward the purchase of a new car. While not always the ideal situation, you may save money in the long run in maintenance and other costs.

It is never a good feeling to know that your car cannot pass an inspection. However, you can try as many times as you want until the car does pass. Fortunately, most cars that fail an inspection only need minor repairs done to get them to pass. If your car still doesn't pass after getting work done, you have the option to sell the car to someone in a rural county that doesn't require testing.

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