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Old 08-02-2017, 08:51 PM
 
361 posts, read 618,825 times
Reputation: 496

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I have an older car with a check engine light that stays on. It is related to emissions. I had it serviced by a very reliable mechanic a couple months ago. He changed out a bunch of stuff and finally said the only thing left was the computer that controls the system. Meantime, he tested and found nothing wrong with the emissions system aside from the light staying on. He said it would be expensive to replace what is needed to "fix" it and didn't think it was advisable. My issue is that now inspection is due and I am worried that it will not pass. I don't know what to do. Do I have any options other than whatever is needed to get the light to stay out? Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 08-03-2017, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
13,026 posts, read 19,850,532 times
Reputation: 7641
It will not pass. The options are to spend the money and fix it or trade it in for something else. There's one other option. Get a second opinion from another mechanic if you're in doubt about this one.
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:01 AM
 
4,229 posts, read 2,114,857 times
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Emissions inspections are done by computer analysis of the exhaust coming out of your tailpipe. The check-engine light is no part of that system. Exemptions are also available for vehicles on which costs of repair would be excessive. Taking your current paperwork to your next emissions inspection might be a good idea.
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Vienna, VA
281 posts, read 148,976 times
Reputation: 317
You have quite a few options to make it pass.

Assuming you still have your catalytic converter (CATs) in place and it's somewhat functioning. you can drive past one of the rapid pass locations. Since you just have a issue with your light, this should work fine for you. https://rapidpassvirginia.com/VaPublic/Locations


If you still are not passing even after driving through the rapidpass systems you can, try to use denatured alcohol or 90%+ isopyrl. Using alcohol will cause your engine to have lower nox, just be sure your tank is near empty when you add it in.

If your car has aftermarket support, you can get a tune to trick the ECU into thinking everything is fine and dandy which would remove the CEL.
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:43 AM
 
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Reminder: Trying to "beat the system" rarely works out well.
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Vienna, VA
281 posts, read 148,976 times
Reputation: 317
Standard VA emissions inspections don't measure the exhaust coming out of your tailpipe, they simply plug into your OBD. The check engine light is very important to passing, you will most likely fail if it's not cleared. Hence why a car with no cats will pass if it has a proper tune to clear codes.

Rapidpass is the only emissions inspection that measures the exhaust coming out of your tailpipe.
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:26 PM
 
4,229 posts, read 2,114,857 times
Reputation: 3801
Visible Smoke Failure
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Vienna, VA
281 posts, read 148,976 times
Reputation: 317
Catalytic converters don't have anything to do with smoke. You can run open headers, have every check engine light under the sun on and still not have any smoke.
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Old 08-03-2017, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
2,005 posts, read 3,526,835 times
Reputation: 1147
We had a car that had a check engine light and the only problem was that the gas gauge no longer worked. We had to spend a large sum to get the gas gauge working again in order to pass the safety inspection.
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:36 PM
 
361 posts, read 618,825 times
Reputation: 496
Default Thank you...

Thank you everyone for your suggestions.
I'd not heard of Rapid Pass and will try it.
Saved all the receipts and paperwork for the repairs that were done... will take them with me for the inspection. The mechanic did a lot of work trying to fix this!
In thinking about it, if all else fails i will simply have the work done.
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